Panhandling or Where Were You When Reagan Got Shot?

Tonight, as Ian and I ate dinner at a local pizza place, we moved to pay for our meal. I was holding my husband’s fresh pizza to take home when we were approached by a man with a damaged hand – strangely covered up and a long tirade about needing food.

“It’s fine, sir,” I responded,”I will be happy to buy you a pizza or whatever you need.”

That meant that I would make the purchase.

“Oh, no…No….Five dollars would tide me over.”

“Sir, again, I’m happy to buy your whatever food you deem needed…. or, take this – it’s hot and has lots of meat,” I opened the box.

He shook his head.

“I have the mind of a nine year old…” He rambled, “And pizza upsets my stomach.”

And he’s standing in Griffin’s busiest pizza place on a Friday night?! RIGHT!

I wasn’t sold. You see, I have become the Queen of Jaded Hearts. I don’t do charity unless I know charity is needed – and I smelled a rat.

“Where were you when Reagan got shot?” I asked the man – who was older than I by a few years.

“School – that son of a bitch that shot our president…”

“Gotcha!” I grinned.


And he exited the pizzeria and returned to the liquor store nearby to hang out.

“How did you know how to…” the waitress taking my payment asked, “I mean REALLY….HOW DID YOU KNOW?”

“Many years, much bullshit, and a Republican eye,” I commented – although I am a Libertarian now.

She cackled.

Ian just stood there, dumbstruck.

I think I sometimes shock my son.

Here’s the catch: I will do anything to help someone if they need help – if they ask or not. You can ask my dear friend in the ministry, Faye Harmon. But when it comes to someone panhandling to pay for smokes, booze, and drugs, that doesn’t fly with Anne Hendricks.

So, when you are suspicious someone is playing you, ask them where there were when Lennon or Kennedy (if they are that old) or Reagan got shot.

Makes a good evaluation on mental health and panhandling on the spot….

(I was in the third grade when the Great Communicator took a bullet for his country).


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