Archive for the 'choices' Category

The good judge

February 9, 2007

Please, judge, may I have some more?

TONY
“I never told you about Judge Chamberlain. She was the best judge I ever met.

“See, when I was 13, I got sent up to the boy’s training school for 6 months because of truancy and that sort of thing. It wasn’t too bad there; I learned some stuff, and at least I didn’t have to live at home. Home was a bad mess.

“So after my 6 months was up, I got out and went before this judge, Judge Chamberlain. I asked if she could just send me back to training school since I sure didn’t want to go back home. So she sent me back to training school for 9 more months, and I got my chef’s certificate so I could cook in restaurants and cafeterias. So when I got out, I went back to her courtroom and I thanked her, right there in the courtroom. She even came down from the bench and gave me a really big hug.

“You know, there’s some pretty good judges out there.”

———
Update on Tony: He’s in the Don Jail for another 5 days, at least. His health is better (and he’s warm and fed), but he did seem pale and a bit low key when I visited him yesterday. There are further court dates coming up. Alice Barton, a lawyer with Derstine Penman, is helping Tony out. Tony wanted to pass along his thanks to everyone who’s expressed support.

Arts and crafts

January 18, 2007

KD

PHILIP
“What did you do last night?”

TONY
“I cooked up some Kraft Dinner. Four of ’em.”

PHILIP
“Exactly where did you do that?”

TONY
“I went over to my Dave’s, my friend Dave’s.”

“Anyway, my recipe for Kraft Dinner is you start by chopping up a fresh onion. You boil the noodles the same as always, drain it out, and put in the onion and cook it ’til the onion gets clear. Then you put in the cheese. I like extra cheese so later you grate in some mozzarella, about a quarter of a brick. Then you put in the margarine and cook it up a bit more. Then you put in cream to get it to the right thickness. Most people use milk but cream’s the one to use. Then you put in the mozzarella and stir it up.”

PHILIP
“You ate your way through four boxes of Kraft Dinner last night?”

TONY
“Yup. You think four’s a lot? I should tell you about going to the buffet once when I was working for George Segal. You’d like that one.”

A night for six packs

January 15, 2007

jan-15-2007-ps-023.jpg

TONY
“Did I tell you about my other trick for staying warm when it’s really cold? I found it out by accident; I can’t even remember who told me. It’s going down to -12 C tonight so I’ll try to do this one later if I can’t get a room.

“You know those plastic packs for warming your hands and your feet, you can get them at the hardware store and other places. You just squeeze them to get them started. When it’s real cold, I try to buy six of them before I get into the sack: 2 for my front pockets of my pants, 2 for the shoulders up in front here, and 2 in your socks for your feet. They go for a pretty reasonable time so it works pretty well.”

Job troubles, bone troubles and crack troubles

December 29, 2006

PHILIP
“Tony, why don’t you look for a job? One guy even put a question on the blog asking why you don’t look for a job every day. Lots of people genuinely don’t understand why you don’t. I even bet quite a few people who are sympathetic to the homeless issue have problems with the job thing.”

TONY
“OK, well, first of all, you don’t get paid for looking for a job because you’re not at your panhandling station. So how am I supposed to get food when I’m looking for a job?

“And how are folks supposed to call me when I don’t even have a phone? Well, if anyone ever finds out that I went and got a cell phone, I bet most of ’em wouldn’t give me money again. A homeless guy with his own cell phone?! You got to be kidding me. Even if someone gave it to me I’m dead in the water.

“Then there’s that I don’t even have an address. You can’t even a shower except in a shelter or sometimes when you rent a room.

“Look at the bags under my eyes. How’s someone going to hire you if you got bags under your eyes since you don’t get enough sleep?

“I’ve got a bad back, my knees are killing me and there’s my collar bone. So I can’t do stuff with lots of walking or lifting things like I used to. I used to deliver those big phone books. You should try carrying eight phone books on your shoulder going straight uphill.

“Plus my feet are real bad. I’ve got a [deep skin] crack in both of ’em now.

“Anyway, just have those folks walk in my shoes for one day. Then you’ll understand what it’s all about.”

From Tony’s cold case files

December 24, 2006

Tony describes a case

TONY
“I’ve got this regular, she comes by most days. Now this one’s a real case. It’s always the same thing. Maybe she’s got a thing for me. Anyway, she’s goes on about how I should take better care of myself like I should go to the shelters, I should get the free meals at places they have for homeless folks — she doesn’t stop. Then she tells me that there’s a nice soup kitchen up at Eglinton [approx. 5 miles away]. Of course, for her it’s not too far but I’ve only got my bike. Anyway, I’ve told her a hundred times that they won’t feed me there anyway since I’m not from the area. So then she starts going on about how I’ve got stuff to be thankful for anyway, since I’ve got my health and that kind of stuff. Anyway she goes on like that for an hour and then she goes up the street and she hardly ever leaves me anything. She’s pretty unbelievable.”

________
PS: Per our posting on Dec. 20th for those wishing to give money to Tony, bank accounts have now been opened at Scotiabank. Particulars will be available here next week, once the branches have been notified, etc. The intent is to enable anyone in Canada to securely and transparently give money to Tony and/or to registered charities that are focussed on homelessness. Given the season, all of this is taking a bit longer than normal. Thanks for your interest and support.

The benefit of vice

December 6, 2006

TONY
“There’s this guy who comes by at night sometimes. Sometimes he hands me a pack of smokes, they’re Matinees. Turns out he isn’t allowed to smoke at home, so the woman who lives upstairs goes and follows him whenever he gets caught. Then the guy pretends he’s just bringing me a pack, so there won’t be any trouble.”

Breakfast vs. a bed for the night

November 20, 2006

TONY — 6pm/-1 C
“If I knew how cold it was going to be, I wouldn’t have had breakfast.”

Letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail

November 3, 2006

PHILIP
My letter to the editor published today in the Globe and Mail was triggered by the eye-popping irrationality of yesterday’s Facts & Arguments essay. In summary, the offending essay observes that homeless people are the unhappy product of their own “choices”, and that a proportion of homeless people sometimes spend their hard-begged money to buy themselves fancy lattes. The author declares: “Whether right or wrong, misinformed or wishful, this is the inescapable conclusion that keeps me, and many others as well, walking right past those cardboard “Spare Change? Need Food” signs without a second thought.”

Is moral blindness a choice?

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