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The advantages of being a hobo

Updated on March 14, 2014
The life of a hobo is simple but complex
The life of a hobo is simple but complex | Source

This is a short hub. I planned it that way because while searching HubPages how to make my hubs more interesting, one point they said was hub length and that a short-but-complete hub will be read by more people than a book-length piece.

I am talking today about a soft spot in my heart: Hobos. Yes, those nameless, faceless, "masters of the highways and byways," who live from day to day and most of the time, from hand out to hand out. A cold truth, but alas, the truth.

I named this piece, "The advantages of being a hobo," not as much for comedy effect, but to be specific.

Friends, there are many advantages of being a "rogue of the road," a dirty-faced, ragged-dressed man of few means. In short, a hobo.

Now do not be misconfused like I was until a few days ago. I was raised up to think that a hobo and a bum were the same.

Not so.

There are so many advantages (and differences) between a hobo and bum that not even HubPages in their endless space on their great website, could contain my feelings about hobo's and bum's.

Now I will tell you the differences between a gum and a hobo.

A bum . . .

  • will not fend for himself. He will lay around in some alleyway doing nothing all day just depending on some merciful store clerk to give him a can of soup or loaf of bread out of the back door.
  • hates the idea of work. He will go out of his way to "pan handle," on the dark streets of some busy city asking the citizens always for spare change. Why doesn't this bum show some self-respect and say, "Miss, may I have twenty-bucks for a hot meal?" Now doesn't that sound more effective?
  • doesn't care about his appearance. Unlike a hobo, he will not even try to shave his ragged face of the ugly "road stubble" before he does do something to help himself such as beg for a meal from some unsuspecting restaurant manager.
  • tries hard to play on the sympathies of people he meets. By a pitiful look on his face or a wrinkle of the forehead, he will try to make eye-contact with his "marks," before he stutters (on purpose) "got any nickels I can have?"

Whereas . . .

A hobo . . .

  • will do what it takes to look good even if the suit he found was in the dumpster he found behind the local "Grocery Galaxy."
  • will stand proud no matter how hungry he is. He will be willing to do odd-jobs, wash dishes at restaurants, sweep floors, to earin a few bucks that will carry him to his next town.
  • is always in a friendly mood even though it might be an act. A hobo knows that a smile will get him more change or odd-jobs than a frown covered with a nasty face.
  • will try to shake hands with passersby to show that he is friendly, not dangerous. If he can gain the trust of a few citizens his chances of survival will increase.

These are the differences between a bum and a hobo.

Now I want to share "The advantages of being a hobo" . . .

  1. A hobo will never worry about filing or paying income tax. Think about it. Working people fear April 15, the deadline for filing taxes or get a visit from the all-powerful I.R.S. Not the hobo. He can sleep soundly on the morning of April 15 because the few dollars in his pocket will remain his property, not the government's.
  2. A hobo can work or walk at his own pace whereas a working man or woman, no matter the job, has a boss that yells, "Get it done, Jasper!" all day long. And that can be too much to cope with for our buddy, the hobo.
  3. A hobo doesn't suffer from stress, ulcers, heart attacks, or strokes. Have you ever thought of that side of being a hobo? I didn't. All I found was many photos of men sitting peacefully around a campfire eating roast chicken they had secured from doing some clean-up work for a local butcher.
  4. A hobo has a "Hobo Code," that means sharing his scores with fellow hobo's who are not as fortunate. The chicken above can stand as an example. "Jake," one of the hobo's at the fire was the one who scored the luscious chicken by simply sweeping and mopping the butcher shop in the city. Industrious I would say.
  5. A hobo can always travel anytime or anywhere he pleases. A working man or woman has to plan his or her vacation by securing a week off at work which means bartering with the boss by offering to work overtime a few more days to get their off days. Then the working person has to meet with their hubby or wife to make sure they both are off work at the same time. Such stress to just have a relaxing week off. I see this as an unwanted burden.
  6. A hobo's housing is never a problem. No hobo ever worries about making the mortgage payment. Am I right? Sure. If a hobo can find an empty place underneath a bridge or an empty referigrerator box, hey, it's home sweet home for the hobo. And a long, peaceful night's sleep.
  7. A hobo has no social pressure which means he attends no fundraisers, charity events (although he secretly donates to the charity at times), grand openings, and even blind dates. Our hobo friend might meet a female hobo on the road and that would suffice for his date for the night.

Friends, I have made my point, both with the differences between a bum and a hobo and "The advantages of being a hobo."

I have no long closing remarks but this one . . .

The idea is being a hobo is getting to look better and better, huh?

A hobo travels by foot
A hobo travels by foot | Source


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, hobolord,

      Nice to meet you and just let me say this to you. There is nothing wrong with "Boing," that is not funny cartoon sound, but said "bo (leaving off the ho) ing," for the way I see this iconic part of our history, "If you love and have pride in yourself, tear it up. Be the BEST hobo you can."

      Thanks for the comment.


