the truth will set you free

With the economy in the crapper, it seems like the subway platforms here in the city are getting more and more crowded with people singing and playing instruments for money.

This strategy is a flawed one of course, because 1) No one who sings in the subway is good and 2) Because they sound like cats dying, no one feels compelled to give them any money.

There are the few people that are so mad they actually give them money in hopes that this will make them stop singing, but this never works.

I don’t understand why the subway panhandlers don’t just change their overall strategy altogether.

What they need to do is offer people that pass by random tips about life – that taken separately will be entirely vague, but in the end make sense in some way to each person that hears them.

Here are some phrases that the beggars could offer up which would inevitably strike a chord with someone:

“That guy just didn’t get the joke.  It wasn’t that it wasn’t funny – it was just too smart.”

“It’s okay – I like Keith Urban too.”

“Her sister is annoying.”

I thought that shirt looked great.”

“Maybe next time you’ll drink even more – that’ll show them.”

“What were you supposed to do?  Not touch her boob?”

The list of things they could say is practically never ending.  They just need to utter some sparadoc thought, wait for someone to identify with it, and reap the rewards.

I’m holding out though, because until I hear someone say, “Your blog is going to make you rich and famous and Michael Jackson is writing a comeback album all about it that in no way could be interpreted as him liking to touch little boys,” no one is getting my 37 cents.


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41 responses to “the truth will set you free

  1. I’m first again! FIIIIRRRRST.

    Your life will only be downhill from here.

  2. deutlich

    I just can’t handle the smell of the subways – so there’s no way in hell I’m going to stand there for very long listenin’ to someone peddle for cash.

    Sometimes you have no choice though.

  3. I actually enjoy the buskers in NYC. It’s a nice change of pace compared to the boring hum of the Metro in DC.

    Grass is greener I suppose.

  4. Wait…do I owe you money for reading those?


  5. ‘She did steal your pen when you weren’t looking’

    Now where’s my 25 cents?

    I’m emailing it to you.

  6. longredcape

    I KNEW I wasn’t the only one who liked Keith Urban.

    Just you and several poor people.

  7. jay grochalski

    you know, i never mind the subway singers. it’s the preachers on the train that i want to kick in the face and spit on. it’s always the god folk.

    Yeah, they are pretty bad.

  8. We’ve got a guy that shows up on the center of campus every Wednesday at 9:30, playing his guitar and screeching across the plaza in the most horrible voice I’d ever heard. I tried to give him money one time in the hopes that yes, he would stop singing. Instead he refused my money, saying he was doing it for the love of the art. I’d give anything for him to start doling out advice.

    You should punch that guy.

  9. Shit, I heard a homeless guy on the train say all those things yesterday, but I thought he was just talking to The Voices again. Didn’t realize I was supposed to toss him a quarter.

    And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

  10. London Underground has some killer buskers. Jingle Bells on clarinet at one station, and then getting off at another where someone was playing Eleanor Rigby on violin. Perfect. Just ignore the fact that you feel dirty after only being down there for five minutes.

    I’m taking your word for it that Rigby is bad.

  11. Forget the beggars. You should compile these nuggets into your own book and get it published.

    Advice that everybody needs but didn’t know they wanted.

    I’ll be famous in no time.

  12. 37 cents? Okay Richie Rich.

    On pay days it’s 68 cents.

  13. Ben

    Random strangers offering random life commentaries to other strangers who may at one point become enamored with their opinions?

    I think you just described blogging.

    And can we quit it with the ‘first’ thing? Or is that just my pet peeve?

    That’s true, that is blogging. I don’t mind the first thing, I’m just happy people read. And I think most of the time people are doing it as a joke.

  14. See, I always thought they should dance instead of sing. I would much rather watch a creative dance performance than some dude with a guitar.

    But I like your idea too.

    Oh they dance too, just come and visit.

  15. I am with Arjewtino–occasionally there will be Subway performers at my stop on metro and I kind of like it. Of course, they don’t get my money, but still…

    It’s the thought that counts.

  16. I’m with you on this one. Come up with something that makes me laugh or strikes a chord and I’m down. Unless I find out that you’re scamming me and just reading fortune cookie fortunes. We all remember how well I handle subway trickery. I steal your speech and make more money than you…

    You’re ruthless.

