2002.9.21 – help me, help you

What can we do to change the face of our community?

For starters, revolt! Don’t follow the staus quo. Walk your own way and think however you like. Take every opinion and then form one of your own. Basically, don’t believe the hype and don’t buy in to the norm.

People everywhere today want to fit the mold. Be normal. But what is normal really? Obviously none of us truly know what normal is because we are all different and therefore not one of us can be considered normal.

Success doesn’t come from being like everyone else. From looking like images of what beauty is “supposed” to be, projected on television and movie screens. It comes from feeling like you have accomplished something. That your work was not all for naught. That you have helped others more than you have helped yourself.

That last thing is the most difficult. Being selfish seems like it is the way to get ahead, but little do all those yuppies know that they would be a lot happier and content with themselves if they helped someone less fortunate out once in a while (everyday would actually be nice), rather than just helping themselves.

Let me tell you a little story that hopefully demonstrates my point…

I take the train to work every morning and then I take it back home again after work. Almost every day when I walk back to the train I see this old man who happens to be homeless. He used to hang out in front of a certain coffeehouse that my fianc? worked at, back in the day. This man used to keep the other “bums” away from the front of the coffeehouse and probably saved the establishment many problems. The only thing that he asked for in return was a cup of coffee. He would never beg in front of the coffeehouse and he made sure nobody else begged there either.

This was really good for the coffeehouse. For one measly cup of coffee per night they had, in a sense, a security guard. At least to keep other “vagrants” away from the front of their establishment. I guess that a good thing never lasts though, because eventually the coffeehouse owners became greedy and decided that even that one cup of coffee for free each night was too much to spare and they kicked the man out. They wouldn’t let him stand in front of the coffeehouse at all after that. If they saw him come near, the employees were instructed to get rid of him.

The moral of this story is that greed, in fact, is not good. The coffeehouse had a good thing and they didn’t know it. Or they did know it and didn’t care. Now, however, if you walk by this particular coffeehouse, there are more “bums” than you can imagine, hitting you up for change. Funny, the owners are probably kicking themselves now, but that is the way yuppies operate.

“Take action for myself now and reap the consequences for others later. Only think of me me me.”

So… that story illustrates a little bit of the problem with Buffalo, specifically and America, in general. People say that they want their community to be better, but what do they do to make it happen? Absolutely nothing. They sit on their butts and complain about how horrible the area is, but they don’t try to make any significant changes.

We need to act out. Choose a cause and put your heart and soul into it. For better or worse, you will be practicing a basic right of any human and hopefully helping others in the process.

Here is something to remember about the above story… the next time you run into a “bum”/”vagrant” or whatever term you choose, on the street on your way home from work remember; a majority of those guys and gals are veterans who fought for the freedom and safety that we all take for granted. Isn’t that worth the change in your pocket? If you don’t think so than i suppose you prove the whole point. But, if you do then get out there and DO something to change your community and, in turn, the world!


ponder this – ideas are the best defense against hypocrisy!

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