For Shame




For Shame

For shame!

For shame!

I always thought I was too smart

         to be hooked on stereotypes

         developed by the popular media.

To top it off, my thoughtless behavior led to my lying.

Two evil deeds for the price of one.

That poor, wretched old lady did no more

         than ask you for money

to help pay for bus fare to Woodland.

Instead of saying an honest no,

         I lied and said I had no money.

I had money and I do give to charity.

Where did the thought that

         she would spend it on drugs

         or booze come from?

Was it her disheveled appearance?

Was it her obesity and unattractive appearance?

Was it the color of her skin?

Or was it her poorly fitting and soiled clothing?

Why was it so easy to say that I had no money?

In retrospect she clearly needed bus fare. 

Sitting in my book-lined study

         writing a check to the Food Bank

          or Loaves and Fishes,

I never have to face the recipient.

My study-based charity efforts are safe and clean

          with no pictures of the poor on the wall.

My sterile contact with poverty is a computer-generated check

         signed with a feeling of a deed well done.

Giving is satisfying 

        and I carry around gold-colored dollar coins

        as added tips to waitresses in restaurants.

My stereotype for them is

       that they are college students

       working their way through school.

In all the years of this extra tipping

      and of giving to charity,

      never once did I wonder

      if the money was going for

      drugs or booze.

I have been had by the silent,

        seeping evil of  common perceptions.

This is not good common sense.

For shame this time!

Never again will I not see through

         this convenient blind spot.


Doug Minnis

November 13, 2009









This was just written for myself. No one else need read it for it to have done its best