I subscribe to Memphis Magazine, and recently they inserted a small booklet, the 2005 Social Calendar, in with the latest issue. It lists charity events, street festivals, and athletic events for the first half of the year. I decided to create a similar social calendar, but with a more targeted audience: the bums who wander my neighborhood panhandling for change. Enjoy.
January 1: Hey mayne, look here. On Thanksgiving and Christmas they be all kind of peoples wanting to feed us, you know what I’m saying, but don’t nobody think of the homeless on New Year’s! Everybody be eatin’ they blackeyed peas fo good luck and we be out here freezing! How about seventy-two cent so I can have some good luck, too?
First week of January: Hey. Hey. Sir. Hey, sir! This is the Annual Manual. It’s put out by the Memphis Flyer, and it tells you everything there is to know about Memphis. Go ahead, take one. Now, the Annual Manual is free, but I do accept tips, you know, a dollar or two.
Third Monday in January: Hey mayne, you know today is Martin Luther King Day, don’t you? How about honoring the memory of Dr. King by helping a homeless person out with about fitty-four cent.
February 14: (Hurriedly picks flowers from planter on the Civic Center Plaza on Main Street Mall, then runs after couple) Scuse me! Scuse me! Scuuuuuume! Sir! Sir! That is one beautiful lady you got there. How about a flower for the lady? Fresh cut. I can give it to you for about three dollar.
First week of April: Hey! Hey, how y’all doin’. Aw yeah, you goin’ to the Redbirds game, aint’cha? The season opener! Aw, yeah, dog, I bet you’re gonna get you one of them Big Ass Beers they sell. Yeah… look here, how about a dollar so I can gets me a cold beer too.
April 20: What’s up big bro… look here, you know what day it is, right? Earth Day. 4/20. Fo tweeeentaaayyy…. and you know what 4/20 all about, don’t ya, dog? So look here, how about a few bucks so I can get my smoke on for 4/20?
First weekend in May: (Bum walks past parked car belonging to out-of-town Memphis in May tourist who has left CDs in plain view) (***SMASH!***) (Bum runs through a couple of alleys) (Bum approaches other tourists) Hey! Hey, look here. Get yo official Memphis in May music right here. You choice of CDs. Look here, I got it all, some Bruce Springsteen, some Rolling Stones, some Madonna. These’d cost a whole lot of money in the store, but I can give you your choice for about two dollar.
Week after the third weekend in May: Hey, mayne! Hey, dog! You missed out… they had the annual BBQ fest last weekend. Mmmm, that was some GOOD food. But look here. You still in Memphis, the BBQ capial of the world. I’m gonna show you how to get to the Rendezvous, I’m gonna show you Blues City, King’s Palace, all the places to get some real Memphis BBQ. Hey, look here, how about eighty-nine cent for your friendly neighborhood tour guide?
July 4: Scuse me! Sir! Sir! You don’t have to pay that parking meter today. It’s a federal holiday, so they don’t be checkin’ it. But look here, how about using that change to help me out with about seventy-three cent?
Week of August 16: Hey, how y’all doin’? I bet you’re in town fo the anniverserary of Elvis’ death, ain’t ya? Yeahhh… you goin’ to Graceland for the candlelight march? Aw yeah… Elvis was a great man… generous man too. You know, one time, he gave somebody a Cadillac, just because. Now look here, I ain’t expectin’ nobody to give me no Cadillac, but I sho could use about forty-nine cent.
October 31: What you supposed to be dressed up as, a ghost? (Note: it doesn’t matter what your actual costume is, they use the same line on everyone they meet) Look here, I’m dressed up as a thirsty man tryin’ to get him a bottle of whisky. You think you can help me out with about sixty-eight cent?
November: Sir, scuse me, sir. Hey, I know you probably got a nice comfortable home to go home to, but I ain’t got nothin’, sir. And it’s gettin’ mighty cold outside. I just need some money so I can go buy me some supplies to stay warm. (Person feels sorry for bum, gives him six dollars. Bum shakes his hand and waits until he gets out of sight, then runs to the liquor store and buys three bottles of Thunderbird.)
Fourth Thursday in November: Hey, sir. I’m taking up a collection for the homeless. Look here, a lot of places are closed for Thanksgiving, and the homeless can’t get the supplies they need, so I’m trying to help out. (Person feels sorry, gives bum a few dollars. The bum wasn’t lying. The liquor store is closed today. So the bum goes to Walgreens, buys a bottle of NyQuil, and chugs it)
December: (Wearing Santa hat and carrying bell) Hey, mayne, look here, I’m taking up donations. Would you care to give? ‘Tis the season. (Not every bum will run this angle, as it requires startup costs of about $5 for the Santa hat and the bell – that’s a sacrifice of enough money to buy a half gallon of Dark Eyes vodka! But for bums who plan ahead, this can pay off, bringing in enough money to buy liquor and crack for the rest of the winter.)
December 31: (Bum yells at passing car) Hey! Hey! Parking, right here! (waves car into spot) Yes sir, you can park right here. Yeah, I know it says “no parking” but this here a new space, the city just ain’t got around to takin’ the sign down yet. That’ll be five dolla. That’s a bargain, you know what I’m saying, most lots be chargin’ ten ’cause it’s New Year’s Eve. What you mean, I don’t look like no parking lot attendant? C’mon now, that’ll be five dolla… (sees flashing blue lights approaching) (looks at imaginary watch on arm) Oops, my shift’s over, I got’s ta go! (takes off running down alley)