Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Full Up On Crazy

Not Everyone Overflows With The Milk Of Human Kindness

I'm a pretty tolerant guy most of the time. It takes quite a bit of persistent asshattery before I blow my stack. Out in public and at social events, I calmly put up with drunken sots and malcontents, whiners, bullshitters and outright fools.

Oh, don't be misled... underneath my calm exterior, from time to time I'm cheerfully envisioning the slow evisceration via forklift and garden rake of the dumbass that's harassing me. However, I've got an hardwired Propriety Gauge that's stuck somewhere between "Miss Manners" and "Emily Post" on the politeness scale. I'd sooner foul my britches before making a scene at another person's soiree.

That being said, I'm coming very close to my tolerance limit on the infestation of loose-screwed panhandlers, bums and crackheads that are scattered throughout the greater Houston area.

Case in point: I'm in Popeye's the other day, picking up some chicken and biscuits, when in walks Crackhead X. Crackhead, because he had the jerks, twitches and general short-circuited appearance of one who's blown too many brain cells, and X, because his entire nonstop monologue involved how Whitey was keeping the Black Man down.

Crackhead X pauses just long enough to order a chicken sandwich, finds out it costs $1.99 with no addict discount, and then decides to include the Mexicans and the Indo-Pakistanis in the list of Racial Oppressors. His rant begins to build in volume and invective, until finally the manager asks him to leave. At that point, Crackhead X appeals to a black man sitting at a table by the door to help resist the Racial Oppressors. I'd kept my mouth shut up to this point,but when he started calling the teenaged girl behind the register a "beaner c#nt", I was on my way out to the truck to get my D-Cell Maglite and flatten out this asshole's 'fro. You want oppression by The Man? I'm your huckleberry...

By the time I got to the door, the manager was already dialing 911, and Crackhead X had scuttled out the side door, and ducked behind the shop next door. The manager apologized to me and the other man, letting us know that Crackhead X had been coming in for 3-4 years, and most of the time he behaved in a similar fashion.

I asked why he let the junkie in the store, and the manager's reply was that he was afraid Crackhead X would wait until he was not around, and then assault his mostly female staff. I thought about recommending a shotgun behind the counter, then remembered this was a chain restaurant, where corporate management would generally prefer the entire staff to be raped and murdered as opposed to allowing a gun in the store for protection.

On the way home, I pondered my willingness to dent the man's cranium. I'd like to think it wasn't racial, though I did note that someone who destroys their life with drugs and then blames it on "Whitey" probably needs a wake-up slap. Still, my lack of compassion nagged at me a bit. See, I don't worry about what terrible circumstances forced Crackhead X into that lifestyle, or that the mean ol' Republicans have cut mental health care spending, or that Texas provides little or no rehabilitation services for indigent addicts. All that concerned me was that this asshole had crossed the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and I wasn't willing to wait for the cops to provide sufficient Tasering in order to correct his manners.

Crackhead X isn't the only example. Most convenience stores and gas stations have a resident panhandler asking for spare change. I've started to see this at grocery stores, too, though the stores are better at calling the cops and evicting them. Downtown parks are almost unusable due to overwhelming bum populations, and I can't count the times I got hit up for money at a METRO bus stop. Try riding the Tranquility Park elevator down to the parking garage sometime. If you're not treading in BumPoo, you're inhaling BumPee fumes or having one blow BumBreath on you as you exit.

I dunno, maybe I *am* an asshole for getting annoyed with the constant begging. I've no doubt that there's unfortunate people with real issues that don't have a way out. OTOH, I've known enough tweakers, potheads and juicers to recognize an addict when I see one, and I'll be got-damned if my hard-earned money is gonna pay for their next fix. It annoys me to the point where I catch myself surfing the 'net looking for those pepper-spray foggers that park rangers use on grizzly bears. Haven't bought one yet, but one of these days...

So, what's the deal? Am I just a hard-hearted A-hole, or is the panhandler behavior getting more out of control?

Your thoughts are welcome...