If the dollar is so weak for us working stiffs, what's life like for the less fortunate? How are the street beggars and bums surviving?
The It Occurred To Me staff decided to enter the underbelly of the city, the world where the indigent work and play. Our goal was to explore this strange world ... To seek out life forms there ... To boldly go where no one wanted to go before!
Hey, that would make a grand opening narrative for a Sci-Fi program. Picture a crew of street beggars, bums and hobos in a star ship roaming the galaxy in search of a handout! "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no money down here." ... I digress.
The first down-on-his-luck denizen we found in a back alley was none other than ... Mickey Mouse. It seems that the once famous rodent had been reduced to a life of running numbers, taking bets on sporting events and pimping. His girl, Minnie was out working the street, although she spends most of her time on her back. His long time friend Goofy was the enforcer, often using a baseball bat on the knees of those who dared to welsh.
We walked away from the squalor of his open air office thinking that an old adage was befitting. When one is at the top, the farther and harder one has to fall to land at the bottom. Mickey did however, point us in the direction of the last known address of the "king" of the street bums.
Dollar Bill, as he was known, had been plying the begging trade for several decades. Our search for him would turn out to be long and arduous. When we arrived at said address we found that a homeless female now resided there. She called herself "Penny Annie." She told us that as far as she knew Dollar Bill had moved to a better part of town - the financial district.
It only seemed logical that in these hard times he would go to where the money was - Wall Street. As we neared the financial capital of he world, we noticed that the street beggars were better dressed and cleaner. The pickings must have been good in that area. One such beggar was even using a Starbucks coffee cup in which to collect his coins from the passersby.
While interviewing one of these well-to-do beggars we were fascinated to learn just how successful Dollar Bill had become. His riches-to-rags-to-riches-and-back story was legendary in those parts. We were told that he was about to strike it big again. It appeared that Dollar Bill subscribed to some kind of yo-yo theory of economics.
Here is the story of his new success: Begging on Wall Street
There were three beggars begging on Wall Street. The first beggar wrote "Beggar" on his broken cup. He received $10.00 after one day.We learned of this story from a beggar who like some of his contemporaries carried laptops and used Wi-Fi to gain access to the Internet. This fellow said to us, "I used to be on the fast track - now I'm just off-roading."
The next day, the second beggar wrote "Beggar.com" on his cup. After one day, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars and an offer to float an IPO on NASDAQ.
The following day, the third beggar, Dollar Bill, wrote "e-Beg" on his cup. Microsoft, IBM, and HP sent corporate vice-presidents to talk to him about strategic alliances and offered him free hardware consultancy. In addition, it was reported on CNBC that e-Beg uses 95% Oracle technology and that I2 announced the launch of BegTradeMatrix; a b2b industry portal offering supply chain integration in the beggar community.
When we finally found Dollar Bill, we were surprised at the luxury in which he now languished. Someone had recently bought a brand new King-sized Posture-Pedic mattress, a purchase that our man had wasted no time to take advantage of for his own personal gain. Before our very eyes, surrounded by a collection of the most expensive and finest stogies and cigar butts ever discarded was the man himself, lying prone on the box that had once contained the mattress.
Our attempts to interview him however, were in vain. Dollar Bill , forgetting from whence he'd come, haughtily deferred us to his agent. Imagine that! A street beggar, albeit a successful one, actually having an agent!
Thus it came to pass that we found ourselves back in the alley where our quest had begun. Dollar Bill's booking agent was none other than Mickey Mouse. The fallen star of TV and the Silver Screen flipped through the pages of an appointment book.
"Ah, here we go," he said with a foul-smelling stogie dangling from his lip. "Dollar Bill has an opening on the 31st of March, at 10 am."
"Great," I said. "That's next Monday."
"Not so fast," the mucky little mouse retorted shaking the cigar at us. "That's the 31st of March - '09!"
There you have it, readers. As of press time the preceding was all we had to offer and we had to go with it. Perhaps another day we can once more ... search for Dollar Bill.