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Mobtown Beat

Panhandlers’ lament

Mean Eggs and Pan

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Last week a City Council committee approved a bill that would prohibit panhandling not just on the median strip of the road, as the bill’s sponsor, City Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector (D-5th District) originally requested, but also within 10 feet of an ATM, on buses or trains, within 5 feet of anyone using a parking meter, on a pedestrian bridge, or within 10 feet of any place where people are paying for goods or services with cash or credit cards.

The bill goes before the full City Council at its next meeting, on Nov. 4.

The list of prohibitions, most of them suggested by the downtown council and all of them approved by the city’s homeless services director, brings to mind the children’s classic “Green Eggs and Ham.” So with apologies to Dr. Seuss, we give you “Mean Eggs and Pan.”

Mean Eggs and Pan

I am Pan

I am Pan
Pan I am

That Pan-I-am
That Pan-I-am
I do not like
That Pan I am!

Would you let
Me handle-pan?

I’ll not allow it
I do not like
the handle-pan

Would you let me
Here or there?

I will not let you
Here or there!
I will not let you

I do not like
the handle-pan
I won’t allow it,
Pan I am.

Would you let me
In a park?
Would you let me
In the dark?

I will not let you
in a park.
I will not let you
in the dark
I will not let you
here or there.
I will not let you
I do not like your handle-pan.
I won’t allow it, Pan-I-am.

How ’bout a bank or ATM?
Can I do it close to them?

Not near a bank.
Not in a park.
Not in the dark.
You can’t pan-handle here or there.
You can’t pan-handle anywhere.
You must not dare to handle-pan.
The law’s against it, Pan-I-am.

Would I? Could I?
to a car?
Beg! Solicit!
Here they are.

You would not,
could not,
to a car—
Nor in a bus
or train or bar
You can’t beg near an ATM
Outside a store, nor with a friend
The council’s spoken, Pan-I-am
You mustn’t dare to handle-pan.

It could be needed
You will note
A nickel? Quarter
On a boat?

You may not, could not on a boat.
They’d think you’re there to cut their throat!
You’ll never do it near a bank.
If I can help it—please and thank.
You’ll never do it in a park
You’re not allowed to in the dark.
You’ll not pan-handle here or there.
The ordinance is very clear.
You must not dare to handle-pan.
For your protection, Pan-I-am.

I can’t pan-handle
SO you say.
Research! Research!
And you may
Discover it’s a civil right!
Free speech, or something, not so trite!

If you will stand aside,
You may solicit
Without pride
And get arrested;
Thrown in jail
And who’ll come down
And post your bail?

Well. . .
I cannot promise
But I’ll try.
To make a fuss,
A hew and cry!
I’ll tell the story
Of my fight
The People—
They’ll protest my plight!
They’ll raise a racket
Oh, they’ll shout!
In only weeks
They’ll get me out
To beg upon these streets
And I’ll pan-handle
Good and loud!
And all police will let me be
At last! At last! I will be free!

Then again . . .
Could you get me an apartment instead?

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