HowTo:Be Homeless in America
Be Homeless in America
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Did some governmental guru just release a 500-page report claiming the latest recession is over? Funny how that doesn't translate too well when your work hours have been cut, your wages have been reduced, and your smelly goat-faced boss is hinting at how you can make a little extra money kneeling behind his desk. Or are you struggling to meet the rising cost of your high-wheeling, crack cocaine lifestyle? Or perhaps you're just worried about the impending arrival of head-hunting extraterrestrials from Uranus?
Whatever hole you've fallen into, does it seem like you'll never be able to crawl out? Well, now you can! There's a very simple method to escape all your debts, financial obligations, angry creditors, collection agencies, double-dealing drug dealers, and hostile space aliens: go homeless! With this handy guide, we'll show you HowTo:Be Homeless in America, and you can learn it all in the comfort of your own home.
What kind of homeless person are you?
The first step to starting your debt-free, carefree lifestyle is learning what type of homeless person you have the potential to become. You may think all homeless people are on the street because of poverty--not true! A 2009 study by the Department of Sociology of the University of California, Sanderson, showed that 50 percent are homeless due to poverty; 50 percent due to alcohol or drug problems; and 50 percent due to mental disorders.
And did you know that many famous people were homeless for at least part of their lives? These include such luminaries as Fargo the Homeless, Madonna, David Letterman, Kelly Clarkson, Jim Morrison, Jesus of Nazareth, and Adolf Hitler. You could be one of them!
This simple, three-question quiz will tell you how to determine what type of homeless candidate you are.
1) When you're at home at night, you suddenly see a bright light through your front window. You believe:
- A. it's the last surge of electricity before they shut down my power because I haven't paid my bills.
- B. it's an agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency here to question me about my pusher.
- C. it's hostile space aliens who've come to eat my brain!
2) I can't buy groceries for the rest of this month because:
- A. prices have shot so high I can't afford them.
- B. there's no money left after I get my daily fix of heroin.
- C. hostile space aliens hiding in the cabbage bin will follow me home to eat my brain!
3) You find a "dime" in the locked metal box hidden in your closet. This is:
- A. what I'm down to my last one of.
- B. a bag containing ten dollar's worth of marijuana.
- C. something that can transform into a hostile space alien to eat my brain!
Now total your score. If you have more A's than anything else, you're a candidate for homeless poverty. If you have more B's, you're a candidate for homeless drug addiction. And if you have more C's, your home is about to be invaded by hostile space aliens who are coming to eat your brain! You'd better escape and run into the street quick!
Where to be homeless
This section applies to all three types of homeless people, poor, drug addicts, and the mentally ill. Even homeless people want to live in a nice place!
Some people think you can be homeless anywhere. Not true! Would you want to be homeless in Nome, Alaska in winter? In Death Valley in summer? Or at any time of the year in New York City? Of course not! And did you know that some cities (Sarasota, Florida) actually have laws that prohibit homeless people from living outside a home?
You want to go where the weather's sunny all year long, where strangers are welcomed, and where the people dress so weirdly nobody will even notice you're homeless. Of course we're talking about Southern California. But not Watts! No, the places you want to be are Venice Beach, San Diego, Beverly Hills, or, anytime other than summer, Palm Springs. Have you seen the valuables people in Palm Springs just throw away? And on spring break, hundreds of partying college students toss away their money and their clothes! Trust us, you want to be homeless where people have money.
Speaking of money, do you know how to make it when you're on the street with no income? Get a job! Surprisingly, about 30 percent of homeless people work. But who can get together enough money at one time for first and last month's rent, security deposit, phone service, electricity, gas, water, the Internet, and your 20 favorite membership-only online porn sites? If you're homeless you can't, so don't even try. But here's some ways how you can make a living on the street.
A surprising number of homeless people make a meager living working at fast food restaurants. You didn't think those fast food workers earned enough to afford a home, did you? Wasn't working for their meager wage the reason you became homeless? This is the best choice for A's (poor homeless).
Are you a female, or a male with a nice bum? If so, you can earn money as a social worker! And if you're a high school girl or younger? Within six hours of hitting the street, you'll be found by a helpful social work supervisor who's just aching for a girl like you. Social services pays better than babysitting, and you won't have to change smelly diapers! Well, not most of the time. And if you're looking for some booze, or even horse or grass or cheese, your supervisor can connect you. This is the best choice for B's (drug addict homeless).
If you don't want to work for someone else and are an entrepreneurial type who wants to be your own boss, consider begging. Can you imagine making hundreds of dollars a day begging? You can? Well, we can imagine being CEO of Disney, but that's not happening either. But if you're delusional enough, you can become a self-employed CEO! This is the best choice for C's (mentally ill homeless).
