* Job search status: Pep talk

A week ago today I had a highly successful interview at a dollar store.  There may be one obstacle that, if it’s there, cannot be overcome; but if it’s not there, I’ll have to take a drug test and go for a second interview at which the actual job offer will be made.  In the days since, there have been some communications glitches.  Meanwhile, time goes on.

This morning in my last five minutes at Lenny’s, I prayed about this, reflecting on (1) my disappointment to have had no word so far and (2) the path by which I got here.

I just completed a two-month “job readiness” program … not as if I needed any program to make me “ready” for a job, but this one is unique in that while one is taking classes, they have scouts hunting down specific job opportunities that well match each candidate. That is the big factor I see missing for most people in the big picture.

Was the class a waste of time?  Continue reading

* Practical advantages of being a nice guy

It’s been a long time since I last considered this; maybe because, for some months, there haven’t been that many jerks among us at the shelter.  Whether the “spirit” I breathe out has anything to do with that, I don’t know.[1]  But I was in the shower 07/01/12 and overheard that they’d run out of wash cloths, and that brought this to mind.

Just being a nice guy earns me concrete, practical rewards.

A number of mainstream people help me financially who definitely would not help a jerk.

If we’re in the smoke pit and I need to bum one, I’m far more likely to get one than would a jerk.

Last summer, there was a shortage of wash cloths, for reason that people were stealing them.  At first, if you weren’t one of the first 40 to shower, you wouldn’t get one.  Then it became 30.  Then 20.  Several guys, it turns out, actually donated  wash clothes.  I donated 15.  They all disappeared.[2]

Some guys come to the clothes window and every day, it’s:
Continue reading

* What the little birds told me

The pigeons.  Years ago, when I had an office job downtown, I’d wait for the bus every afternoon on the south side of Baltimore Street one or two blocks east of Charles.  Often, someone tossed down several handfuls of torn-up bread for the birds to eat, and I’d have time to watch them.

For the most part, the pigeons acted just as you’d expect:  eating together, share and share alike.  But I noticed one individual whose conduct was quite different.  This guy never picked up any food from the ground.  He never seemed to notice any food on the ground.  Instead, he’d notice what someone else was eating, and go over and take it away from that person.  Time and time again, he did this.

Put this fellow down on top of a pile of food, and he’d starve to death, because he’d never pick up any for himself.  Put another pigeon with him, and he’d be OK — taking away what the other one picks up to eat.

How much closer can you get to the way some people act; who will not do anything for themselves, but only take away what someone else has worked for?  Can there be a gene for this?

———— ♦ ————

When I lived in Barclay, I maintained a bird feeder in the back yard — different locations, but always visible from the kitchen window.  Two species used to visit the feeder in flocks: sparrows and starlings.  There might be fifty sparrows or fifty starlings there at a time.  Continue reading


I felt pretty chipper all day Tuesday 06/26/12, until I came into the shelter and put my things down on my bunk.  My mood changed abruptly.  All of a sudden I became ornery.  I felt out of sorts, prone to become irritated and to look for things to get upset about.

On the one hand, I wondered if some spirit of negativity had infested the place, and I’d picked up on it.  This has happened before.  See the subsequent post about starlings (link).  But I could not see or hear anyone who might be creating it.

On the other hand, it’s up to me to choose my own mood and outlook, regardless of circumstances.  And right now, it’s my job to be bright.  That’s my work.  That’s what God’s paying me to do.

(Turns out the one guy who works in the laundry toom was carrying a particularly nastty attitude that day.  Could I have picked up on that from 40 feet away?  It’s possible.  He never wears his name badge, which is a violation of the rules, so it took me several days to learn his name.  But I did, and put him on my prayer list.)