Cigarettes, the Homeless and Grassroots Activism: My Occupy Dallas Adventure

Cigarettes, the Homeless and Grassroots Activism: My Occupy Dallas Adventure

New Dallas, Old Camera :(

This is a short bit from my Occupy Dallas essay. Entire thing coming… Maybe?

Long story short: a homeless man was perched on the corner of Young and Griffin, acting as our mascot. I offered to buy him a pack of smokes after he asked for his fifth. “Yeah, and make sure they’re fucking’ mentholated.” he snarled. A bit rude, I thought, but whatever. Lucky dog, they’re out, so I get half a pack of Parliaments for him ($5, balllaaaa). He snatched them from my hands, spits one out, and yells “THESE ARE NOT MENTHOLATED! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO AS A MARINE? HUH?!” Typical GA crowd- twenty onlookers, one guy backing me up (thanks Oscar). LONG STORY SHORT, he backed me to the curb, threatening to punch. It was surreal.

Jumping up, he bellowed “I’m a fucking Marine, goddamnit!” Dave got a closer, one drunken stumble after another. “You wanna get your ass beat!?” he asked loudly, putting up his hands and taking a fighting stance. Well fuck, I’ll be “That Guy” on the news, over a pack of fucking cigarettes I gave him. I thought this was still some kind of weird joke. Fuck.

Once he was about two feet away from my face, I spread my arms akimbo and said again loudly “Look dude, I don’t want anything, just leave me the fuck alone, Jesus Christ!” at which point the red and blue flicker of a squad car reared backwards into my peripheral. Parks jumped between us, bucking me back with his shoulders and standing there as Dave yelled at me over his shoulder.

The officer, a large black man, looked none too happy to see Dave. “What’s going on?” he asked authoritatively. Parks stuttered out “oh it’s fine, just a thing Jarcy and my brother disagreed on. Nothing! No biggie!”

Your brother? I asked myself silently. Did you not just see what the shit just happened right the fuck here?! Fortunately, the cop recognized Dave and upon coming over to talk to him, Dave decided to jerk his arm and yell “I ain’t goin’ anywhere with you fucking nigger bitchfuckass…” This resulted in a painful walk (for Dave, certainly not for the large African-American police officer he was screaming slurs at) across the street. The cop came back by, assured us he was gone after taking a brief statement, and left.

420 something or other?

That’s right, this meme. Some dudes really embody him. He is legend.

I sat there for a moment with my friend pondering what had transpired. Suddenly appeared Parks, scowling and making his best business strut as loud as his outfit. Along behind him walked another occupant, one who had been running the food tent. “You know they’re selling your shit down at the West End, right?” he asked nonchalantly.

What.

I was dumbfounded as he explained how bums were coming by at night and stealing supplies only to resell them a couple of blocks away. The crowd grew in size and interest, the news of theft making blood boil.

Parks responded with a stoic “if they had to take it, they needed it more than we did. You need to get over that. They are homeless, and they need shelter just like us.” The words bounced around my head in disbelief. What is this guy trying to say? I thought to myself. 1% of our occupants are stealing from the other 99% purely and explicitly for their own good, and we’re not only going to allow it but encourage it? Isn’t that the reason we’re here?

At this point things got boring, so I’ll spare you the text. My point is this: how can we possibly enpect to operate autonomously if we can’t police ourselves? We are not only tolerating classism, we are encouraging it- and by we I mean you and I, the people who are said to dictate this very matter. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Once we let Parks, Captain Morgan and crew take over as the de facto heads-of-state, we let ourselves become another division of 99% underclass.

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Posted on October 22, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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