Eight Books

Audubon Zoo and Snaggletooths

My charges in Mid City, Nick and Josh, are exposed to all kinds of homeless people which have been pushed from the Claiborne Overpass to our area because the Victory church on Broad offers food for them. Since we’ve been reading a lot of books, we sort of casually came up with the word “snaggletooths” for these homeless men instead of “bums”.  The kids know they don’t want to be that when they get older for sure! Watching these guys living on the street and drinking beer all day reinforces their focus on reading and doing well in school.

I took Nick and Josh to the Mid City library on Saturday to get their prizes for reading their required eight books for the summer reading program. They got an unexpected bag of loot as a reward! Pizza certificates, free Frosties, and a pass to Audubon Zoo were all included. We thought we’d earn just one of these prizes but we earned all of them. Wow!

Josh chose some more books, among others, he got some from the Arthur series and Captain Underpants and we also sprinkled in some picture books which are funny and have great illustrations and squirrely use of words which make us laugh and teaches them about the elasticity of the english language. We got a bag full of books for the next couple of weeks.

After we got our loot-bag and books, we went to the Wendy’s on St. Charles Ave. to get our free Frosties and the boys said they wanted salads. I thought that idea would be patently ditched once we got to Wendy’s but it wasn’t. Our food took forever and some patrons were really getting pissy. One patron scared the boys in his scant-nasty painter’s outfit. This guy was complaining rudely and loudly about the gay guy behind the counter who was serving food, it seems he wanted to blame the whole entire slow service issue on the gay guy.  He was not aware that he was scaring the kids with his long, wild hair, filthy clothes and his head-to-toe anger, the first in a whole social house-of-horrors unfolding before us.

I was disgusted at the whole situation but I was calm and patient and so were the kids.  The challenge of being cool was pushed to the limit when the second asshole in line also started lashing out verbally at the staff about the slow service in general. 

To his complete credit, the gay guy behind the counter serving people responded to both assholes utterly apologetically and professionally.  

Then, it got worse. We were attacked by a battallion of “snaggletooths”.  We got our Frosties and Nick said he wanted to bring our food home. I knew he was probably right, but I said it would be nice to sit down and eat at a table together, we decided to try it.

To no avail, when the BLT salads they ordered finally arrived the resident Wendy’s bums swooped down on our booth. It was like a Micheal Jackson Thriller video.  One of the female “snaggletooths” approached our table and said something like this, “Can you help me with my “chirrans, insurance??”  Truthfully, I am not quite sure what she was saying but she was scary. . . my patience had run out. I looked her straight in the eye and said very cheerfully, “Absolutley not.”

The kids and I swiftly packed up our food and skidaddled out of there gracefully and enjoyed a very peaceful lunch at home.  The kids were so well behaved, I took them to the Zoo on Sunday. We didn’t let that episode ruin our great weekend.

Audubon Zoo and Snaggletooths (3)

4 Comments so far

  1. lilsis on July 23rd, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

    Yay! for books and Frosties.

    Boo to the bums.

    That sounds like a really great reading program at the Library. Books are the perfect solution when it is too hot too move.


  2. solowpoet on July 24th, 2008 @ 10:13 am

    WE WELCOME THE HOMELESS!!!!!

    "JUST THE RIGHT ATTITUDE(JTRA)

    A GREAT CAUSE
    NOT JUST BECAUSE ,BUT FOR A CAUSE !
    http://www.jtra.org/index.htm

    My fellow bloggers and net heads this is a call to the masses, there is a very honorable cause going on in New Orleans That is doing some really great work that should be commended and applauded.
    (JTRA) is a charitable Organization/food bank that is going above and beyond it’s duty to help the citizens in the New Orleans and surrounding area’s, and I would like you to take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and take a look at some of the great work their doing.
    The site is located at:
    http://www.jtra.org/index.htm

    WHAT WE DO – THE NUMBERS: JTRA’ s Kitchen serves hot lunches to the community free of charge since they are still trying to rebuild , and get their homes , and lives together.

    In 2007 JTRA distributed 4.187 million pounds of food.

    We distributed groceries to 252,194 families for a total 517,800 individuals.

    We cooked and served 127,181 hot meals in 2007.
     


  3. nojuju on July 25th, 2008 @ 10:09 am

    I’m confused about what the Wendy’s employee’s presumed sexual orientation has to do with this story. I’m also concerned that teaching the children to call street people "snaggletooths" is dehumanizing and inappropriate. I love that you are committed to being a positive influence in these children’s life, but the undertones of intolerance in this post unnerves me.


  4. Laureen Lentz (no_laureen) on July 25th, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

    The two men in line were saying out loud that the guy behind the counter, who was obviously gay, "Had probably been out all night partying." . . . and thus couldn’t do his job. It was ugly gay-bashing and it was terrible. I did mention that the employee who was being targeted was doing a great job of handling them. He was doing a great job period.

    The kids started thinking of the ‘bums’ as people who are kinda in the wild. Thus, they chose the word snaggletooth. I figure it’s better than them using the word bum. It’s rather complex to begin a discussion about how the United States mistreats the mentally ill in our country with ten year olds. I think people should keep protesting the lack of housing and care for these people. And some of them want to live outside, that’s just a fact.

    Guess you have to be there . . . I do the best I can to convey the dynamics simply as I see it and in this short space. I remind the kids not to use the word ‘hate’ casually when they say it. Sometimes they are in a mood of hating everything, I tell them to be positive and thankful rather than fostering a crabby or negative mood.



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