This is Donald

This is Donald. We’ve met in the past and I wasn’t sure if he’d remember me when I saw him this evening collecting cans in a downtown square; his hand is visible holding his bag of cans. It’s a public place where—given the current Covid conditions—the authorities have been a little lax, and it’s a place where people gather outside to enjoy libations which is what I was doing after a long workweek. And I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t feel like talking to Donald—or anyone from the street, or anyone at all for that matter—but when he came to collect my can he recognized me, sort of. “Hey you’re that guy who hands out gift cards and takes pictures,” he said after asking if my can of beer was empty. A moment earlier he was collecting empties of a table across the square when a guy from another table threatened to punch him in the face if he touched their beers. After he recognized me I asked If I could capture another image; he agreed. The scars on his crown and forehead are from being hit with an ax, he told me previously. The cyst above his eye he wants to have removed. Tonight he also told me other things, which are probably not true, and one of them is that he is a comedian and tells jokes for money. I asked for a joke and it wasn’t funny but offered a gift card nonetheless. Donald is no angel, nor are most the people I meet and profile on the street. But I never said they are, though what I did and still do say is that he and they are humans on this planet the same as you and I and deserve the same respect. And at the sake of sounding like a broken record, not all of us have had the same opportunities. Some of us don’t realize the opportunities we’ve had, and may not even be aware that they were even opportunities because they were just simply there. Some may be the product of generations of poverty, addiction, and abuse. To some, that may be the same normal that we may know as our version of normal. I’ll also be honest in saying that I believe about 20% of what Donald tells me. But my point is that this… it does not make him any less human or worthy than you or I. And now I’ve stood on my little soapbox a bit too long so will step down now.