I was passing along on the exit ramp from I-270 onto the Broad street exit, and anyone that has driven that ramp knows a homeless individual, or perhaps two, will be picketing the corner for pocket change. Usually, I just roll my eyes to the back of my head, cursing them for not having a job, but today something altered my reaction. I watched this man’s eyes never once avert from the ground. He was covered in shame and held a sign that read “Homeless. Will work. Very hungry.” The mad rush of curses never came. I sat back and thought what would happen if this man walked into Wendy’s, looking as he did, and asked for a job. If he was fortunate to get past a short lined rejection, what would happen when he came to the blanks for address and phone number? He doesn’t stand a chance. I’m not making excuses for the millions of homeless wandering about our streets. There are frauds swimming all over this economy, picking up free coupons and filling their cups with laziness. However, I am saying that the simplified comment of “just get a job” might certify to be more complex than may appear to the thousands who roam High Street with over $200 of newly purchased goods riding their backs.The light then changed and I pulled past him. I kicked myself for having left a whole meal of leftovers sitting back on the table at Champs. I then crossed over a bridge and into the luxurious greenery of Bexley, the lawns sugar-coated in Chemlawn grew and houses swelled, while family size shrunk. To the right stood a stone carved, “Columbus School for Girls.” A little girl held her mother’s hand as they climbed into a vehicle that could have paid for four years of community college for an inner-city child. Five miles back, I had watched a small boy kick stones in front of a graffiti decorated billboard, with a tattered bicycle by his side. It can be seen everywhere. Just take a little cruise down High Street. Start at 15th Avenue, watch the inhabitants pull to the light, screaming over Ben Folds Five to their buds at Zig’s. (Notice all the black Blazers.) Then take a left and let your eyes coast along the finely tuned lawns of campus and up the high pillars of libraries, and don’t forget to indulge upon the sheik law school. Then turn your head three-quarters to the left and notice the six homeless permanently fixated at their posts begging for pizza change day in and day out. Now personally, I have as much hostility for these homeless as anyone who has been in this area going on four years, but is this not a perfect postcard of our illustrious country. Meanwhile, in D.C. men and women are raising ceilings again on their salaries, while discussing whether or not to pump another billion into national defense. We have enough bombers! Give me some books published in 1997 for public schools and a minimum wage that isn’t a comedy. Congress just keeps building its fat wallet while more cardboard signs crowd the streets and shelters collapse under a “lack of funds.” I’m not justifying the homeless and I’m not defending them, but as you are approached time and time again for your hard-earned pocket change I encourage you to realize that the problem doesn’t reside entirely within the person standing before you. It resides more within the greedy, ill-functioning minds in government. So I ask, have a little mercy on the homeless and take your hostility to Washington and our local government. They are the ones who truly need to hear it.
Lisa Bhungalia is a senior majoring in English from Springboro, Ohio.