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Homeless and Hurt Downtown

By Maija Zummo · September 9th, 2009 · Dear Maija
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Dear Maija,

I’m homeless, but I’ve been working really hard on trying to get my life back together. (I used to play a trumpet outside of sporting events because people really like that sort of thing but some kids stole it one night after the Reds lost.) Lately I’ve been writing a lot, but I can’t get my work published in the local homeless newspaper because all they seem to write about is how offensive you are. Now, no offense, but I don’t really give a shit about you. You’re probably a total bitch, but I don’t care about that either. I have rewritten the first part of Gulliver’s Travels and set it in Cincinnati over by Procter & Gamble. No one’s going to read it because of your stupid STD joke controversy. Thanks for nothing.

— Homeless and Hurt Downtown


The important thing to remember about writing is that people hate to read, unless your story is about dead people, bodily functions, fights or celebrities (specifically their weight gains, breakups or what they buy at the grocery store). People magazine, the weekly gossip rag, sells almost three times as many copies as the Sunday New York Times (whose crossword is much harder). And even though Cincinnati’s homeless newspaper has Sudoku, sometimes you need controversy to get those things to move (maybe clown noses aren’t enough?). By using their first inside page to talk shit about long-past events in other papers, they might actually be increasing your chance of being read. If they hook new readers with stories about how old guys misconstrue satire and then exploit the private, horrifying events of the lives of their friends, then maybe your more relevant and moving story about living on the streets of Atlanta or the effect of local human trafficking can get moved up from page 11.

And if that doesn’t work, go for The Soloist save, where you befriend a struggling journalist and surprise them with your prodigious trumpeting skills.

They’ll write a bunch of stories about you because talented homeless people are generally overlooked, and then you’ll finally have an in with the newspapers. Also, Gulliver’s Travels. That’s about midgets, right? That’s almost as offensive as eating your children instead of spending a bunch of money on Pampers. I know somebody that happened to.

Streetvibes is the new Page Six,
Maija


Dear Maija,

Let me preface this letter by saying that I DO NOT THINK ROOFIES ARE FUNNY. I had never even seen a roofie until the other night at a dinner party I attended at a friend’s house when one of the younger women suggested we play a game called “roofie roulette.” At first I was alarmed because I heard the word roofie, but earlier I had seen this girl’s thong and I thought she was a nice person (I was wrong!). I agreed to play because her underwear was still sticking out when she asked me, and the next thing I knew I woke up on the couch with a real bad headache and a cock drawn on my forehead. You seem to know a lot about parties and this sort of thing. Can you explain what happened to me that night and/or how I can make some new friends?

— Dizzy and Dickfaced in Delhi


Roofie roulette, played by willing participants, is a bit of tomfoolery, as innocent as joking with a waitress at Applebee’s. Think of it like beer pong, but instead of a Ping-Pong ball you throw a little Rohypnol into one of the drinks and see who drinks it. Because adults lead really boring lives, it’s a way to add an exciting element of controlled danger to a night in (better than strip Apples to Apples).

So relax. It’s totally safe. In fact, I’ve been playing a version this game since I was in eighth grade (sans roofies). When I was 14, my parents threw a big party and all the adults from my suburban neighborhood went. With limited adult supervision (all of the parents were in one place), my friends and I stole a bunch of beer from the coolers on my parents' deck and ran. Then we went to someone’s house and got “drunk” for the first time.

We all hated the taste of beer, so it’s questionable how much we actually drank, but we were “drunk” enough to get stupid, so we dared one of our friends to drink pee. The way it worked was that one of the girls would go into the bathroom with three Budweiser cans, pee into one of them and then put them on the counter, not revealing which one was actually full of urine. Then the dared girl had to pick one to chug. If she picked the wrong one, she’d be chugging piss (that’s the roulette part). But, because my friends back then were hilarious, the girl chugged the contents of all three of the cans, screamed “It’s warm!” and totally freaked us out.

God. That was so great. Sometimes I wish I still had friends like this. My friends today would never drink my pee.

Open your mouth and close your eyes,
Maija


ARE YOU STILL UPSET BY THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED 20 YEARS AGO? TELL MAIJA ABOUT IT AT: dearmaija@citybeat.com



 
 
 
 

 

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