Jim Baxter on Talented Beggars

(Here is another guest post from Jim Baxter. His stories make a good antidote to my plodding stuff WW)

The story of how the golden-voiced beggar Ted Williams was rediscovered as golden-voiced reminds us all of what to select as the best strategy for begging. Let’s face it, we’ve all known it might be coming and it’s close enough to the truth.
The thing is, the thing to consider is, when have you yourself been most likely to shell out? I’ve been thinking about this because it could happen to me at any time and not before time.
The most I ever shelled out was to an emaciated guy propped up on a street post on Sixth Avenue in lower Manhattan. His pitch was not unique but it was delivered professionally with a beaming grin: ‘Hey man, I’m trying to get to Hawaii but I’m about fifty thousand dollars short’.
This was late 1997. As I gave him his dollar (it was never mine) he asked me, ‘So, what did you think of the funeral?’ I said, ‘What funeral?’ He said, ‘Beam me up Scotty, there aint no intelligent life down here’.
And that’s the point. Never indulge talented beggars. Give your spare change if you want to to those who whine through their noses. Ignore  the likes of  the beggar on the  O’Connell Bridge. They can sink or swim.
Hat-tip to Ray Bradbury


Wrinkled Weasel said...

As an ex Radio broadcaster who has fallen on hard times, I tend to have a bit of sympathy with Mr Williams.

Brian said...

There was an African "beggar", you could tell by his accent, on the ramp entrance to the station from New Street in Birmingham. He stood in front of me and asked if I had any spare change for him. I looked him square in the eye, smiled broadly, and then said "I'm ter'bly sorry, Old Chap, but I don't speak a word of English." Cue actual catoon doubletake expression from the bewildered mendicant as I walked past. I had outsmarted a beggar for once. The train was late and I had to stand.

Jim Baxter said...


I'm glad that worked for you. It didn't work for me. I was in Berlin not far from what is left the Kaiser Wilhelm bombed-out church. I had just seen Herr Dr Reubers's Madonna and was in comtemplative mood. A chap in a high-powered (probably BMW) wheel chair approached on the K-Dahm and asked, in German, for money. I answered. 'no' in what passes for English whan I answer people. He then re-asked in perfect English.

I paid up. Sometimes your are just beaten.

Brian said...

I hope Mr Williams isn't discouraged by this. Has he auditioned as Obama's double yet?