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September 12, 2007

Worth every penny

Jeremy and I stepped outside for some fresh air last weekend at the Lo-Fi Social Club's reopening party, and this middle-aged guy with a cane walked up to us.

"Are you from Pennsylvania?" he asked me.

"Nah, I'm from Maryland," I said.

Then this guy launched into a his life history, including how he had moved to Scranton and married a fat Italian woman, who made dinner for him.

"She would slice a big loaf of Italian bread, butter it up, and then cut up some cucumbers and ask me, 'Am I gaining weight,'" he said. "AM I GAINING WEIGHT?!?!?!?!"

I figured sooner or later he would ask me for something, and sure enough, after the Italian wife story, he asked for five dollars. I gave him a buck and told him that's all I was going to give him.

"Is that a five?" he asked. "Could you make that a ten?"

"That's a single," I said.

"Oh. One dollar. That might buy me a Snickers bar. I might be diabetic. How about a five?"

I laughed, told him no and thanked him for the story. It was definitely worth a dollar.

Later that night, I walked outside again and he was out there strumming his cane like a guitar and singing Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." Only in Baltimore.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:38 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


You may be kind hearted, but the only reason that people give money to panhandlers is that they are emotionally weak. People do not realize that giving money to panhandlers does not help these individuals, but acts as an enabling mechanism to continue behavior that is counterproductive. Of course, you may not care about that, because your only motivation in giving money is to relieve emotional insecurity you have.

sheesh, insecure or not, until someone comes up with a way to teach these beings to help themselves, then getting santimonious about giving someone a buck for a cup of coffee really doesnt help anything, does it?
i say until then, sam, go ahead and give the man a buck, and feel good that you helped a fellow human being.


You're so right. I almost got mad at you, but I'm too emotionally weak.

I think I'll just mope.


loren, i think most of us would rather be around an emotionally unstable but kind-hearted and giving person than one who judges others motivation for giving money to homeless people... . here's hoping that your "insecurity" level comes up to the level of the rest of us :)

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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