The man at the curb

A man stands at the curb in front of your house. His beard is too long; his skin is too tanned, starting to wrinkle like a crumpled piece of paper; his hands look sticky from beer spilled from crushed cans; his nails are black. The man bends down and digs through your recycling bin, retrieving a wine bottle and adding it to the precarious pile growing in his shopping cart. Passing dog-walkers are careful not to look at him. Passing motorists show frustration that his cart is on the road.

What separates you from the man at the curb? Is it a series of poor life decisions, or a series of unfortunate events?  What if you had been abused as a child, and hadn’t dealt with those demons? What if you were genetically inclined to alcohol addiction? What if you had your leg crushed in a car accident? What if your job was downsized? What if your Employment Insurance ran out? What if you yelled at your spouse and they left with the kids? What if your depression went unmanaged and you couldn’t escape the dark place? What if your home was foreclosed, your car was impounded, your family became ashamed of you?

The man at the curb is just like me, but not as lucky.


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