Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Happy Beggar

The story is from 2009

this is just a story, not true, some are from my experience and some are made up:

Have you realized the people who have the greatest sense of humour are usually people whose had it the toughest in life?

I have an easy life. I grew up in a nourishing and supportive family. I was never hungry, i always had something to eat. I never got abused. never seen my parents drinking. they bought me the greatest gifts, year after year. every single day, i was told that i am loved! i finished high school and went on school trips to places like Scotland. I had a snowmobile most of the time. Heck, I've had rifles since i was five years old. I have a life that is devoid of struggles, i have the most loving family this world had to offer. I can talk to my father like he is my best friend. simply put, I am loved and i've never really had it hard.

Remember my story and how easy i've had it! Remember?

I am living in an environment that produces immense amount of prosperity and possess-able materials. I live in an environment that produces building materials and they keep on building. Since i have moved to the city, new buildings have been going up every year. I pass by people who wear expensive clothes and can afford Mercedes' and Land rovers and even Hummers. I walk and talk to people who own million dollar buildings. i know people in the city that will die a nice death on a bed beside their families and loved ones. They will afford a $3000 tombstone with a very self-supporting epitaph:
Here lies John Doe
He never heard of Death Row
He never lifted a hoe
He always wanted more
and he'll keep getting more
even if god never kept a score!

remember the environment? You can throw money in this town and it can support thousands of people. the money can buy thousand of cup-o-noodle soups, thousands of slices of bread, thousands of mmm, mmm, mm, so good Campbell's soups, thousands of shoes and boots, thousands of mitts and canada goose down jackets for all the needy this city has made suffer.

I am not very rich right now, actually, it is hard right now but I have it much better than most people in the city.

Yesterday, i received a cheque for $9.75. I cashed it and it turned out to be cash. i stepped out of the bank and there he was. Sitting and leaning on to a newspaper stand, with a black blanket around his shoulders, he smiled and laughed. He laughed and said, "I've actually taught you when you were in grade three, i have made you lunch when you were hanging out with my son, i have given you pepsi and now look at you, wearing a "Pang hat" with Sony headphones, mitts that your mother made and that jacket probably cost you $200, you even have a MEC backpack."

He laughed some more. I didn't get what was funny.

He proceeded, "I am asking for a cigarette from qallunaat and they give me looks like i soiled myself. some don't even look at me. I ask for pennies and nickels. I take anything, even food that they didn't finish. But its funny because I never thought, 15 years ago when i taught you in grade three, that i would be asking for money from you!"

He gave a small chuckle and coughed out phlegm like a 40 year smoker of Players Light. The wrinkles in his face had gotten more defined since the summer. Begging for pennies and nickels is more stressful than fighting in a war, aging day by day like its been month and months.

i laughed with him, not because i thought it was funny, but because i could tell he needed someone to laugh with him. An Eskimo laugh is worth nothing when it is done alone, so i had to glorify his laugh and laugh with him.

My father told me: "give what you can. You make all that money down south and you see people who ask for money all the time, give some whenever you can, okay?!?!?!"

The $9.75 cheque. I could have bought two lunches, maybe three from Giant Tiger. I could have spent it on my skinny little ass and have a nice shawarma.

i gave him my $9.75 and i told him, "get whatever you want with this money, go get some beer, heck, if you get a quarter, you can buy a gram of weed. go buy yourself some coffee. go buy yourself some candy. go buy what you can with this."

He laughed and i laughed with him and he said: I'll buy coffee for other Inuit that are a block away. I'm not going to spend your money on booze or drugs, i'll do that with qalunaat money, but I am going buy coffee. Thank you. Aakkuluk."

He shook my hand and got up and fixed the black blanket around his shoulders. I could hear him walking down with a smile on his face and he laughed again and said, "I'm poor Inuk"


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