So, yes it is true and the case that guilt and, alas, shame pay me their customary nuisance visits when someone accosts me on the train or on the street and, in a quavering voice, maunders on about how he needs (for he is usually male) a little spare change “just 50p” so he can make it into a hostel “tonight” (it’s always for just tonight) and get a shower and a bed because ‘”it’s cold sleeping out on the street” in London. I can just about hold my breath for it, very quickly, becomes beyond doubt that he does need the refreshing graces of a shower. What kind of society or god (Fortuna? Where the hell is she nowadays?) rewards some people with flash Ferraris and others with nights on cement underneath bleak wintry stars.
Then I start to think: wait a minute, isn’t this guy white? Isn’t he English? Wasn’t he born and raised in one of the most affluent places in the world? Hell even, he’s no older than forty at a stretch and sometimes definitely in his early twenties. Why is he out for alms in one of the richest cities in the world in his own country; a place where hundreds of thousands of foreigners (Aussies, South Americans, Africans, Polish, French, you name it they have come to seek the golden fleece) and perhaps millions have succeeded in building a working life having, in many cases, been born with a rustier spoon in the mouth? The real question is: what sort of person would rather get a dog than a job and does he deserve sympathy and my money? I sound cold and heartless, traits less becoming of a humane being, but I have come to the realisation that some people simply need to make an effort and get a job. For yelping out loud, this is not Spain (unemployment 27%). Makes me wanna bark: “If you need money, get a job! If you need company, get a girlfriend!”. Then get a dog.