How can you find a place to live? You don't have a house; you're homeless, remember? But you can easily find or improvise living quarters for yourself.
A Bridge makes a great place to live under. Rent is free, and you're sheltered from both bird droppings and the rain. (Provided, of course, you don't have high winds that blow it in horizontally, and if it doesn't rain enough to flood you out. You didn't really believe it never rains in Southern California, did you?) This is the best choice for A's (poor homeless).
It's not as great for shelter, but a Dumpster can be a wonderful place to live in. When you get the munchies, you won't be begging for garbage to eat; people will throw it at you! You can also find used clothing, shoes, an occasional syringe, and an endless supply of cigarette butts (nobody throws those in a Dumpster, but you'll find dozens on the ground six inches away). This is the best choice for B's (drug addict homeless).
A Cardboard Box won't shelter you much when it rains, but you really believe it never rains in Southern California, don't you? It also has the advantage of being completely portable. Want to pick up and move? Simply pick up and move! And you can imagine your box to be anything you want: a Hollywood mansion, a medieval castle, or even Mariah Carey's boxer shorts. This is the best choice for C's (mentally ill homeless).
There's a worry that strikes soon-to-be homeless of all three types: How can I avoid being the victim of a crime? Don't worry! If you have a four-bedroom home, this year's Ford Mustang, and two dozen credit cards, there are professionals out there just waiting to break in, steal your car and your identity. But who's going to steal from a homeless person? And if they do take your cardboard box, no problem! You can easily find another under a bridge or in a Dumpster. And if you're worried about being sexually molested or raped, don't worry! Would you want to have sex with some dirty, smelly, unshaven street scum? Of course not! People will be afraid of you. They'll back away, turn away, and try to get away from you as quickly as possible. Half the time, they'll look away and pretend you aren't even there. What could be safer?
But what if you're a suspect in a crime and get arrested? Again, no problem! You'll get taken to a clean cell with heating and air conditioning and three square meals a day. True, in some places like the Willacy County Detention Center, you could be forced to live in a tent city where people are fed spoiled food, are sexually abused, and occasionally die from freezing or heat stroke. But you aren't in Texas, are you? You're in Southern California! What could possibly go wrong there?
What if I change my mind?
Surprisingly, some people find that the carefree homeless life is not for them. They may become saturated with too many nights lived under the stars, too many free dinners, and too many people who literally won't give them the time of day. No problem! Returning to a home is easy. Just follow this simple, three-step process and you can be off the streets and back in debt in no time.
First, simply save enough for first and last month's rent, security deposit, phone service, electricity, water, medical needs, and other necessities. It's that simple! And if you haven't earned quite enough from your homeless profession, just return to your old place of employment, and kneel behind your ex-bosses' desk.
Second, fill out an application for an apartment or rented house. All you'll need is the name, address and phone number of your current employer; three current references; and your current phone number and residential address.
Third, realize neither of these is possible, and you'll be homeless for the rest of your life. But don't worry! You won't be homeless for long, because hungry space aliens are coming right now to eat your brain!
So join the fun, and be homeless today!
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- If these percentages seem to indicate a total higher than 100 percent, please remember that this study was performed by the university's Sociology Department, not by the Math Department.
- If you have an equal number of A's, B's and C's, please take the quiz again, only this time pay attention. Official government statistics have shown it's impossible to have more than one reason to become homeless.
- Because two Sarasota anti-lodging laws were tossed out as unconstitutional, they made another law banning living outdoors if the person “has no other place to live.” Those lawmakers are so funny!
- Stay away from shelters. These are full of smelly, icky, impoverished, mentally ill drug addicts.
- This is only a simulation. If you know either of these people, please do not take offense. And do not call our lawyers. They aren't home right now. And they won't be home for a long, long time.
- According to Fargo the Homeless, many people turn away when he asks them what time it is. So time is one less thing you'll have to worry about!
- Space alien brain eating is not guaranteed. Absolutely no refunds.
- A Dream Fulfilled: The Celebration of Homelessness in U.S. Cities, National Coalition for Homelessness
- Promoting Homelessness in America, University of Richmond. (2003)
- Same River Twice: The Wonders of Mental Illness, Fargo the Homeless and Wandering John, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (1999).
- StreetConnect, Comprehensive resource site for locating homeless youth for the purpose of supervised employment
- PBS, Homeless at Last!, "Topic: What will most help people escape the home-bound fabric of society?" (February 2, 2007)
- National Policy and Advocacy Council for Homelessness, American council for promoting homelessness
- FirstStep Guide to getting help to become homeless, Guide by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of UnHousing and Urban Underdevelopment, and Substance Abuse Promotion and Mental Health Reduction Services Administration