Friday, April 28, 2006


A few weeks ago, I made a flippant remark to an old political mate, seeking his advice on my suitability for parliamentary representation. His initial response was diplomatic: “Don’t think it would be right for you,” he says.

“Why not?”

“Because you lack tact, sensitivity, modesty and discretion.”

“They’re completely overrated,” I counter. I then come up with a brilliant argument, if I may say so myself, giving lucid examples of successful MPs in the current House, who either lack tact, sensitivity, modesty or discretion.

He says: “Yes, but they’ve each got one of those qualities.” He then comes up with a vague theory about how successful elected officials are polite to prospective voters, whereas my behaviour is often considered rude.

“Fuck ‘em,” I say. “I’m far more fucking polite to those people than they fucking deserve.”

My faults do not trouble me, since they are so few, and so minor (which makes it a pointless exercise, really, given that everybody I associate with agrees that I am the least fallible person they know, and humility does not come easily to me, but for the sake of this story I will continue in this vein).

But I suppose that it is also true that I am not well known for possessing an abundance of compassion. I don’t see this as a major fault, because I don’t think it’s important. Human history is not compassionate. God offers few favours. Nature doesn’t often just give people a break. For many people, reality sucks.

Reality sucks for them. Most people lead shitty lives. They have mediocre aspirations—if they have any at all. They have shitty jobs. Their spouses are fat and/or ugly, their jobs are meaningless, their children stuff their faces with lard in front of the playstation rather than becoming successful sports fanatics, and to top it off, they’re born stupid.

My life, by contrast, is excellent. I am currently engaged to three different, and very hot chicks. I will replace each of them before I have to front up the cost of engagement rings, let alone the wedding ceremonies. I am involved in productive and well-paid (albeit highly-taxed) employment. I don’t need to worry about where the party is happening on any given evening, because I know that where I go, the party comes with me. And to top it off, I was born with a brilliance of charm and intellect that, to be quite honest, nobody else I have ever met has been able to match.

So I figure, therefore, that if God wanted to add compassion to my many gifts, He would have done so. He chose not to. My lot is not to reason why. And to be brutally clear about this, I don’t think my life would be any more interesting if I was some limp-wristed pansy hand-wringing liberal who cared about stupid people who are too indolent to take responsibility for their own lives first. Rather, that degree of compassion would diminish my sense of being.

Not far from my office in Queen Street, I frequently witness those who have played the worst of what could have been a good hand in life. They sit idly on the pavement, often dozing, with a hat or cardboard box, and a sign, giving passers-by some clue as to the misery of their lives, with the expectation that a stranger will offer them compassion.

Fucking beggars, is what they are. There are perhaps a dozen of them in Auckland city. Most of them have been on the streets for a couple of years at least—which only proves that their lives are not so dire. But nobody does anything about them. At best a large proportion of the swarms of office-workers ignore them. Some of them clearly donate money to them.

Should I feel sad about their plight? Well, I don’t think so. Actually, they piss me off. They often piss me off to the extent that I have frequently stopped to harangue them for messing up the central city. Many of them know who I am by now—after repeated scowls at them for trying to make their shitty lives my problem—they’ve learned not to stop me for spare change.

A few months ago, I popped over to Domino’s Pizza to pick up a feed for my team. One of these bums was camped outside Domino’s Pizza. He was dozing in the sun. He had a sign informing all who bothered to read that he had no money, and needed money for food. I also observed that he was, from a purely medical perspective, chronically obese.

“Hey, buddy!” I say, very loudly, as close to his ear as I dare approach without infecting my nostrils with his stench. He stirs to a state of partial awareness. He takes a moment to adjust his glue/drug/booze-addled eyes, and looks up at me. But he doesn’t say anything. So I say:

“Did you write that sign yourself, did you?”

He nods.

I say: “That’s very good work. Really, it is. Presumably, if you can write, you can also read, right?”

He nods again.

“Stand up,” I say gently. “I’ll show you something that will really help you out. Don’t worry, I’m not walking you anywhere. Stand up.”

So he stands up. I point to a sign on the window behind him. Remember, this is a pizza store. For a guy who’s supposedly hungry, a pizza store is worth looking at. But the sign—no big words that are difficult for somebody smart enough to write his own sign—reads: “WORK AVAILABLE HERE: IMMEDIATE START.”

“There you go, buddy. You’re hungry? Work in a pizza store! You need money? Minimum wage, you get four hundred bucks a week, and people thinking you’re doing them a favour by making them pizzas! It’s a perfect opportunity! You’ll even be able to afford to take a shower once a week!”

Bum mumbles something vague and shuffles off. I go in and pick up my pizzas, relieved that there’s now no chance of me stumbling over him on the way out. The pizza guy looks grateful that I’ve moved him on.

About a month later, I saw another bum with a sign. This was an innovator, as far as bums go. His sign read: “Please give me money so I can buy food for me and my dog.” And to prove his point, he had a small mongrel on a rope. I don’t know what the protocols are in the bum industry—for all I know, there could be another bum who owns the dog and rents it out to other bums, so that they can get the benefit of not just bum-donors, but animal welfare types as well.

So I stop. I say to him: “Is that really your dog?”

He nods. Bums tend to nod. They don’t talk much, unless the words are random streams of semi-consciousness.

“Why did you get yourself a dog if you can’t afford to feed it?”

Bum shrugs.

I say: “You must be pretty hungry, right?”

Bum nods. I’m diplomatic at this point, even though he thinks that the fact that I’m talking to him indicates that I’m going to dip into my pocket and bathe him with coins.

But I don’t. I say: “Here’s an answer to both your problems. If you’re that fucking hungry, then eat your fucking dog!”

I don’t know if either of these guys learned anything from their discussions with me. I like to think that I was doing them a favour, by offering them an opportunity to solve their problems, as well as the potential added advantage that the Queen Street walkers would be saved the inconvenience of having to see these human eyesores. What they certainly do not learn from the bleeding hearts who toss them spare change is to take responsibility for themselves. I don’t know what kind of other state support they’re getting—frankly that’s not my problem. The Government confiscates massive amounts of my earnings already, purportedly to look after society’s least fortunate.

No fucking liberal socialist is going to succeed in making me feel guilty for their failure to encourage people to take responsibility for themselves.


Oswald Bastable said...

The only thing bums have ever learned, is that if you put your hand out- some dumbfuck will put money in it. Having learnt that, their learning is thus complete.

Pigeons can do that much.

You won't shame them into working, as I doubt you can shame someone with zero pride (a begger)

But what the hell- if they have no other use, they provide a target for venting one's spleen!

Anyway, like the bloody winged rats (pigeons), if people didn't feed the bastards, there wouldn't be so many of the filthy things around the central city!

Anonymous said...

i found them to be perfect vessels for my projectile vomit when I had imbibed too much.

When I win the mayorolty of the city. I will offer rates rebates for beggar's pelts

Anonymous said...

Prick - I'm amazed God has given you so many worthy attributes whilst not encumbering you with such piffling ones as compassion. Only one thing confuses me. All this time I have been thinking that you were God and now you talk of God in the second person giving me the idea that maybe you are not.
Please confirm or deny.

Insolent Prick said...

Anonymous, I can understand your amazement. With respect to your confusion, I can only say that yours is not to reason why.

sagenz said...

anon - perhaps he is the son of god returned.

IP - to answer your question from a bloggers perspective you would make an excellent MP. Just never let your two identities meet. The peasants would never be able to cope with the realisation that the son of god has returned and is working as a lawyer.