The Karmic Challenge: Week 23, Helping the Homeless Get High

THE CHALLENGE. A man (Captain Savage).  A woman (Rose). A quest. To earn enough karmic points by Christmas to be reincarnated as Something Nice.  And buy a new cardboard box to live in?

Not long ago there was a national Homeless Awareness Day, and the CEOs of major corporations put their hands up to spend a night out on the street sleeping rough.  Here is one.  For my money, Prince William is prettier.


Well, it had an effect.  On me.  Yesterday I went down to my local shops and there was a nice looking homeless guy sitting outside with a badly spelled sign and an icecream bucket.  So I stopped and asked him how this had come to pass.  While he was telling me, a punk-haired woman came striding up with half a roast chicken and a bag of fruit, which the homeless guy gratefully accepted.

Anyway, the homeless man, who had an engaging grin and rather good teeth, said that he’d come up from Orange (a rural town about 4 hours away) when the floods had done away with his agricultural job, and now had to wait several weeks till his unemployment check came through.  It was, he said, $39 a day to sleep in the Backpackers’ Hostel, and all the usual homeless shelters were full.  He was very polite.

So, remembering the sacrifice of the CEOs, I pulled out my wallet and gave him $20.  That, together with the coins he already had, should have been enough to get into the Backpackers (and if he needed a drink or a smoke as well, he could probably just breathe it in from the UK tourists sharing his dorm room).

On the way home, I had a sense of deja vu.  Hadn’t I talked some months ago to some other homeless man who also had come up from Orange, driven forth by floods, and had to put up at the Backpackers?  Or was it just one of my many genuinely mysterious memory flips?  I have those all the time.  Apparently earthworms have no memory, and if you send them up a tunnel with a nasty shock at the end of it, they keep bumping up against the shock thing hundreds of times until finally something clicks and they think, umm, haven’t I been here before? Well, I’m like that.


I’ll never know.  But here’s the thing.  If he really was homeless, he got a night at the hostel.  Probably a sleepless one, given the usual hilarity of UK tourists.  Who are apparently rooting their way around Australia spreading STDs like confetti.  If he was saving  up for a beer or a hit, I guess he got that instead – and maybe decided not to climb in someone’s kitchen window that night.  If he scored and ended up dead in a toilet, that’s unfortunate, but I’m not my brother’s keeper.


I’m his do-gooder, that’s completely different, even if the result is the same.


  1. That’s what I figure. If you’re gonna give money to a homeless guy, nothing they are going to do with it would be much worse than anything I was going to do with it, so let the poor bastard enjoy how ever he sees fit!

  2. I remember back when I was young and naive minded, We would buy those Mc Donalds coupon books(not sure if they were big over there) that had free this and that and hand them out to the homeless. What else could they do but go get a burger or fries lol

    1. Actually that makes a lot of sense. This is the first homeless person I’ve seen for months, though (because I don’t go to the centre of town any more much, partly, seeing as I don’t work there).

  3. You are my favorite do good person. I like the “small change” approach to life. Mob anger and political angst seems like lost steam!

    You do things! Real chane. Maybe yippie homeless man helped out one of his buddies. You sure seem like your brothers keeper … At the aid of your fellow man. As for possession of that person, they must live within their own humanity. The choices are theirs to make once you’ve shown them compassion. xx

      1. Actually upon re-reading the “chane vs. change” and the you vs. yippie …we may be onto something. JEALOUS of such good teeth EG.

      2. Tooth bad. Being extracted next Thursday. 3 procedures, 3 months, 3 consults … and now i’m out of strikes. Gone. Getting reimbursed for the root canal … gee. I take fosomax which makes it dangerous to touch the bone in the jaw. Have to get OK from medical doctor to have tooth extracted. But, that is life … and i have wonderful things in my life as well. Thanks for asking … i bet you didn’t think i’d respond. SILLY 😉 xo

  4. Unless you have good reason to think he’s going to do something horrible with the money, you are wonderful for giving it to him!

    So how many points are you up to?
    And will the Dalai Lama be validating your parking at the end?

