Dear Mr. Street Bum

Posted on Posted in CC's Stuff

As my CraigsList marketing scheme to get my writing in circulation continues, so does the entertaining feedback.  While 90% of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive and successful in garnering constructive attention to my work, the other 10% is equally divided between strangers sending me lewd images and self-righteous individuals who know everything there is to know about everything in everyone else’s life except how to decipher sarcasm.  After reading through some of these ordained, pompous lectures, I’d almost prefer an eye-full of BBC and disproportionately large areolaes.


My dear Chandra,

Who do you imagine is going to read that longwinded grandiloquent self-pitying narrative? What do you expect to achieve by posting it? Newsflash: Over the decades plenty of us college grads have worked at “menial” jobs not related to our field of study. Why do think a college degree automatically guarantees you employment in your chosen field at a great salary? I swear, young people today are so clueless about the real world. Worse, you and your contemporaries exude such an obnoxious air of self-absorption and self-entitlement. There are plenty of people struggling mightily in this f*ked up economy. Many are old. Many have lost everything. Many die on the streets, and no one seems to care or even notice. 

My advice? Check yourself. Adjust your plans and expectations according to changing circumstances, think outside the box, take responsibility for yourself, and plow ahead. Oh, and count your blessings. You’re young, healthy, not unintelligent, and you have plenty of options.  There are a hell of a lot of people in much worst circumstances than what you’re experiencing, and through no fault of their own, sweetie. They’re in a day-to-day all consuming struggle for simple survival. They will never taste caviar at all, witness fireworks exploding over an Alaskan landscape or even have the chance to travel out-of-state, much less witness a ‘Maui sunrise’. Geez!

P.S.  “Street bums”? Seriously?? You’re every bit as condescending as the plutocrats you so resent. There but for the grace of god……


A Street Bum


My dear Street Bum,

I hope you don’t mind that I call you Street Bum, sir.  I think your real name is Harlan, but I’m going by your own email insignia.  I gotta admit Mr. Street Bum that I find it rather odd that you have both a computer to write emails and the internet to send them.  You must be like this other street beggar we have here in Philadelphia who lures compassionate people in with his sweater-clad cat companion, but whom really has the latest iPhone (I don’t), a car (again, I don’t) and more disposable income than the people he manipulates.

What exactly are you, Mr. Good Samaritan, doing for all your street bum friends of the world?  Are you charitable?  I try to be.  One of the things that bothers me most about my current predicament is that I’m not in the position to help others.  Also, Mr. Bum, why don’t you share the same disdain towards them as you do me?  You don’t see the absolute hypocrisy in your resentment of a struggling human being who is actively working to earn her own nickels and dimes by day and creatively moonlighting by night verses your empathy for those who sit their rumps on a sidewalk, asking for handouts, not in any capacity making an attempt to improve their situation?

Who do I imagine will read it?  Well, there is you, because you did, ya silly bum!  And my imagination is boundless; I’m a storyteller.  I could list a few notable persons who I’d hoped would read this, but so far am pretty pleased with the encouragement and kindness of lovely strangers I’ve encountered with this prank, excluding you, that is.  What do I expect to achieve?  International literary achievement would be ideal.  However until then, the goal was to drive traffic to my site, gain an audience with zero cost to myself and have people reading and engaging with my work.  And would ya look at that?  I wasn’t disappointed, because here you are.

MY longwinded grandiloquent self-pitying narrative?  Pot/kettle comes to mind.   I do love this word, grandiloquent, though.  I’m a little annoyed that you said that, because I had recently written a piece I haven’t yet published where I referred to my own work in the same manner.  It read, If I compiled all the pieces of my blog into a book, it could easily compete with the formidable Moby-Dick in terms of sheer length and its predisposition to use long-winded grandiloquence when composing a single sentence.  You see, it’s self-deprecation, not self-pitying.  I freely identify my faults, so I’m way ahead of you Mr. Bum, but I don’t think you’re aware of your own.

Thank you SO much for that “newsflash,” btw!  I’d bet my life savings that your news source stems from Fox, so you owe me $40. Why did I think a college degree automatically guaranteed me employment in my chosen field at a great salary, you ask?  Because that is quite literally the entire point of post-secondary education.  Contrary to your assumption though, I didn’t actually think I’d get a great salary as an entry-level employee at my first corporate job.  After all, I’m not a Baby Boomer.

