Friday, March 30, 2012

Las Vegas: The Ugly

Living in a small town my whole life, I realize that I have been sheltered from a lot of ugliness in this world. Go to any big city anywhere in the world, and you will find the homeless on the corners and panhandlers in the streets. And the more tourists that a city caters to, the more beggars it attracts as well.

With all its lights and all the money thrown about on gaming and shows, Las Vegas has a high unemployment rate and its share of vagrants. Walk the Strip after sundown and it seems as if the homeless and the jobless come crawling out of where ever they spend their days.

A few of them will be playing the guitar or providing some sort of music. Every night that we were there, a woman without legs was propped against a cement wall somewhere playing the accordion and singing. Her accordion playing was ok, the singing not so much. Others don’t seem to really care, don’t seem to even want to try. They will be sitting on a walk-way with a sign saying, “Too lazy to work, need money for beer” or something similarly inspiring.

What would it be like to be homeless, without a job or any prospects? Do these people have no friends or family who would be able to help them out, or have they exhausted that kind of hospitality? Have they made a string of bad decisions that have led to this point of no return?

I think back to when I was divorced and struggling to make the house payment, the car payment, and pay the day care. I was so blessed to have a job and have family able to float me the occasional loan. What if I didn’t have that advantage? How close was I to living on the streets with my kids? In all honestly, not that close. But truly, all it takes is one catastrophe for any of us to be that close.

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