Practical advantages of being a nice guy


(Originally posted 07/28/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

It’s been a long time since I last considered this; maybe because, for some months, there haven’t been that many jerks among us at the shelter. Whether the “spirit” I breathe out has anything to do with that, I don’t know.[1] But I was in the shower 07/01/12 and overheard that they’d run out of wash cloths, and that brought this to mind.

Just being a nice guy earns me concrete, practical rewards.

A number of mainstream people help me financially who definitely would not help a jerk.

If we’re in the smoke pit and I need to bum one, I’m far more likely to get one than would a jerk.

Last summer, there was a shortage of wash cloths, for reason that people were stealing them. At first, if you weren’t one of the first 40 to shower, you wouldn’t get one. Then it became 30. Then 20. Several guys, it turns out, actually donated wash cloths. I donated 15. They all disappeared.[2]

Some guys come to the clothes window and every day, it’s:

  • I need this, I need that.
  • I don’t like that one. (shirt or trousers)
  • This is too short.
  • Why you disrespecting me?
  • Get me a different one.
  • You act like you don’t want to work.
  • You can’t talk to me just any way.

Me, it’s real simple: Same thing every day. Towel, shower shoes (flip flops), wash cloth, “real socks.” (Not those hospital footies someone donated a ton of. I need ones that cover my ankles. God forbid Rachel should see my bare ankles.) No static.

Tom worked at the clothes window for about six months. In the midst of the wash cloth crisis, lo and behold: it didn’t matter what time I came to the window, not any more. Every day, he handed me a towel roll with flip flops, a wash cloth and “real socks” already in it. I’d never asked him; we’d never discussed it. This continued till the day he left.

He did it because of the way I am.

I’m no cynic, nor a sneak. I don’t scheme to find ways to “get over.” I don’t try to weasel “blessings” out of God, or other people, either. I just choose, and feel God calls me, to live a certain way.

If you want to be a hard guy, you can expect a hard life. It’s not necessity; it’s your choice; it’s your own creation.

You don’t have to be that way.


[1] If people don’t act like jerks, they’re not jerks.

[2] “Who are the homeless?” did not ask what portion of the homeless live squalid. I don’t have a good handle on that.

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