To continue along the same theme as the last post, I like to give beer to homeless people. This has not always been a pleasurable pass time for me. During some of my younger days, I would walk past a homeless man with disdain in my eyes. "Get a job" was one of the more common thoughts that used to enter my mind. "Drunk" was another.
One day a number of years ago, I was walking into the grocery store, to only purchase alcohol, and bum asked me for money. I made some lame excuse, or pretended I didn't hear him, and I thought to myself "Man, this guy is only going to use that cash for booze." Then I realized I was only going to use my cash for booze. I laughed out loud while shopping in the grocery store at my hypocrisy. All of my condescending and negative thoughts seemed so pointless, ironic and hypocritical. My thinking instantly shifted, as if a veil had been lifted and I was able to laugh at my former thought process. As I walked out of the grocery store with my six pack, I broke one of the plastic rings holding my cold six beers together and gave the bum one. "Thanks a lot!" he enthusiastically told me as I walked to my car.
Since then, if I am only going to a store to buy alcohol, I always try and share some with a bum that asks me. Most often, this is done by giving him a beer or two out of the case. The plan doesn't work so well when I buy a bottle of vodka and ask him to tilt his head back while I carefully pour to avoid contaminating the bottle or drowning the recipient.
A few days ago I went to the Smith's grocery store on St. Michael's street here in Santa Fe. Despite purchasing no alcohol during my shopping trip, I saw a man begging and began to feel compassion. I walked over to him, and asked him if he liked beer.
"Yeah, I like a lot of the microbrews that the Second Street Brewery puts together. Especially their IPA." the bum replied. I started to get worried at this stage.
"Have you tried the Marble Red?" he asked me.
"Yeah, it's a bit hoppy for my taste. Marble tends to hop their beers a ton. I'm not much into hops." I replied. "Would you like a beer? I think I've got some Coors Light in the back of my car..."
"Ummm, I guess so..." he replied hesitantly.
I handed the bum a warm can of Coors Light and he didn't even thank me.
* All bums are over the age of 21 when participating in the Brian Free Beer Program.