Bah, Humbug … and Bother!
I’m not a fan of the Xmas season … and “season” it most certainly is, starting in October and finishing in January, when the last of the Xmas parties jingle to an unseemly end, and Roy Wood and Noddy Holder’s caterwaulings are finally laid to rest for another nine months or so.
Being neither Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Druid, I have no notion whatsoever to celebrate bizarre religious-based festivities, especially ones which have become the very epitome of the hypocrisy that exists in our world today.
I don’t call you a retarded, superstitious, brainwashed moron for celebrating this economic extravaganza, so please spare me your Scrooge-like comparisons in return.
Xmas ISN’T a time of peace and love, and doesn’t even make an attempt to be so. In the majority, it’s a time of greed and over-indulgence for those-who-have, and a time for worrying, for debt, and for disappointment, for those-who-haven’t.
Twenty percent of the UK population live below the poverty level, and at least the same percentage find it fukkin tough-going to merely survive economically, without this yearly, spending extravaganza that is socially-enforced through constant advertising and media drivel exhorting us to buy to show you care.
To be homeless, and separated from any family ties at this time of year is made doubly painful, as you stand in doorways begging for help and sustenance from busy shoppers who are spending a fortune on utter, self-indulgent, useless, disposable, over-priced crap … and that’s what makes me most sad, every year without fail.
So … I’ve established a wee tradition of gifting my excess coats and jackets for that year, the old CD players and Mp3 players, books, and whatever, into Xmas parcels that I give to Big Issue sellers
In addition, I take at least one of them to a café or restaurant for a wee Xmas meal …. Spend half-an-hour or so in their company, paying the bill. and leaving maybe £10-20 at the till for them, for when they finish their dinner. This ensures that they’ll definitely get some food, and don’t just spend the cash on dope or bevy … which I’d be tempted to do myself if I was in their situation, I can assure you!!
It’s not a lot to do, really … and I’m saying this in the hope that maybe others will do the same, whether or not you’re Christian, celebrating Xmas, or whatever
It’s the WORST time of the year for the homeless, and in these extremes of weather, it must be a nightmare, both physically and mentally.
Some years back, I expressed these feelings to a really “good” Christian friend of mine, in explanation for why I wouldn’t be exchanging Xmas prezzies with her and her man, but using the cash to feed some homeless dudes instead.
A half-hour later, I received an email, addressed to her man, but mistakenly sent to me as well.
In the message, she derided my bullshit, do-gooder attitude, and expressed the wish that one of my “pity-cases” would stay with me and Maggi at Xmas, and “rob-me-blind” in the process, to show me what these lazy ne’er-do-wells were really like.
I’d never for a second thought she harboured feelings like that, and was gutted.
Some time later, in the following year, after doing a corporate gig in Leeds, I was holding-court, telling jokes and talking shite, at the function’s bar with a group of very, well-to-do businessmen and civic dignitaries.
One guy, expensively dressed and groomed, was hovering at the edge of the group, and he eventually cornered me for a chat.
“Do you remember the filthy, ginger-haired, matted-bearded, foul-smelling jakey who used to beg on the forecourt of Glasgow’s central Station many years back” he enquired.
“I certainly do … in fact, I do a story about him in one of my stage-shows … he was legendary, and I used to see him regularly at the railway station when I was heading for trains, most weekends, to gig in London and the South … why do you ask?” I replied
“Do you remember taking him for his Xmas dinner into The Burger King in the station, and leaving money for him at the till?”
“Aye. How did you know about that?”
“That was me” he replied
He explained that his wife and two kids had been killed in a car-crash. His business had gone tits-up, he’d gone totally doo-lally, and eventually become homeless, filthy and incommunicative.
“You gave me money and food, but the important thing was that you talked to me, helped to stop me feeling invisible, and that no-one cared … the money you left got me cleaned up for the first in a long time, I went to my brother’s house for Xmas, after many years of being alone … and it was my brother, not you, that got me back on my feet again, but that meal, that money, and that wee chat, was what set me off again. Thanx.”
He was now running a very successful business and, coincidentally was a major contributor and organiser for a charity … for the homeless.
I’m telling this story, not looking for any credit … what I did was the least I could do.
I’m telling this story in the hope that it might just make some other people buy a homeless person their Xmas dinner, and spend 20 minutes in their company
You never know the outcome …. It might be more important than you could possibly realise