2011 – Maturity, Humor, Hulk and HELP?

Three Quotes:

“Maturity is grace under pressure ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Life if viewed from a distance is comedy; if viewed up close a tragedy” ~ Charlie Chaplin


Our  first night here we  200 men were run like the bulls of Pamplona through the tall halls of the Eugene Mission. 200 men processed like cheese and I was curd 147.

They herd you into an Olde Tyme Gospel Hour sanctuary and (I am not making this up) put an old bad record of religious tunes on one of those single unit phonographs to warm you up. This is not one of the new cool units with bluetooth – this actually one that started seeing action in the 1960s (as did the record no doubt). I suddenly feel I am in a 1940s Steinbeck novel, or worse – suddenly living in Elmer Gantry and all is hopelessly lost.

But after you have been berated and send through the  Humilatior you are stripped naked upstairs and all your belongings go into a numbered bin (“You are 147”). If you are me, you look sidewise at this very moment (at the camera that is not there but should be catching all this nonsense) for a second, then slump your head and accept.

You have 3 minutes to shower and then towel off and look for pajama tops and bottoms alomg with about 47 other naked men off four steel slabbed tables.

Fun huh?

Okay…stop the music. I am 6’6” and 335 lbs at this time (much bigger boy then).

So after 30 minutes of searching diligently, I have something that will barely drape and pull possible up in various places around regions of my body.

I go to the mirror. The shirt is ripping in places and shredded in others. The pants come up to just over my knees.

I start laughing.

I look like The Incredible Hulk.

In all my raving thus far over these last few years, there has never been a place that was more de-humanizing. City Team in Oakland is a distant second – and Union Gospel Mission in Portland does not count in this category as they are simply a “work cult” treating their Homeless workers well enough to use them as labor and as a means of drawing large donations.


I was talking tonight with “Ronny” down at the river. Blue tarp, sleeping bag – who knows if they will let him camp. I brought him some pop-top soups and spoons and water, beers, fresh apples…hey…even hot popcorn! We talked a bit.

I can’t make it all better for him. But I can look him in the eye, brng some simple food and care.


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