  5. I once encountered a man with his dog, claiming to be homeless. I tend to stop and chat to people and, when it was quiet enough, he confided to me that he had a council place and was in receipt of Jobseekers, but he begged on the streets to feed his beloved dog, who he just couldn’t bear to part with. I was in the straits myself at the time, or I’d have gone into the supermarket he was sat outside and bought a whole crate of his dog’s preferred canned food. It sickens me that my British Government can force people to their knees like this, when their situation might not be their fault.

    Instead of money I’ve always donated hot drinks, hot food, blankets if I have any spare and cigarettes when I used to smoke. I can never just walk by.

    Oddly though, my home town is full of homeless people on the street, but where I live with my husband you don’t see them. I don’t know why that is, because we know they’re out there – but if I don’t see them I can’t help 😦

    1. Yeah there’s plenty of homeless people here too, and I know requests for shelter are refused, because where I work I read the refusal stats (refused because the shelters are full, that is). But I don’t see the homeless either much, where I am. If I had a garage, maybe I’d offer it (oh that seems SO generous!!ha ha). That’s so sad about the dog. Pension payments (all kinds) are not keeping up with inflation here either, I think it’s very difficult to live on them. And yet there are people who say ‘make them even lower’!

      1. We’re going through similar benefit cuts here too – and it’s us disabled folk and the elderly that are being hit hardest because of genuine benefit spongers making us look as though we’re just like them! I have epilepsy and could have a seizure at any time; my balance is off so I can’t leave the house without a stick. I can’t work and I’ve even been *told* I can’t work – and there are people with far more dibilitating disabilities than mine who are being forced into jobs that they’re not well enough to do. The homeless suffer badly here too, struggling to get housing. My ex-husband made me homeless seven years ago; the council wouldn’t help me so I went sofa-surfing across the country for a couple of years until I met my husband of today.

  6. Sometimes I give to the homeless and sometimes I don’t. I’ve seen a few scammers..this one kid stashed his bike in the bushes and then hobbled around on a crutch (I had saw him biking with the crutch and legs worked just fine) I gave some change to a man one day who said he ran out of gas and then approached me the very next day with a ran out of gas story and this time his little girl was waiting down the street in the truck for him. (he had forgotten he had hit me up for money the day before) Then I gave some money to this one old man who was digging around in a trash dumpster and he had a dog…the dog really got to me…so either way, I guess you just don’t know sometimes – but I think you are very kind and selfless to help him!

    1. You have such an interesting life! or maybe, such an interesting way of observing it. Maybe the homeless should all try to borrow dogs, I know it makes me more sympathetic. I guess if you can get, I don’t know, $50-$100 by sitting around with a bucket, you might want to do that (but it seems a boring way to earn not that much). I agree though, there are lots of scammers no doubt, and then people who have bad habits, and so on. Our richest woman (well actually I think she’s the world’s, Gina Reinhardt) says the poor should just get off their bums and work harder, instead of complaining..good old Gina!

  7. That was an enjoyable read, fair play to you. My sister once offered a homeless bloke some bananas as she won’t give them money and he told her to f*** off 😉

  8. You can never tell whether they are genune or not. I got told off for giving a kid 50 pence to get home after he said he’d been mugged. Begging is humiliating and you have to be desperate to do it. I think most of them are genuine, but if not, what have you lost?

  9. Why is that beach all fenced off? Do you have to pay to go to the beach in Australia?
    Some homeless here are fine; some are scammers who make $250 a day and sleep in motels. One committed suicide by running in front of interstate traffic naked and getting run over by a drunk driver at 6 in the morning! (He meant to die, apparently; he handed his cell phone to another transient guy and told him all his family could be found in the phone, then took his clothes off and ran in front of traffic.)

    1. no it’s to stop the drunk British from falling onto the hot sand by accident and hurting themselves. (actually, I have no idea – last time I went to Bondi it wasn’t fenced. Maybe it’s a really forceful way to say ‘swim between the flags please’?) That’s interesting (and sad) about the naked homeless suicide guy. Makes you think though, if you were going to do it, what would be the most fun way? Naked in front of traffic isn’t my idea of fun death..maybe skydiving without a parachute?


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