Lord help me, but I'm a sucker when someone needs cash

MY MATES think I'm a sucker. And possibly I am. But if someone asks me for money, I can't refuse.

Call it managing middle-class guilt - or just never being able to think of a good excuse.

Growing up, if Mum ever got hit up for cash, her mission to help "the poor people" would usually see them dragged home for a cuppa.

I'm not sure how many of them had their mental health problems relieved by Mum's kitchen table sermon about Jesus loving them.

I do draw the line somewhere - if it's a corporate beggar being paid to get my credit card details, I become awkwardly fascinated by the middle distance in the other direction.

But if it's a bus ticket to Byron they're wanting, I slam on brakes.

"Bus tickets are so expensive," I tut-tut, going for the wallet as my fella groans. "Half the time it's cheaper to fly - have you checked prices?"

Sure, as the old argument goes, I'm probably just funding a drug habit.

But for all the drug hits I may have funded, I figure it saved the poor kid - and some poor victim - from smashing a car window for the cash.

While there's no shortage of down-and-out types in mean Melbourne, the shift to Gladstone has shifted the problem.

Wandering the clean streets of Gladstone during the week, I'm yet to be asked for spare change.

But come the weekend, a much less healthy form of begging surfaces.

Last Saturday I sighted no less than four fundraising barbecues - and that was before lunchtime.

A handful of desperate folks poke frying fat, and hold out their hands for a gold coin.

From Rotarians to rugby clubs, kindies to Kilimanjaro missions, each is an excellent cause.

But four rounds of sausage and onions with tomato sauce - it's not really what I need before noon.



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