Saturday, March 11, 2006

BumGear - What America is all About

Have you ever been walking down the street and had a foul smelling, poorly dressed, unshaven individual ask you for money? If you answered, “No,” you are either reading this blog from a communist country or you have never been to a city with a population over 12. Bums are everywhere. Even nice, clean cut cities like Vancouver and Salt Lake have bums. Hell, there were even bums in Orange County, and I’m not talking about the trust-fund-surfer-cokehead variety that populate the Balboa Peninsula. No, I’m talking about the T-Bird guzzling, no teeth having, puddle-of-your-own urine sleeping bums. And thanks to our year-round sunshine, Miami has become a Mecca for them.

Bums tend to like to fuck up my nights. Bums have harassed my dates. Bums have broken into my car. Bums have pounded on my window as I was trying to do a line of cocaine off my center console. Can’t a guy do some fucking blow in peace without you demanding to “Give me some of that sweet stuff???” Jesus. Anyway, because bums, and more specifically Coconut Grove Bums, piss me off so much, I refuse to give them money. But I have a heart, I really do. And because I do not look down on the outdoor human inhabitants of the city of Miami, I have found a new way to make them feel better about themselves while at the same time getting them to leave me the fuck alone. It is called BumGear.

No, not B.U.M. Equipment that was so popular among the “Overweight-and-at-the-gym” set in the late 80’s, but BumGear, clothing worn by actual, real-live Dade County Bums. I have a box in my apartment full of such lovely items as a red MetRx t-Shirt, a blue mesh hat with the “The Captain” embroidered in gold across the front, and – the crown jewel – a black linen shirt from esteemed BumGear designer “Johnny Handsome,” that have all been procured from the homeless of Coconut Grove. I know, I know, you are just chomping at the bit to find out how you too can get some of these high-fashion items, aren’t you? Well, as a public service to my readers, I will now explain how to procure your very own line of BumGear:

A bum approaches you on the street. You are most likely at least four or five pitchers into the night and probably stumbling back to your car/getting a cslice of pizza/makinh out with a fat girl. Sometimes all three at once. You tell them “Sorry, I’m not going to GIVE you anything. But I will pay you $3 for your shirt.” I have never, ever been turned down. Occasionally they will negotiate a higher price, and sometimes I’ll take it. But I always get the shirt. Inevitably, after said bum gives you his shirt and you hand him the cash, he says, “Okay, man, lemme have my shirt back.” To which I reply “I’m sorry. That was a business transaction. This is now my shirt, and that is now your three dollars. You may spend it on food. You may spend it on crack, you may spend it on malt liquor. You may even invest it in the stock market. But I am keeping the shirt.” I have been followed blocks by bums begging for their clothes back, but usually as soon as I pass a convenience store that sells Steel Reserve in a 32 oz. bottle they forget I even exist.

A girlfriend of a friend of mine was visiting form Cincinnati a few months ago and witnessed a BumGear purchase. She was absolutely mortified that I would do such a thing to a poor homeless man and demanded I give the shirt back. Her boyfriend, being the spineless twit that he was, demanded repayment of the three bucks he’d lent me for BumGear, and so I was forced to sell it back. But this still leaves me with a question: Why was she so mortified? It’s not like I was stealing his clothes. Dare I say I probably paid a markup. Really, what do you think the fair market value of a chigger-and-sweat covered black T-shirt is these days? Should I check on eBay? It’s Miami, for Christ’s sake, it’s not like they’re going to freeze.

When I give currency to a bum in exchange for a good, it makes us equals. We both gave up something in order to get something in return. I am not paying someone to degrade himself like those fine individuals who created Bumfights. Nor am I exploiting the bum, because, as I said, I am overpaying. Had simply given him money, it would have put me in a position where I would feel I were better than him. Here, take some money, you need it more than me. How condescending. How arrogant. How dare YOU call ME an asshole when you are the one putting yourself on a level above a bum! You, sir, obviously do not understand the inherent justice and equality involved in a fair business transaction. When it comes to BumGear, if only for that brief instant, the cracker and the crackhead are equals. And isn’t that what America is all about?

10 Comments:

At 6:39 PM, Blogger angel, jr. said...

That stuff will definitely sell on eBay.

 
At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

I witnessed a Bum Gear purchase. It was good times, got a hat and shirt, didn't want to touch them, and like I said, it was good times.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Tara said...

The first thing I thought of was the movie "Zoolander" and the new fashion campaign "Derelict". He shows up on the runway with someting that looks like a cape filled with trash. :)

 
At 12:20 PM, Blogger Ashburnite said...

I'm jealous of the blue mesh "The Captain" hat. I want one.

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger Tara said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Tara said...

By the way, Happy White Dade Appreciation Day!

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Angel - I have thought of tha sooo many times you wouldn't believe it. Like complete with photo and certificate of authenticity.

Joe - You really should have taken some home as a souvenier

Tara - Thanks for the Holiday. Funny how my server broketoday, too.

Ash - Make me an offer.

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger Maulleigh said...

Ick. I live in Bumville (Haight street area in SF) and the bums here could beat up the Florida bums in a street fight anyway: or their clothing could. How could you touch that shit? DISGUSTING!!

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Maulleigh - Hmmm. Perhaps Miami-SF Bumfights Roayal Rumbe on Pay-per-view? Yes. I like how you think.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger jenjen said...

I put money on the SF bums. That black bum in green fatigues and grey dreadlocks located at Divisadero lingering between Lombard and Chestnut. He may be hanging near the water, but he's a bad mother fucker.

 

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