Two conversations from two very different places

I was looking in a very swanky art gallery this morning the sort of place you are supposed to buy the stuff. I have a wide ranging conversation with the manager about art which is for another time but he says that in divorce 50% of everything is a lot.
Latter in the day as I come out of the local store there is a man, always black, holding an empty paper cup and he is not looking for coffee. The black man and the paper cup have become for me the very image of broken American capitalism, not because of this one single smelly human being holding this cup but because there are so many of them. I place a single dollar bill into the empty cup to buy his story. I ask why he is not working, I presume the story is not unusual and here is the link with the start. The answer to my single dollar question is, my wife left me. For this man with the paper cup it seems that 50% of everything is a 100%. The art dealer believed that giving half your kingdom away for something was not worth it, whatever it was.
Now I have no idea if the man with the cup and his story is true, I have even less insight as to know any of the in’s and out’s of this man’s broken marriage. But what seems evident is the man with the cup stands in front of me with less than 50% nothing. Which is probably not mathematically possible. Neither does it seem possible for so many street corners to have so many empty cups all offered in a similar manner to this one that had received my single dollar bill. On another street corner was a lady in a wheel chair with another cardboard sign flapping in the wind. I was too embarrassed to read it all but I read the words; please, Jesus and love I think. Then while I waited with the others for the traffic lights to change to offer a good reason to move on, a young man took out from his bag his lunch. It was like the many I had made two pieces brown bread in cellophane. He passed them to the user of the wheelchair and she accepts. There was no conversation she carried on reading she did not seem to smell or have filthy unshoed feet like many do. The man who gave his sandwich unlike my single dollar bill did not want a story.
I am not sure how to respond to all these empty cups. I am disappointed and shocked the United States of America has so many empty cups on offer in such a beautiful place as San Francisco, in such a beautiful place as the USA. I am not informed enough to know for sure but my realism seems to tell me this man and the many who offer cups all across this beautiful country will benefit little from the hope and change that has been spoken of by its visionary leader.
50% of a fortune is a lot 50% of everything for some is 100%.


  1. Hi Nigel, i didn't realise how deep you are, some of your blogs have nearly brought me to tears with your deep thoughts and insights. for a former spanner jockey your doing ok. i hope Erin arrived safely and you are making up for lost time. talking of empty cups, whilst in Paris i gave some money to a homeless person who was geniune, thinking under different cicumstances that could very well be me. but moving on i saw the cynisism of controlled begging by the Eastern europeans in gangs. It somehow destroys your faith in human beings and you begin to realise it's a business like any other, therefore the genuine people do not not get the help and handouts that may have come their way. There is a lot of evil in the world and right should overcome it. As you rightly say 50% of everything is 100% to some. I will tune in again sometime, enjoy yourself and lighten up a bit now you have company. Best wishes Emmet.

  2. I don't think we realize sometimes how close we are living to extremity. I have heard before when I was living in the U.S.A. (and I'm sure it applies to some in the U.K. as well) that a lot of people are 1 paycheck away from destitution. This has to do with not saving money, spending all we earn, living on credit and having too much stuff (high mortages, etc). When I think about that it scares me. When the financial crisis hit, we all got really serious about our spending and our savings - was it too late, I wonder? And what about the people who don't have a home, or a paycheck, as you are pointing out in this blog? I've noticed that people are being harsher to the Big Issue sales people, here in Brum. Do I have true charity?


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