The panhandler is stylin’. Call your mother.
I got to get out of this town.
Man I got to get out of this pain.
Man I got to get out of this town,
out of this town, and out of LA…
— From Beth Hart and Man I Gotta Get Out Of This Town
Meet the new homeless. A new generation of America’s jobless vagabonds: Generation Y. They’re unemployed, traveling and broke. Smiling sometimes, too.
I remember when the only panhandlers you saw in Oklahoma City were war veterans. These days they’re mostly 20-somethings donning guitars and cardboard signs. They drift along with dogs. I see them on a regular basis at the corner of Classen Boulevard at Northwest Expressway or NW 23rd Street. Most of them seem more closely associated with the backpack-across-Europe variety of wayfarer, but some of them are clearly strung out. Not good.
I thought these five made for a great picture with the fall colors and Oklahoma State Capitol in the background. The guy in the plaid was playing the violin. They should just walk on down to The Blue Door.
That’s a mighty fine dog you have there, sir. And, that bandana, so stylish.
Buddy, until you’ve survived an ice-pocalypse, hail-pocalypse, snow-pocalypse, drought-pocalypse and three earthquakes in two days, you have not earned the right to hold that sign.
Until today, it never occurred to me that the only panhandler I can ever remember seeing in Oklahoma City who looked like he might be a Gen Xer was a guy I saw two Christmases ago. He was wearing a Jiffy Lube uniform and standing outside the Belle Isle Wal-Mart with a sign that said, “I have no money to buy my daughter a Christmas present.”