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Sitting on the 16th Street Mall in Denver with my parents at Ink Coffee, drinking the otherwise fine coffee out of a paper cup, while watching the rain patter on a newspaper a homeless guy was holding over his head, gave me a great deal of mixed feelings about America. Looking down, I watched the white steam float up while the heat of the coffee burned through the paper and into my hand.

Everything was clean and disposable, from the cups to the coffee to the people. That is the American way. Speed, service, rotation, and bottom line, no matter how many lives are lost and left on the wayside.

But it’s okay. They deserve it.

a begger and his dog

Those who lost their parents to cancer, or murder, they deserve it.

Those whose lives were lost in mountains of debt, balancing some family tragedy or another, they deserve it. They didn’t work hard enough. Dumb luck can always be overcome by a firm foundation and strong planning. Anyone who lacks in these things are snowflakes with fragile masculine egos. Let them suffer, let them die, because I’ve got a point to prove.

We all have points to prove.

Meanwhile that cardboard sign that fellow is holding wilts, the ink runs, the writing barely legible.

But we’ve got a point to prove.

An ideology to flash at people, so that we can feel comfortable. We can feel fine.

“Don’t make me feel sorry,” said someone to my mother, when she called for compassion. “To make me feel for them.”

It’s a horrible thing to be uncomfortable. To be called from this life. To turn away the temptation of an easy life, of an easy way.

Inside, where we sat, everything was dry, frequently swept, people in clean clothes come in and out, shuffling along, a part of some great system that devours souls and means nothing.

And that man stares inside, into the warmth, unable to even use the restroom since he hasn’t made a dime, the bad weather cutting into his earnings generating by those who want to do at least a minimum, who at least have a little discomfort.

Nobody said it was easy to be a good person.

In fact, that’s among the most difficult things. To turn down the indifference of modern society.

The writing on the cardboard, the ink runs and washes it away.

“God bless you,” it reads.

“But he hasn’t bothered with me.”

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