Monday, June 23, 2008


What is it that keeps me believing in happy endings? Maybe it's the same thing that makes me try to pull open the doors when I leave Deschutes, even though my brain knows that you have to push. It's the contradictory chasm between the way things are and the way we believe they should be.

I know that fairytales are only expertly spun works of fiction which are told from the p.o.v. of the winner, but I get absorbed in their pledges and promises anyway. My heart goes out to the underdog and I assume that everyone else feels what I feel and sees what I see when it comes to those who are fighting for a cause or struggling to get through the day. Take this picture for example. I drove passed this man today, let's call him Carl. Carl, like many other homeless and unemployed people of Eugene, chose a spot on the street-corner in an attempt to grab the attention of charitable soles dashing by. Carl, however, had no sign. Now, this isn't to say that he wasn't trying very hard or that he was just sitting there. Infact, he was standing on that corner with his arms up, firmly gripping a non-existant hunk of cardboard. At first, I was in disbelief. Had I actually seen what I thought I had? As I got closer, I could see that he really didn't have anything in his hands, which made me chuckle.

I'll be the first to admit that it's not hard to make me giggle...but it's much more difficult to grab my attention or get my mind fixated on something. Carl accomplished that. I contemplated the meaning of his missing poster. Perhaps he hadn't found the materials to create a sign, but was out there anyway, despite lacking a somewhat necessary tool. Maybe he was making a statement about how broke he was, or an environmental statement about saving trees. In any case, it impressed me that he was standing out from the rest of his peers.

After my errand, I drove back to that corner and pulled into a parking lot. I reached down and grabbed the bag of snacks that I keep in the car for when my children get out of school. Offering in hand, I told him that I thought he was very clever and he told me that he felt very stupid. Circumstances could knock any of us down at any time and while some may retreat within themselves and whither away, others will fight with every ounce of wit and will that they posess, just to get a good meal. Does this mean that some day his fairytale will end with him having a great job and cozy family of his own? Is that even the ending that he wants? I don't know. What I do know, is that even though Carl had no sign, it doesn't mean that he had no message.

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