Talk to a Bum

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Got answers? Diogenes has questions.

Image hosting by PhotobucketDear Diogenes,

Three months ago, I was a pathetic shell of a human being. Every evening around 8:30, as I sat exhausted in front of the television, I would be racked with hollow sobs as I contemplated the utter futility of my existence. Then one day a friend at work mentioned this wonderful, quirky group of people she had met online, and told me how much their virtual presence in her life made her look forward to getting out of bed each morning. She encouraged me to start my own weblog, and wow, am I ever glad I did! I had no idea how incredibly therapeutic it could be to share thoughts and feelings I never knew I had with friends I will never have to actually meet.

Hey, you should start your own blog! It would be so much more creative than just sitting there with a sign all day long. You could even put a little Paypal link in the sidebar and make some money.

Sign me –

Other Brother Darrell

Image hosting by PhotobucketYo, Bro,

Let me ask you something. If committing mind-farts to the ether and chattering all day long with other people doing the same thing was enough to lift you out of your sad state, how can you possibly think you had it so bad? Do you have any idea how many hundreds of millions of people around the world have to work fifteen-hour days and live in apalling conditions just to make enough money to feed their families? Do you ever think of the effect that your mindless consumer lifestyle has upon the rapidly hemorrhaging global support systems on which all life depends? It seems to me that you have not solved anything, but have simply avoided asking the tough questions. How do you know that the misgivings you are trying to bury under a flood of egocentric distraction were not, in fact, based in reality – that your life really isn’t an utter wasteland?

Diogenes

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Image hosting by PhotobucketDear Diogenes,

I was a physical wreck: overweight, always tired, stressed out. Then one day I happened to catch an ad for Jazzercise and something clicked. I sent away for the tapes. I figured I had nothing to lose – if I wasn’t completely satisfied, I could simply return them in less than thirty days and I would owe nothing. Boy, am I glad I took that one small step – it put me on the road to self-recovery! I lost ten pounds right off the bat, and started craving healthier foods, too. I know it might sound counter-intuitive, but exercising more actually makes you feel a lot less tired! I’m full of energy now at work, too. And it’s not just a physical thing: I feel better about myself. The other day, my boss hinted that I might qualify for a promotion! Talk about a self-esteem boost! You should try getting some exercise, too.

Fit and Happy

Image hosting by PhotobucketDear Fit-happy,

Do you care nothing for the fate of your immortal soul? What manner of a thing is this “self” you claim to have recovered? Do you have a single shred of evidence to suggest that the “work” that so dominates your waking life has anything in common with the true Work for which your destiny was shaped in the womb of beginningless time?

Just askin’.

Diogenes

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Image hosting by PhotobucketDear Diogenes,

O.K., I’ll admit it – I’m a whore. I have frequent, unprotected sex with crack dealers to feed my habit. I haven’t seen my child in three years, since the social workers came and put him in a foster home. He’s five, now – I’m sure he doesn’t even remember me. You’re out here on the street, too, I’m sure nothing shocks you anymore. I don’t know why I’m telling you this – I guess you seem dispassionate, and sort of wise somehow… though I gotta tell you, you could use a bath!

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I feel terrible. Here I am just trying to use you the way I use everybody else – and the way they use me in return. But that’s how it is. Everyone’s a user. The only difference between me and the assholes running the show is, they started life with a bigger chunk of the pie. Oh, and they snort powder rather than smoking rock.

I just want to tell you how glad I am that you’re here. Sometimes when things get really bad, I think about killing myself, but then I remember how you sit out here, rain or shine, sleet, snow – whatever – offering yourself up for the derision of every passerby, but still somehow managing to hold your head high. Strange as it sounds, you’re an inspiration to me. I think you should find someone to look up to, too – everyone should have a hero. All we need is love!

Dolores

Image hosting by PhotobucketAy, Dolores!

Let’s maintain the pretense for a little longer: you are not a comic book character, and I am not a cartoon. Let’s ignore the fact that this city is filled with comic-book characters, very few of whom will ever learn to draw for themselves.

If you want a true hero – as opposed to an enabler – don’t you think you’re talking to exactly the wrong person? Shouldn’t your child be the one who inspires you? Are you prepared for the hard work and occasional heartbreak that real love entails? Or would you rather continue to wallow in the ecstasy-seeker’s empyrean of commitment-free sentimentality? Your call.

Diogenes

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If you have some good advice you’d like to share, drop us a line. Emails to bontasaurus (at) yahoo (dot) com with “Advice for the Bum” in the subject line will be forwarded to Diogenes for possible interrogation in future editions of this feature. Your identity and situations are reality-optional.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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