Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #30)


 By Daniel Canada c.2010  



STINKY Now, some conditions just plum don’t have to exist. The fact that they do only serves to underscore the apathy, and utter lack of competence on the part of bureaucratic government institutions in their care of the mentally ill. Such is the case with "Stinky." Quite simply, her name is "Stinky" because she stinks from here to high heaven. Trust me, you don’t want to smell her.

Of course, she didn't start out this way. When she first was turned out and onto the streets, she parked herself on the side of the New York Public Library, set up a few boxes and just went hardcore. "Stinky" has not moved from that location since the time of my writing this memoir. You know that you've walked past her because you're immediately assailed with a most indescribable odor. Keeping your distance is for your personal protection. Well, "Stinky" hasn't taken a shower in a month of days. She hasn't changed her clothing either, which have turned into virtual rags. 

However, there is hope! 

"Stinky" can be readily seen with a book, reading to her poor heart's content. 
She never panhandles, or bothers any passersby, but is always seen eating a fresh plastic container of hot food and drinking an occasional coffee. Ok, so she talks to herself, but wouldn't you if you were "Stinky," and had no one else to dialogue with? The art of being odoriferous leads to being quite alone, as I have warned you about earlier in the memoir. But "Stinky" seems not to mind and is making due the best she can. You know, if you start hearing voices when no one's around, or you start seeing Jesus Christ, or Buddha, for that matter, go seek medical attention. 

No seriously. 

If you don't, there's a good chance you might find yourself sitting in your own cardboard box, alongside "Stinky," reading a paperback novel…upside down. The world can be a cruel place to do a seventy or eighty year stretch and I can only hope that our government could pay a little bit more attention to the medical needs of its citizens, especially those with mental health issues.
So, take life one day at a time, and don't get caught out in the rain with your slippers off, Dorothy. 

(To be continued...)