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The Preposterous Impostor

Updated on December 2, 2011

Oh, the poor man!.....Really?

For several years now I have been aware of "The Preposterous Impostor". You may have seen him, too, where you live?

He rides the bus to several local cities, usually the big ones. Though I speculate he could perhaps have a personal chauffeur to drop him off anywhere.

He is easily identifiable, but not to be confused with other men and women, most of whom are too proud to display their own legitimacy as he does his own illegitimacy.

He wears a bright vest of international orange color, and sometimes with a yellow slicker jacket over the vest, but not long enough to obscure the bottom edge of the orange vest. He carries a red and white "blind man's cane", and uses it with practiced ease.

He is The Preposterous Impostor because (you guessed it) he is not blind. His only discernible handicap is his apparent dishonesty. I have observed him crossing the street expertly tapping his red and white cane while looking around to visually assess the traffic flow.

I have seen him visually double check trash cans at a bus stop, and abandoning the tap, tap, tap of his red and white cane as he boards a bus and goes directly to an empty seat, then watching out the window as the world passes by.

I must admit that I have never seen him panhandling locally, and I suspect that is only because others have seen through his charade and his local opportunities are consequently limited. It could even be because locals might even have him arrested for what is against the law even for other sighted persons.

Stories are common in recounting the panhandler who falsely asks for money to "get enough gasoline for the car to be able to make it home" or "to get something to eat" only to turn away and leave when offered a meal with you at a nearby restaurant. My regular bus terminal sees the youngsters who hit up other riders for "enough money for the bus" but who, when they are rebuffed, enter their chosen bus and easily pay their own fares. Training for the future?

Then there are the two-for-one panhandlers who periodically show up just beyond the giant box store's property (and only on weekends) with their hand-drawn signs announcing that "aNy DoNatiun will Help!" They remind me of the out-of-work American construction worker who couldn't get work until he had relatives in Mexico send him used Mexican clothing that was all he needed to be hired and paid under-the-table as an "undocumented" worker!

On a recent trip to New England, I made a quick stop at a fast food restaurant and noticed a man in camouflage fatigues and winter clothing picking through the outside trash cans. Not to be uncharitable to such a one in need, I ordered two of each item, secured a table and then took the extra items out to the man, saying: "Hey buddy, try these and see how they suit you," while extending my food offering.

He rejected my offer directly, saying "I never eat that stuff!" With complete surprise obviously showing, I asked him what he was looking for in the trash. He replied that he was looking for additional game pieces for a contest the fast food place was sponsoring; pieces which some customers must obviously have been throwing in the trash he was pouring over!

I felt good that I had offered the food "to one in need" who obviously had the "Million Dollars Prize" on his mind!

My fellow bus rider could not possibly surprise me more than that man did, if he were to turn out to not be "The Preposterous Impostor." (If that were to happen, he would surprise some of his bus drivers, too.)

© This work is licensed under a Creative Comments Attribution-No Derivs 3.0 United States License

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