Homeless People Shouldn't Make You Feel Sad Like That

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Vol 38 Issue 02

Howie Long Expresses Desire To Direct Radio Shack Spots

LOS ANGELES— Pondering his next career move, Radio Shack pitchman and former NFL defensive end Howie Long told reporters Monday that he is interested in directing an upcoming installment of the series of commercials in which he playfully endorses high-tech gadgets with actress Teri Hatcher. "I've given it a lot of thought, and I think I'm ready to get behind the camera," Long said. "I've done the acting thing for a while now, and I just feel like it's time for a new challenge." Long said he could bring the kind of experience and insight to directing the commercials that only comes from having spent countless hours on the set.

Receptionist Takes Leave Of Absence Citing Dehydration, Exhaustion

QUINCY, IL— Citing "dehydration and exhaustion," a spokesperson for Andrea Conklin announced Monday that the Quincy dental receptionist will take an extended leave of absence. "The stress and strain of answering Dr. Taubman's phones all day long has finally taken its toll on Ms. Conklin," spokesman Chris Vinocur said. "Andrea is now in the care of her personal physician, who has recommended that she take two months off to regain her strength." Vinocur denied rumors in last week's National Enquirer that Conklin had checked into a drug-rehabilitation facility.

Consumer Reports Rates Self 'Excellent'

NEW YORK— Consumer Reports magazine earned a rating of "excellent" in its special "Consumer Advocacy Magazines" issue, which hit newsstands Tuesday. "From our exhaustive, unbiased appraisals of all types of consumer products to our clear, concise writing style, Consumer Reports is once again the undisputed winner," the article read. "For the latest in consumer information and product-safety recalls, look no further than us."

Enron Executives Blamed For Missing Employee Donut Fund

HOUSTON— The Enron Corp. scandal widened Monday, when The Houston Chronicle reported that top company executives stole nearly $10 from the employee donut fund sometime between June and August of last year. "There should be at least $9.25 in the coffee can next to the filters," said Laurie Baker, a recently laid-off Enron employee. "I personally put $2.50 into that fund, and now it's gone." Enron CEO Kenneth Lay is already under grand-jury subpoena regarding $45 in Chinese-food-delivery allocations that mysteriously vanished on Nov. 17, 2001.

Confused Marines Capture Al-Jazeera Leader

DOHA, QATAR— In a daring effort to dismantle the vast Arab network, a company of confused Marines raided Al-Jazeera headquarters Monday and captured leader Mohammed Abouzeid. "Al-Jazeera has ties to virtually every country in the Arab world, and this guy was the key to their whole operation," Lt. Warren Withers said. "Nothing went through the Al-Jazeera communications array without his go-ahead." Pentagon officials praised the soldiers for their "courageous and swift action," but noted they would have preferred that the Marines captured someone hostile to the U.S. instead.

Who Do I Have To Blow To Win The Bancroft Prize In American History?

For the past seven years, I have devoted myself wholly to the task of studying the life of William Howard Taft, becoming, in the process, the world's foremost authority on our 27th president. I have delved deeply into both his personal and political history, tracing his journey from a hardscrabble Ohio boyhood to the highest office in the land.

Developmentally Disabled Senator Wants To Be Treated Like Any Other Lawmaker

WASHINGTON, DC—When he was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, Sen. Freddy Rigby (D-NE) knew he had a tough road ahead of him. Developmentally disabled since birth, Rigby's controversial election provoked reactions ranging from misty-eyed admiration to outrage. But to supporters and detractors alike, this very special senator makes one simple request: to be treated just like any other lawmaker.
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Homeless People Shouldn't Make You Feel Sad Like That

I realize not everybody can make mid-six figures like my husband. But just because you're not as fortunate as others, that doesn't give you the right to go around depressing people. That's my problem with the homeless: They spend all their time shuffling around in their tattered, smelly clothes, making you feel awful about having a nice home and job. Well, I don't think they should make you feel sad like that.

Whether you're stopped at a light in your Mercedes 450 SLC Coupe, shopping for a new pair of Manolo Blahniks, or strolling through the park, the homeless always show up to beg for change. Or they push around their rusty shopping carts full of empty cans and filthy plastic bags. How depressing! Of course, the homeless should be afforded a certain minimal level of human dignity, but they shouldn't get to lord their poverty over people.

If the homeless want to be treated better, they should understand that people like me want to be able to enjoy a meal at an outdoor cafe without having to look at some scabby man digging through the trash. If they must hang around restaurants, why not go to fast-food places like McDonald's or Burger King, where people more like them tend to eat? They shouldn't hang around nice places. Decent people want to enjoy their mesclun salad without having to see a vagrant passed out on a bench, reeking of his own urine. Nothing kills an appetite faster.

And why sleep on benches, anyway? Can't the homeless at least put the effort into finding a room at a city shelter? How can I head home on a frosty evening to enjoy a cup of cocoa and a warm bed when, along the way, I have to trip over a man sleeping on a grate? It's especially galling in light of the fact that my husband pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to buy places for these homeless people to sleep, and they aren't even using them. Instead they're sleeping outside, wasting our dollars, and making me feel bad, to boot.

Though the homeless should be allowed to go almost anywhere they want without harassment, they should at least have the decency to go where people aren't trying to enjoy themselves. Stay away from the art museums and movie theaters. Do your loitering and panhandling outside places where people aren't having fun, like the DMV or dry cleaners.

And, if I may make a request to any homeless person reading this, please don't ask for money from people with children. Trying to explain your miserable plight to a child is one of the hardest things a parent can do. They're too young to understand what makes certain people fall through the cracks of society, and it's not fair of you to force parents' hands with your presence.

The homeless need to understand that other people have feelings, too, and that it's really pretty selfish of them to display their suffering out in the open like that. If they must be someplace where everyone can see them, can't they at least fake a smile? A smile is free, after all. Even a homeless person can afford that.

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