Starving men donít smile, do they?

 

 

So Iím not a nice guy.

A lot of people in this business would agree with you.

But thatís no reason why my restaurant should serve as a social welfare food bank.

I earn my money and I donít need no goof-off street people rooting through my trash for a free meal.

Okay, so it shouldnít matter to me what happens to the stuff once I throw it out. But it does.

Even if I didnít wake up twice a week with the unpleasant task of having to sweep up the stuff off the sidewalk once the bums got through with my trash, Iíd be peeved.

Itís a matter of principle.

Sure, I chased them away.

Every day, in fact.

When I see them out there, I yell my head off.

But they act as stupid as cows, shrugging their shoulders at me until Iíve yelled my voice hoarse and then they call me a bastard.

I thought when I put a lock on the Dumpster that would be the end of it.

It wasnít.

I doubt it took more than a minute for them to get the lock off, and the next day I found them sitting around in the alley, eating my trash and grinning at me when I started to yell.

Starving men donít smile, do they?

Thatís when I called the cops.

I figured digging through a personís trash had to be against the law.

The police said there was, but with so many people out on the street these days, they couldnít arrest them all.

Not when the cops had serious crime to contend with.

Besides, one cop told me, most of the bums wanted to go to jail where they had a warm place to sleep and three decent meals per day to eat.

The cops said restaurant trash like mine was a gold mine to most bums. A bum could feed his whole family for a week on what they found in my Dumpster alone.

When the cops wouldnít do what I wanted, I called city hall.

I knew the city council president didnít approve of this foolishness on the street. He spoke out against every kind of welfare, and like me, he saw their feeding off my trash as just another handout.

But he also told me this was a huge problem in the city.

While as a government official, he could not help me directly, he directed me to a group of merchants who had found a solution. They got together to hire a firm to come around twice a week to spray the trash, giving it such a putrid smell no cat, dog, or human could stand it.

After I got involved, I didnít see a dog, cat, or rat for weeks. And some humans did indeed stay away.

But they were my customers.

The bums barely noticed. Stink or not, they came and fed.

I was so aghast I could have shot them all. But with so many out there, I would have needed an armory to take care of them all.

I supposed in some small way poisoning my trash was wrong.

But I checked an attorney. No laws existed against my doing it, as long as I posted a sign warning people to stay away.

Maybe I felt a little twinge of guilt when the first few got carted off to the hospital when they didnít heed the warnings.

But it worked. After awhile word got out and I havenít seen a bum in weeks. And I no longer have to lock up my trash at night.

 

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