September 5, 2011

"Clucking Normal" (Day 45 - September 5, 2011)

Notice to Reader - In order to keep this blog "G" rated, I have taken liberties with certain wording, replacing common vernacular actually used by the speaker with an alternative . . . "clucking".  You can probably guess the actual word.

A couple of weeks back I was visiting The Mustard Seed in Calgary . . . a street ministry that has been walking along side and providing assistance to street homeless for over 25 years (  While I was there, Deb Runnalls, street level manager for The Mustard Seed, relayed the following short true story to me:

Deb was walking into a Tim Horton's to grab a coffee when she spotted one of the guests she knew from The Mustard Seed.  He, too, was going to buy a coffee.  While waiting in line, Deb and the other fellow were talking . . . when suddenly he held up his hand full of change for Deb to see.  "You know what this is?" he asked Deb.  Not knowing where he was going with this, Deb stated the obvious, ". . . a handful of change?"  "No," replied her friend, "THIS is clucking normal."

I can certainly relate to that fellow . . . even in my conditions which are not nearly as desperate or difficult as actual street homelessness . . . the need to do what "normal" people are doing (like having money to buy a coffee) is hugely compelling.  Take last night for instance.  My wife, Janet, was watching a movie without me because I am living without the comforts of home.  Thankfully for me, but not Janet, she told me this morning that it was a bad movie (. . . and if you're just protecting my feelings, Janet . . . don't spoil it by telling me otherwise).  However, last night I wanted so badly to just do what I would normally do . . . watch a movie with my darling wife.  Then, of course, that train of thought spiralled into wanting to have a change of clothes like everyone else . . . have a bed like everyone else . . . drive places like everyone else . . . and be able to eat whenever I wanted like everyone else.  I think that it is a human characteristic to want to fit in, to be part of the whole, and in some way be . . . just like everyone else.

Today is Labour Day in Canada.  A day off . . . when most people recreate together and have fun while enjoying a day away from work.  For the homeless, it is just like any other day except that others are doing something different . . . which often exacerbates the divide between the haves and have-nots.  Well, that's not going to be the case for me today.  As soon as I hit "publish" on this blog post, I'm heading to The Iron Goat pub.  I'm not going because I need a drink, although I will likely have a pint or two with the few dollars I've saved up.  I'm not going in order to be around other people, I'm actually quite an introvert although being with others will be nice.  I'm going because it is Labour Day, and since the beginning of time I have watched the Edmonton Eskimos battle the Calgary Stampeders on Labour Day.  I'm going because watching football today is . . .


(By the way . . . GO ESKS GO!!)

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.


  1. Hi Poverty Guy,

    This is me again writing from beautiful Puget Sound. I really understand the image of a handful of change and that being clucking normal. Two years ago I was making $40k a year (from all sources of revenue) and now, I make $600-$800/month. I am lucky to not BE homeless. In order to pay my $1150/mo rent I rented every room in the house, including the garage and I even rent the living room couch for $100 a month. That pays the rent most months unless someone is late. I use my income to pay ALL the utilities, Power, gas, cable TV and high-speed Internet and basics of the house: TP, laundry soap, and dishsoap, etc... Right now, although the rent is [nearly] paid, I have barely more than that hand-o-change myself.

    Thanks for what you are doing to bring the issues forward!

  2. I forgot to mention I also have a car payment, insurance, gas, repairs. That makes me really really broke.

  3. Thanks for your comments . . . and sharing how difficult it can be. Hang in there, and I hope things become easier for you.

  4. I can't believe you are comforting and encouraging ME! I still have the choice between heat and AC, a fridge and toilet within steps. Most importantly I have my family including two beautiful granddaughters (hope the link works):

    Off to read today's post!

  5. I appreciate your wonderful attitude and the way you recognize your blessings!! And, yes, your granddaughters are real cuties. You're very lucky.