Your Thoughts, Please

September 30, 2009 · 6 comments

Ok, so check this:

A blind man was begging in a city park.  Someone approached and asked him whether people were giving generously.  The blind man shook a nearly empty tin.

His visitor said to him, “Let me write something on your card.”  The blind man agreed.  That evening the visitor returned.  “Well, how were things today?”

The blind man showed him a tin full of money and asked, “What on earth did you write on that card?”

“Oh,” said the other, “I merely wrote ‘Today is a spring day, and I am blind.'”

So my question to you, dear reader, is as follows:

Does this make sense to you?  Would you be more likely to drop some loot in the blind dude’s mug if you saw “Today is a spring day, and I am blind” on his cardboard?

To put it in perspective, this story appears in the beginning of the Gratitude chapter of The Spirituality of Imperfection (one of the books I’m currently reading).

So yeah, I’d like to hear what you think.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

scott September 30, 2009 at 02:15

Yes I would be more likely to drop some change in his mug if he had a sign not really becuse of what it said but cause I dig homless dudes with signs lets me know they are putting some time into there begging. I would put down a hell of alot more cash if the sign was funny like “Need Cash for Alcohol Research”


Apoc September 30, 2009 at 06:43

No, I don’t believe that this sign would have encouraged me to be charitable. The message only restates the obvious. There is, for me, the notion that to respond to that message by putting money in the cup is an act of pity.

The blind man’s sign is, however, a kind of ultimate Twitter opportunity, isn’t it? A limited space (maybe 140 characters or so) to try to catch the attention of passersby and make a promising, and hopefully profitable, connection.

What if the blind man had instead dictated a “tweet” to his visitor to be placed on the sign? That, for me, would be a different story. In that I would understand how he, I and all the other bloggers and twitterers out here are on the same footing, each trying to attract some attention with our wit and our charm, to the extent that we may possess them.

I twitter-follow niceguyted/Quixotic Jedi and others because they have taken the time to think of something interesting to say and taken the initiative to put it out there. In “payment” for that, I offer my time and attention.

My “payment” to the blind man for an interesting “tweet” is most definitely money in his cup — perhaps more than I might have offered as charity. Quid pro quo, yes?


Katie September 30, 2009 at 08:37

I dig the sign thing… Whenever I’m driving on the GWB and a guy has a sign that is a) funny or b) sweet I tend to give something. Although my question to you is… How neat is a blind mans handwriting? Sloppy signs cancel out all of the above!


BRIAN September 30, 2009 at 09:20

I drive in and out of NYC for my 9-5 so I see a lot of these “bums” with there signs. I stereotypically assume they are all drug addicts / alcoholics. I can certainly identify with them but I would be right there with them if I started handing out money to all of them. Most of the signs say the same thing HOMELESS HUNGRY PLEASE HELP GOD BLESS. One Friday there was this “bum” standing in the middle of the highway with a sign that said IT’S FRIDAY…I’M TRYING TO GET A COUPLE BEERS. Everyone was throwing $ at this guy. Honesty really gets you somewhere.

As far as the guy in the park goes I would probably just ignore him. Most of society in my opininion is somewhat used to seeing beggers and tend to just look the other way. Also if he was really blind he would probably be on disability and might be making more than me in which case I might rob his tin of $.


Christof September 30, 2009 at 09:37

I don’t give money to homeless people but I was tempted when I saw a guy with a sign that said “Being hunted by Werewolves any silver will do”


Being Samiantha September 30, 2009 at 11:23

Hmmmm. I hate to say this but I am slighty insensitive when it comes to beggers vs. bums or homeless people.
IN the downtown core, the ratio of people asking for money vs not. is ridiculous. (stupid gov’t)

We have a lot in Vancouver, and some of them are not there by their own doing. Mental illness housing closes down without warning, offering no options for the residents, leaving them homeless and hungry.

Like Brian said, If I gave cash to everyone who asked I’d be right beside them in a short period of time.

So I do my part with the guy that lives in my area…

Currently I have an arrangement with a local semi homeless neighbourhood guy. Every few weeks, he tosses pebbles at my apt window, and I’ll bring down whatever cases of beer and wine bottles we’ve collected(drank) over the last few weeks etc.. With that, he buys himself new jogging pants and sweatshirt, or gets a haircut.
He’s trying. He actually has a place to live (I’ve recently learned) with several others in a semi independant living facility for the mentally ill.
(result of woodlands and riverview closing down)

long winded way of saying, It wouldnt make a difference if the person asking for money had a sign or not.

Ted you got me all wound up and not I’m going to have to blog about the homeless situation in Vancouver and the lack of support the gov’t has for them. More so with the 2010 Olypmics coming. It’s a joke.


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