I was walking over toward Chipotle the other day, trying to get my daily calorie intake in one meal to maximize my time and be as efficient as possible.
Outside, I saw a hobo who just looked like the Websterâ€™s definition of pitiful and morbid. I knew I had a couple $1 bills somewhere in my wallet, among the various larger bills that were stacked in there. Actually, I only had $2, but I still wanted to give him what I had. I pulled out my wallet and let the dollars flutter down gracefully into his makeshift box made of cardboard and newspaper.
I turned back on route to my dinner, satisfied that I had done my one good deed for the day when he uttered, â€œIs that really all you got?â€ I may have been hungry, but Iâ€™m never too starved not to argue with a guy on the street, crazy or not. â€œYeah man, sorry. Thatâ€™s all I got.â€
â€œWell, I guess thank you,â€ he replied. I looked at him, but rather than feeling sorry for him, I thought about snatching my two dollars back and saying, â€œNext time, be happy with what you got, you ungrateful bastard.â€
Instead, I asked him if I should run to the ATM and grab a couple twenties for him as sincerely as I could. His eyes shot up from his box â€“â€“ which I realized had more money than I had used for food this week. â€œYeah, would you?â€ His solemn disposition was gone, and greed now infested his face.
â€œNo, you have to be kidding me. You have enough money for 10 of the meals Iâ€™m about to have, and all youâ€™ve done today is sit and think about how terrible your life is. If you want more money, go make some.â€
Perhaps I took a little of my anger out on this innocent bystander whose life â€“ letâ€™s face it â€“ sucks compared to mine. But the sense of entitlement in this country has gotten a little out of hand, where even drifters expect more charity for their noble efforts toward doing nothing.
I work my ass off in school and do my best not to take shortcuts with the work Iâ€™m given. I do all my reading and go to all my classes Monday through Friday.
I expect to get what I put in, and thatâ€™s it. Thatâ€™s not the mindset I see with everyone else, though. It sort of leaves me worried about what will happen to some of the people in the rest of my class, whoâ€™ve grown fat off the idea that they will be provided for by pretending to follow the steps that theyâ€™re assigned to do.
There is always an easy way out. I realize that. I was once diagnosed with being terminally lazy, which I thought was wonderful, since I would be resourceful in finding the easiest way to coast through life.
From time to time, thatâ€™s perfectly alright. Friday nights have seen a recurrence of drinking beer on my porch, listening to songs about trucks and women with big butts â€“â€“ weather permitting. Itâ€™s nice to breathe and just enjoy the time that Iâ€™m allowed to relax and think about how damn good life is.
Iâ€™m not here to speculate that everyone is lazy or not doing what they are supposed to. It seems like there is an expectation that frivolous things should fall from trees and rain down us all.
I donâ€™t think this entitlement is anyoneâ€™s fault. We were bred to have it. In order to sit through â€œNinja Turtlesâ€ in the morning when I was five, I had to watch 10 minutes of commercials. After, I ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch â€“â€“ which I had to have because I had watched the commercial beforehand.
I did this subconsciously because I didnâ€™t really see the tie between ninjas who were turtles and super sugary sweet cereal. The same could be said for a few individuals in college, who hear all their lives that if they go to college, everything will be alright.
But going through the motions â€“â€“ without any reason to follow through because itâ€™s whatâ€™s expected and what is considered â€œsafeâ€ â€“â€“ doesnâ€™t get anyone anywhere.
I just see a lot of disinterested students who are not engaged by whatâ€™s in front of them. That seems like a giant waste of time since youâ€™re taking up a space someone may appreciate.
_Adam Suriel-Gestwicki is a junior English major. His column appears every other Friday in the Collegian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _