Monday, March 12, 2018
This addict — from the way he acts, and the way he is in conversation, you’d never suppose he has a problem — complained to me that we’ve had an unusual number of crazies at the shelter in recent days.
Related: Life in the looney bin
Someone’s taken to stealing caps.
You know, knit ski caps? Those things.
Someone’s stealing them.
Now, they PROVIDE those things, for the asking.
Someone’s stealing them
from other homeless men.
Now, in Lutheran theology,
we speak of “the Three Uses of the Law,” that is, God’s law, the Ten Commandments.
The “First Use” is to provide order in society.
I don’t think I need to elaborate.
One can want the best for another person, but
only that person can define what “the best” means.
On the walk from the shelter to church Wednesday morning, I was in great turmoil. I may or may not manage to recall all the questions now. Pastor is focused on the need to change systems (people’s circumstances) in order to alleviate poverty, and seems unwilling or unable to consider how people act; my orientation is the exact opposite, wanting people to change their ways in order to alleviate poverty. Pastor says he doesn’t like it when I talk about squalor; but doesn’t squalor need to be talked about, given that it’s why “haves” won’t invest where the “have-nots” live?
I am torn between the way I want to live, and the way I have to live in the situation I’m in.
(1) God always provides more than you need.
(2) Use well what you’ve got now; only then will you get more.
(3) What you abuse, you lose.
(4) Absent a disease process, chronic poverty is not a natural condition.
I write as a man with next to nothing, concerned principally for others who have next to nothing. God put me in this position for a reason.
I am strongly tempted to want to rename it “The Parable of the Bootstraps.”
Prosperity belongs not to the righteous, but the wise.
In the days immediately following the initial mistrial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter on charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray, Bounce TV broadcast Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing several times. I could not help seeing this as a commentary on the mistrial. Bounce had likewise shown the film several times in the days following the April 2015 riots.
The film focuses on events surrounding a pizzeria in a New York City ‘hood on the hottest day of the summer. Sal is the Italian-American owner of the pizza place; Mookie, played by Spike Lee, is a young African-American employee. At closing time, a group of people led by Radio Raheem enter the store to insist Sal take down his “Wall of Fame,” which displays portraits of Italian-American celebrities (only).
For a long time, I have balked at seeking transitional housing, mainly for two reasons: (1) There must be a thousand buildings in Baltimore City serving that function, each with its own application process, eligibility criteria and rules — not to mention desirability. There’s no way to find “the right place” without going to each one in person. (2) I have heard too many credible horror stories of negligent house managers and conflicts with residents who abuse substances, abuse the property, and abuse each other.
Fortunately, the case manager at the clinic appears to have equipped me with the very short list of highest-rated outfits.
Last week’s City Paper cover story sets forth a microcosm of what is, in fact, the big picture:
06/25/12 I had to buy another flash drive.
I was downloading the music for The William Tell Show. I backed up the .mp3 files by attaching them to e-mails to myself. Problem: some files, such as the first movement of Tchaikovski’s violin concerto, exceed 25 MB and can’t be attached to a Yahoo! e-mail. What to do? Get another flash drive, to back up just those files.
My current flash drive consisted of an aluminum sleeve wrapped around a flat plastic stick. The stick had the USB contacts at one end, and the other end was shaped into a hook. By moving the sleeve back and forth, you could either expose the USB contacts for use, or hide them and expose the hook, to clip the drive onto, say, a key ring for storage.
The clerk offered me a different kind, with no hook or loop or anything that would let me attach it to something for storage. I don’t want to carry the drive around loose in my pocket or bag. So I asked for another like the one I already have. She said people have had trouble with those because “they’re easily breakable.” She said the staff at the Public Computer Center had seen this so much that they asked for the new kind instead.
I smiled and said nothing.
The drives aren’t easily breakable. Rather, some people easily break them.