jetsetgreen

Monday, March 16, 2009

And I Don't Mean Chaplin

If we really are on the brink of another great depression I figure we have to be prepared for the inevitable: Hobos.

Oh sure, you think it's all romantic open rails and harmonicas by the campfire, but let me assure you from absolutely no personal experience, that we're in for it.


I don't know about you, but I am simply unwilling to learn hobo signs. I have enough going on in my world. If I'm about to cancel my New Yorker subscription because I don't have the time to read it, I certainly don't have the time to devote to those crazy pictograms that describe a generous home or a dishonest man.

Point of order, can we go back to calling them hobos?

Further investigation of my life reveals that I have no wood piles that need replenishing, no horses that need shoeing, and certainly no barns that need painting. I do have a very sad oven vent that is hanging by one side only since the screw fell out last week. I hardly think that I need a hobo to do that odd job. I may just leave the vent alone; it gives the kitchen a jaunty edge.

Frankly, I'm not even sure if there are romantic open rails anymore. The state of rail transport in this country is downright deplorable: if I wanted to take the train to Florida I'd need to change trains in Chicago. That makes me even more distrustful of hobos and their ability to travel on a whim--playing fast and loose with destinations like they have all the time in the world. Know what I'd like? A trip to Costco via Acapulco.

This whole thing has me more than a little upset.

Please, help me out, what are you doing to prepare for the return of the hobo?

18 comments:

amelia said...

Hilarious post.

According to this key, hobos must have been 8 year olds. I wouldn't do very good as a hobo - a squiggle means "dog," but a cat means "kindhearted lady"?

jennie w. said...

Since we live in a warmish place there are panhandlers at most of the freeway exits. My sons have taken to calling them hobos. Hobos are quite the popular thing around our house. My 10 year old actually made up a nickname for himself, "hobosauce" (?). Seeing the Kit Kittredge movie has also fanned the flame.

Suzie Petunia said...

This is hilarious because my daughter was talking about "hobos" the other day and I was trying to tell her that they really aren't referred to as "hobos" anymore. The best substitute I could give her was "homeless", but that doesn't quite capture what hobos are all about. I'll have to re-think that one. Perhaps "hobo" isn't as politically incorrect as I thought!

I might as well save some hobos their time and go scratch the sign for "alright...OK" on my fence post.

What is UP with the sign for "kindhearted lady"? Is that a cat with only 2 legs?

sue-donym said...

I've purchased stock in bandana's.

kristenlibrarian said...

I remember studying those signs in Girl Scouts!

I once had a "hobo" approach me on a busy street and asked if I had any toilet paper. I patted my jacket and said, "Not on me."

Good times with hobos.

kristenlibrarian said...

p.s. I think the dog sign is suppose to look like dog teeth. Maybe a warning so one wouldn't be bit. I also like the inactive/active police sign. They look like chesticles. hahaha!

Bek said...

If you don't like HObo's then you should FOR SURE not see the movie Kit Kitterage... it is all Hobo's all the time.... and they do the hobo writing.....

I think that the difference (via an NPR thing I just listened to) is that Hobo's CHOOSE to ride the rails and eat garbage (ahem) and homeless people are FORCED to ....

Yeah, I don't buy it either.

Jean said...

My favorite is "Talk Religion get food."
I guess I'll stock up on food for any hobos who convert.

La Yen said...

We have a hobo on the corner who only has one leg. And a beard like Fidel Castro. He shows up like clockwork every single day. Here is my thought: With that kind of punctuality, he would be a great employee at WalMart.

Also, an old lady I worked with had the Cat Hobo Sign on her house. I always wondered why she wanted Hobos to stop by, but it was Carmel, so I think her idea of Hobos was different than mine.

Michelle said...

hmm, based on kristen's comment-- I'll start carrying TP with me.

b. said...

When people ask when we are going to fix our bridge, instead of saying,"We can't afford to." (which happens to be the truth), I'll say, "We're housing Hobos."

Or is that trolls?

Geo said...

I'm thinking an embroidery project.

Melanie J said...

Well, I wasn't doing anything to prepare until you asked this question. I almost panicked, but then I came up with an answer. Now I have to go bake pies so I can leave them on the windowsill for the hobos to steal.

As if I didn't have enough to do already.

This is me said...

When my kids are acting crazy and getting on my nerves, I always tell them to quit acting like a bunch of Hobos.I don't know what that means.

Maybe now I can introduce them to real-life Hobos and that will scare them straight!

La Yen said...

I always say "Quit acting like a bunch of hill billies." Which is more PC, do you think?

Sister Pottymouth said...

I'm setting lots of sticky traps.


Oh...you weren't talking about the spiders?

redlaw said...

Now, see, in my thought process, I skipped right over the hobo part and went to the part where the whole world's infrastructure collapses and we all live in huts and I have to learn how to make edible things from grass and I have to melt all my jewelry down to make swords...but I suppose hobos are the next logical step. Which means I have more time to learn how to make bread from dirt and sew animal skins into clothing. So much to do....

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