  17. I think I’m a slight agoraphobe because i hate subways. Dirty people rubbingup against me. Eww. Funny enough camping, rock climbing and getting sweety disgusting is okay, but other people touching me in a subway bugs me.

    I see where you’re coming from though, it is just your sweat, which is a lot less nasty than Hairy Dudes.

  18. Mmm…the things I’d do in a NYC subway for a whole .37 cents.


  19. Eric

    I once had a homeless offer to kick a little freestyle rap for us if we gave him a dollar. I was pretty intrigued so I bit. The rap was pretty solid, even if it was mostly about how my scarf made me look gay.

    Hahaha – that guy had some balls.

  20. Brilliant. Urban fortune tellers, they could be organize and be a union, or a gang.

    Gang first, of course.

  21. god, her sister is effing annoying. you’re right!


  22. What about sprinkling glitter everywhere too. And then offer up words of wisdom. It would make it all so pretty.

    I like glitter.

    I see that.

  23. I would totally pay .37 cents to touch a boob even if her sister was annoying and liked Keith Urban.

    Me too.

  24. Matt

    If I were a beggar I would try to teach people stuff for money…

    Like how to tightroll your pants…

    How to drink a 40 in less than 2 minutes…

    How to stay alive in cold weather.

    Something like that. People pay good money to learn things.

    You’d be rich in no time. Especially with the 40 bit.

  25. S

    37 cents! Balla!

    Now all you gotta do is get famous.

    Baby steps.

  26. You know what else is effective? Threats. That and waving a semi in someone’s face. Makes me applaud and hand over my wallet every time.

    Those are some good tactics.

  27. I WISH MJ would make a comeback album and it would be as good as Thriller. Seriously. That would rock.

    “Your yoga instructor stares at your ass when you do the downward facing dog pose.”

    Do people not look at asses when they do that pose?

  28. Ironic first! Because I wait until my lunch hour to read blogs, and yours was the first one I got to today. I will never be first. And of that I am proud.

    Oh, and I always like the bongo guys, but not the kids who breakdance in the car between 125th and 59th St. If I have to move my bag for you to earn money, you’re not getting anything from me. And don’t interrupt my nap by hitting the ceiling of the car as you flip. Sheesh.

    -It’s been 3 years since I lived in NYC, and that still bugs me. I think I need to move on.


  29. ken

    i’d give people money so that i can take their picture.

    basically turning the homeless and/or destitute into models.

    That would actually work, I think.

  30. there was a greek dad type dude that i knew randomly from living downtown. he has a house, a car and a job.

    one night i was leaving a cavs game and he was out there panhandling. i looked at him and he was like, so what?

    and people walking by were just handing him money and change.

    which is why i don’t give bums money – they are smarter than you think!

    Wow – that guy has no pride, does he?

  31. If you give them money, technically, you’re a patron of the arts.

    I love art.

  32. rs27awesome

    37 cents? I hope they’re all in nickels and pennies because I aint giving up a quarter. Those things are gold!

    Gold Jerry! Gold!

  33. RB

    I had a friend that made a couple hundred dollars a month playing Jazz trumpet in Subways. Ok, he wasn’t really a “friend.” I guess maybe he was lying.

    I think he probably was. No one likes jazz that much.

  34. Kyle Stack

    My first comment on here, so I better make it good. I miss you and I read this as a means of channeling you, through your blog. I think we should get an apartment together.

    Gimme your email!

  35. Tell me Kyle is a good friend of yours, otherwise I think you’ve found your #1 fan.

    I wish I could say he wasn’t a friend, and I had finally found my #1 fan, but alas, I have not.

  36. Is this your way of telling us you want each of us to send you 37 cents to keep blogging???



  37. I’d love for someone to tell me “it *was* your fault.”

    Only I would know what they were talking about, but I would tell you it involves someone I hate, wishing ill on them, and bad things happening to them shortly after said wish.

    Then I would feel magical.

    Which is how Jesus feels.

  38. You should go to my country- people sing in buses. And they stand next to you singing at the top of their lungs, and if you don’t give them money they sing even louder while giving you an ugly stare. I miss my country.

  39. Fussy

    Living in Vegas, we don’t have subways so our performing artists (aka older over weight strippers) have to perform on the street. Luckly most street corners are equipped with thier very own built in stripper pole that the general public refers to as “steet signs.”

  40. the more performers there, the harder it is to decide who to give money to.

  41. I never know what to do with those guys. Is it okay to just stare at the floor?

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