TOUCHMEDONOTTOUCHMEIAMALIVE

Friday, November 6, 1970

Fig. 031

They've come out with this new sort of bubble-gum. It has no sugar in it, but is still sweet. Supposed to be healthier or something. So I was talking to the owner of the company that is selling it and he starts telling me this whacked out story of some group of musicians that live on the streets in cardboard houses. Reminded me of Gypsies. So I go down to check out this "city" of cardboard houses, but it's no longer there. They seemed to have picked up and moved on. One box left behind, with this scribbled onto it...

I was unaware that it would end at this. The woman saved my life. I wouldn't have known it at the time. Her fucked up sob story. Laid off is such a bullshit term sometimes. No one seems to get fired when you're a case worker. Everyone is laid off. So she was "laid off". After all was said and done it turned out she had been caught fucking a random man in the back office of the gas station she was managing. She was a prostitute on the side. At least she had a babysitter. I can't really condemn her. I'm just glad I didn't know that then. So she tells me how she can't afford food. Her four-year old is staring at me intently the entire time. The damn kid must have been trained. The sixteen-month old is surprisingly quiet. All this, and she "makes too much money." Eight years as a God damned case worker and I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've seen that. What the fuck is too much money? I hated it. I still hate it. It pisses me off to think of how many people a day see it. So I look at the little girl, and I have no idea what to do. I can't do this to another family, right? This has to be where I break. So I did what I thought was right. For the first time I did what I got into social work for. I helped someone in real need. I gave the woman enough food stamps to last her at least a year. Longer if she stretched it. A week later I called her up and informed her that she had a check of two-thousand-twenty-six dollars and thirteen cents. I emptied my bank account for her. I feel it doesn't really need to be stated that I lost my job. So I took my cello to the streets. That's when I met the Cardboard House Collective. I like it here. And I helped someone. Karma could never have made so little sense. Karma could never have made so much sense.