For those that have seen their shiny toys taken away, that is certainly not as a result of college students or struggling service-workers, but the plutocrats you referenced. We’re essentially all fighting the same battle, but you’re too stubborn to recognize it.  You’re falling victim to the web of lies spun by rich politicians who have you under the impression that other poor people are responsible for the shitstorm that has become our economy, as they sit around clinking glasses to our collective stupidity in bickering with each other as they continually get away with corporate crimes.  But I have suspicions that you’re a plutocrat yourself and want those who aren’t to pipe down to prevent “newsflashes” counterintuitive to yours.

I don’t recall asking advice from a total stranger who judges someone’s entire being on a 900-word parodic essay, but thank you for ass backwardly admitting that I am intelligent, finally something we can both agree on!  I see you’re attacking my age as means to discredit my inquiries.  Is there a certain number of rotations around the sun that I must reach for my concerns to be addressed and experiences validated?  Just let me know how old I need to be to have legitimate thoughts.  I’ll be playing in the sandbox in the meantime, constructing castles, hopefully big enough for me to live in since most people my age can barely afford to rent let alone buy a home.

While I may appear outwardly healthy, I wouldn’t actually know if cancer was eating away at my ovaries because this isn’t Canada.  Only the privileged are allotted preventative healthcare in this fine country.  But I suppose you’re correct that I’m quite lucky that I’ve not yet been struck by a car while riding my beater of a bicycle through the city.  Because if I did incur a broken limb I’d have no choice but to patch that up with a firm stick and lots of duct tape.  You must mean what brand of over-the-counter adhesive I’d select for my makeshift cast in all these “options” you referenced.

I’m not really a huge fan of this whole “could be worse” sentiment.  I find it to be an extremely lazy attitude.  It’s like, well yeah some things in our society may be sucky, but they could suck so much worse.  Therefore accept the suckiness and don’t challenge the puppet masters propagating the suckfest by acknowledging that such suck exists.  Whatever you do, don’t brainstorm solutions for life to suck less or try to fix said suckery and instead just sit around sucking for the rest of your suck-filled life.  What the hell kind of complacent Winnie-the-Pooh wisdom is that?  Oh bother, sad face.

OF COURSE a person could be worse off, they could be allergic to cats!  Okay but seriously – in addition to being allergic to cute animals, you could actually have some flesh-eating disease or be born a female in a country that allows child brides.  So?  You know what else you could freaking be?  BETTER!  We’re not comparing my story to extreme examples of human suffering in underdeveloped Burundi.  That is beyond ridiculous and you’re intentionally being irrational.

Let’s discuss relevant issues well-within our reach that should not even be problematic in modern America.  The U.S. alleges to be one of the wealthiest, most progressive countries in the world and yet 45-million honest, educated and hard-working people are in debt and clawing for scraps through no fault of their own, either.  We’re all just expected to “count our blessings”, while the 1% are counting their investments, money stacks and mansions?  Also, you’re not allowed to call me sweetie.  You are not my grandparent or partner.  It’s sexist and patronizing, asshole.  You’re every bit as condescending as those contemporaries you so resent.  Geez!

You say I should think outside of the box, but what you really mean is that I should go sit in one, the kind with a glass ceiling.  You want me answering phones and ordering lunches for inefficient male CEOs while I toil away twenty-years of my “young” life helping Wall Street types lie, cheat and steal their way into early retirement and hefty pensions that compliment their hefty paychecks and heftier waistlines.  All so that someday I can get promoted from Assistant Phone Answerer to Senior Desk Squatter.  No.  I think emphatically not.

You do realize that you and everyone else above the age of 18 who can pass a drug screening and doesn’t have a felony can witness a “Maui sunrise” or “fireworks exploding over an Alaskan landscape,” right?  All you’d have to do is work 12-hours every single day for 5-6 months, give up modern comforts and mainland freedoms and sleep like cattle stuffed inside a metal hull, for minimum wage.  I’ll send you a link to the application.  Feel free to use my name as a reference.  And I’ve never actually eaten caviar.  It was a nod to the movie Titanic, but clearly you take everything painfully literal and have no awareness of iconic entertainment of the 21st century, probably because it’s fun and you loathe laughter.

P.S.  The grace of God?  You’re alluding to mythology from a book written by an audacious storyteller who was just like me, except a man.  If J.K. Rowling were alive in 500 B.C. then we’d all be praying to a gay wizard and saying Merry Pottermas in July while singing bewitching songs and dancing around a cauldron.  And the planet would probably be a little bit better because of it.


An obnoxious, self-absorbed, self-entitled, self-pitying, young, healthy, not unintelligent contemporary

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