    • profile image


      2 years ago

      im gunna be a bum :D

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Do me this favor. Please? Before you publish these hubs, email me to give me a heads-up for I surely want to read them.

      And you are welcome for the idea.

      Can't wait.

      Love you, friend, Kenneth

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 

      4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Good suggestion :-)

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ raggededge,

      That sounds great. Why don't you write a series of hubs about the adventures you had, but put a note on the hub that you do not condone that type of adventure today in 2014.

      You are a very good writer. I would love to read about your adventures on the road.

      Have a peaceful Friday.


    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 

      4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you, Ken.

      Back in the day, here in the UK, it was safe to wander all over the place. We used to set out on adventures with a packet of sandwiches and the intention to have fun. We'd leave at 8am and get back home 12 hours later. No-one worried... and we did have quite a few adventures.

      Would I let my kids do it? No way!


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, raggededge,

      I am with you. You are such a good new friend. I want to share a short story with you. Many years ago when my brother-in-law was 16, and I was healthy, we talked ourselves into getting his dad into taking us to a town about one hour from our town, but on foot, about four hours or more, and let us out and see if we could make it home without incident.

      Well, he was quick to agree, but Tim, my brother-in-law and I started getting "cold feet," no pun here, and begin to see the reality of what could happen to us--mugging, beaten up, run over, etc. and with that, our dream remained just that to this day. A dream.

      I wonder now that I am sick with Fibromyalgia and Neurothopy, if we would have made it. I cannot stand lving with the what if's? Can you?

      I am glad to have you in my life as a friend and follower.


    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 

      4 years ago from Wales, UK

      The hobo life is very tempting, for sure :) There are many days when I would like to leave all the chores, the responsibilities and the bills. I'd tie my dog to a shopping trolley, fill the trolley with my worldly goods, including a few bottles of good red wine, and off I'd go.

      Thanks for you kind email, by the way. Much appreciated. I wish you lots of success and many more followers. x

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Jeannieinabottle,

      Thank you for your comment, but let's look at your thinking about running away to join the circus.

      With a circus, YOU have to WORK long, hard hours seven days a week to earn your keep, even if you are not an entertainer.

      But I suspect with your keen wits, charm, and good looks, you could be a wire-walker or a female magician with a male assistant.

      I would sure buy several tickets.

      Thank you for the comment from one hobo wannabe.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are very kind. I am in your debt for comments such as this.

      Thank you so much. I will not forget them. Or you.


    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      In all honesty, being a hobo does not sound that bad at all according to this hub. This might be a better idea than running away and joining the circus... which by the way, is something I think about doing on a fairly regular basis.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      A fun and interesting article. Brought memories of Steinbeck and even Ray Bradbury. A central theme is 'hobos' in the novel Fahrenheit 451 . . . and with a smile 'hobos' were identified as famous authors and pieces of literature. This seems to agree with the advantages of being a hobo if pondered. Thank you Ken for a window offering a door.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, tlpoague,

      Nice to meet you. Thanks for your very kind words. I sincerely appreciate your thoughts about hobos and bums. Yes, there is also a difference in rednecks and hillbillies.

      I just don't want to mess with either.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Catgypsy (still love typing that name),

      You are so right about your sharp observation about there being more hobos in our own country if our economy doesn't shape up.

      Then again, that might be good for us to live off the land for our nation, to me, has been pampered for years. Just an opinion.

      Please visit with me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ Jaye,

      Thank you, dear faithful friend, for your comments. My mother said her family were the same way, but they called these guys, "tramps," for they didn't have the word "hobo," in her era. But they were fed and cared-for and given a place to sit and rest on their journeys.

      Thanks for YOUR insight.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Perspycacious,

      Love that name. What does it mean?

      Thank you so much for what you said to explain what bum and hobo really mean. There is a difference.

      If you are not a follower of my hubs, I invite you to do so.

      That would make my day.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Lol. Okay. Let me pack my bag and find a stick to hang it on over my shoulder.

    • tlpoague profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Great hub, Ken. This reminds me of people thinking Rednecks and Hillbillies were the same. (Don't tell my sister that. She will tell you the difference in a hurry.) I have always seen the bum as a lazy lad and the poor hobo down on his luck. I found this interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

    • catgypsy profile image


      4 years ago from the South

      Great hub and topic! I think there are going to be more and more hobos if the world if things get any worse than they are now!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Ken - Your intro to this hub made me think of the song, "King of the Road."

      My definition of a "hobo" comes from my mother's description of men out of work and traveling the countryside during the Great Depression trying to find odd jobs and food. Mom said my grandmother never turned them away. Since Mom's family lived in the country and had plenty of food they raised, they also had enough to help the needy and the goodness of heart to do so. They never thought of these men as "bums", but simply people down on their luck during a difficult economic time. (Like many of the out-of-work and/or homeless of today.)

      Voted Up++


    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Easy fix up: "Now I will tell you the differences between a gum and a hobo."

      Good presentation.

      Hobo = American Nomad.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Kenneth, I want to be a hobo. Come join me.


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