No, I’m sorry, but I don’t have any spare change

Often I’ve arrived at a red light on Kendall Drive and been approached by signs and jars. They’re held by people who want my cash, who are going to do absolutely nothing to benefit me in any way, but expect me to fork over my gas money just the same.
But these aren’t your everyday hard-knocks life/crack head/unfortunate Miamians; these young panhandlers are fashioned in flashy cleats and soccer shirts, or tightly fitting short-shorts with “DANCE” written where they want everyone to be looking. People wonder where the work ethic in America has gone. Either its been zapped into oblivion by some top-of-the-line, newfangled, billion-watt microwave, or its been sterilized into nonexistence by some high-priced, industrial-sized, multitasking dishwasher, by “Suzie Soccer Mom” and “David Dance Coach,” who tell their young and impressionable protEgEs that gone are the days when people had to actually work for their money.
According to “Greg Gymnastics,” we live in a new era in which people are rewarded merely because of their own existence combined with the fact that they really like what they’re doing – whether or not it contributes to anyone else but themselves and the pride of their elementary school team. I’m not even from Miami and I’ve never even heard of your school. Tell me why I want to contribute my highly insubstantial income so that you can buy new baseball bats for the game in a place I’ve never heard of against a team I didn’t know existed other than as an endangered species somewhere in New Zealand?
I’m sorry honey, but short, shiny, shorts on twelve-year-old girls just doesn’t do it for me. What happened to bake sales and car washes? What happened to the value of hard work? It seems these days, nobody wants to work for anything and we all wonder how this has possibly happened to a country founded on the value and ethics of blood sweat and tears.
Decades ago, when settlers immigrated to this “land of the free,” they came with the mentality that if they worked hard, they would achieve the American dream. People criticize America for false advertising, claiming that the “American dream” is only realized by those who were fortunate to be born into it. But how can you criticize the foundation of the “American dream,” when your interpretation of it only requires as much effort as it takes to get out of bed in the morning, put on your short-shorts and walk up and down a busy street with a jar and no intention of working for anyone or anything but yourself?

Whitney W. Friedrich is a senior majoring in Advertising and English. She can be contacted at witz615@aol.com.

February 28, 2003


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