The Work of the Marginalized…


…is often to steal. Which really pisses me off. Not when it happens to me (I don’t care that much (so far I have lost four brand new pair of chones and my big red bag on rollers yesterday that I was bringing to GET CLOTHES TO GIVE AWAY – hahaha).

To hear the Republicans talk or the Fox News folks (and I’m not political I am just naming names) the poor and marginalized sit around eating bon-bons and wait for their “entitlements (look at THAT word).

Well I will report to you that being homeless takes twice as much physical effort and metal alertness than any job I have ever done. I start at 4 a.m. and go until 10 p.m. I have to watch my stuff like a hawk or it walk within 8-10 minutes to “serve” elsewhere (like my new underwear – some boney-assed kid is walking around wearing 2XL boxer briefs that I paid $20 for). Brand new..left them under my chair while I worked…lost attention for ten minutes.

That is all it takes over a 18 hour day…just a ten minute lapse. Gone.

I keep my most valuable stuff in my backpack with me at all time…I don’t even go to the bathroom without it.

The other day a preacher came out and back his car up to where The Great Reynaldo was sitting. His bumper sticker said “NO MO O!” simply signifying that he, like so many , has attached Gospel to American politics.

After The Great One had verbally dismantled and dispatched him (there were smoldering tennis shoes where the preacher had been and the Bible he wanted to give away laying there), The Great Reynaldo told me the story and we laughed. But as we did, someone came by and swiped the Bible…and we laughed even harder at that.

There is one guy here who can swipe your stuff from within a pile, or under a pile, leaving it in tact…right next to you while you talk!

Now that is funny (and if we ever catch him we want him on retainer for special missions of mercy) – but the other stuff is not at all. It is disheartening and kicks a man or women when they are already down and struggling. I liken it to throwing someone a heavy stone when they are up to their nostrils in the water. So it makes me angry and I announce this loudly when it happens to add some menace like (the sub-text being an animal “I will throttle you if I catch you in someone’s stuff.”)

Which, of course, I would never do…but this idea that snitching or that it is okay to steal is utter horseshit.

I am not an angry guy – never have been. When I do get angry, generally, I ask myself “where are you hurt?” because anger is a secondary emotion most of the time.  Where I am hurt here is that both the one stealing and the one being stolen from are really damaged in this process because they have no margin at all. I am empathetic – so it hurts to watch this crap.


Most of us are used to functioning somewhere in the middle of the piece of paper. Oh we complain that things are tough, but get pushed out into the margins (or place yourself there) where you can feel the edge of oblivion and dead space and even in that margin there are HOLES that you can fall through – feel THAT. It’s different I can assure you. And you better have faith and be ready to work hard because getting out of the margin will be no easy task.


I said it was harder work and it is. I have been a busy executive (, or editor of a newspaper) and I have been a creative content machine (, but I have never had to be so detail-oriented, so pre-planned and methodical as I have to be now. Every day is planned out and the sheer number of tasks is daunting. They cannot all be done. …hmnnn)

Medical updating; food stamp re-certification, getting the paperwork back up to their office,scheduling doctors appts with physician, retinal eye specialist, optomitrist, psychiatrist (must all be seen to get prescriptions renewed), public storage, meet with two different pastors – all of this while I can because next week is work push. And up until yesterday I had to lug all my stuff around with me or it would get stolen. Now it just might get stolen in the locked dorm because I don’t yet have enough locks (must go to dollar tree).

Yesterday I had the choice between hitting the health center (which my doctor called me and said was oddly located at my exact same address) for my high blood pressure medicine and to look at an infected right elbow…OR redeem my storage unit out near Soquel. No brainer. I’ll take my chances on not doing a Jackson Pollack on the wall for a few days and I went and process a mass quantity of stuff for Will the Supplier to sell of mine (to pay him back for paying my bill) and then I got my clothes, some clothes for others, but better backpack, my Indiana Jones bags…and a host of other great things (including a second pair of glasses.

But there is always a trade off. I missed two free meals. I stopped later to hit the nearby Chipotle…but the frugal in me drove me downtown to Trader Joe’s (on my bad left ankle) to buy supplies like oatmeal, dried berries and sea salt instead that will last much longer and many more meals.

My point is never “poor me.” I cannot allow that idea to invade my head space ever. It’s just that this is incredibly arduous work that has to be accepted and felt GOOD about.

You have to be smart and think ahead. Then you have to get about the REAL WORK of finding quick money from something like “workforce” where they pay you cash at the end of the day; then you look for the long-term job, or first job.

It’s not rocket science, but it takes planning and persistence and you talk it up with the few others who are doing the same (because they have all figured out the exact same thing).

The next time you hear anyone talk about someone sitting around on the Government “Teet” let me tell you…the few who do sit around don’t stay in the shelter long. They have to camp and live a very unsatisfying life. They have no tv’s and many are mentally ill or physically ill.

I’m not political anymore. I am not a Republican, Democrat or Independant. I really don’t care. I am a “Kingdom of God” kinda guy who thinks that the Sermon on the Mount is so vastly superior to any political statement ever made in America that I’ve just decided to go by that.

I like the politics of Jesus: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s; unto God, that which is God’s.” (Turn over the salad?)

It focuses my energy on real people not dead-end diatribes of anger that lead nowhere because everyone already has their mind made up. I mean if you want to believe that people who receive food stamps are the cause of the loss of your wealth you are free to drink the Koolaid. It’s not my business. But I call things as I see them…and you might admit, currently it is not exactly a “bird’s eye view” (grins).




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