Times are hard these days and, like any worker, panhandlers are fighting in a fierce market for scant spare change. Yesterday's "Anything will help. God bless you." scrawled in marker on a limp piece of cardboard just isn't cutting it anymore. Today's enterprising hobos are fighting hard for throwaways from passersby with savvy slogans designed to attract your attention -- and spare change -- while you suffer the indignity of rush hour traffic in an air-conditioned car at Broadway and Speer. These are some signs around Denver and across the country that had us coughing up our quarters.
10. Honesty is the golden ticket "Need money for beer, drugs, hooker. (Hey, at least I'm not shittin' you)". This hobo is holding a picture of himself with the sign as proof of copyright. He gets extra credit for epitomizing the truth-in-panhandling movement in the U.S.
9. Why lie? Another truth-in-advertising campaign for one man's quest for booze. It appears that long, long after the battle for Middle Earth was over, Gandalf the White had a new quest. Let's hope he ends it quest with a cool flagon.
8. Alcohol research This panhandling scientist is looking to fund his next great research project. We know it involves alcohol, but the type of research -- well it could be anything. Maybe his research involves quantitative analysis of alcohol concentrations suspended in liquid. Or perhaps he's raising funds for his doctoral in the science of mixology.
7. Desperate need of hair weave It's true. This man needs a hair weave and isn't afraid to ask. He is dangerously close to full scalp exposure, which is a leading killer among panhandlers. We can't wait to see him waiting in the beauty parlor next to Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. Possibly in rehab.
6. No job, no food, no clothes This is like the B-side side of all those PETA commercials with nude models. However, we wonder if these two are stretching it a bit. Just because Charles Bronson -- or is it Nick Nolte? -- is between roles doesn't mean he's really this desperate for cash. At least we hope not.
5. Hit me with a quarter This experienced hobo's slogan exhibits sly reverse psychology. By cleverly challenging the reader's aim, he may increase his revenue stream. On the other hand, his gambling addiction could have led him to his current position.
4. Ninjas killed my... This might be the first franchised hobo sign. Various versions of have popped up across the country. Other versions proclaim, "N...s killed my family. Need money to hire KKK" and "Darth Vader killed my father. Need money to seek Jedi training." Need Money Inc., apparently the Hallmark Cards of homeless signs, sponsored this message.
3. Homeless Jedi Speaking of Darth Vader, Star Wars is apparently a popular topic among panhandlers. This guy looks like he could be from Alderaan. Perhaps he should change his sign to "Planet-less Jedi."
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2. Building new Deth Star The guy who wanted Jedi training must have received it. It turns out his name was Luke. It looks like Darth got his just desserts and lost his ability to spell in the process. For the average consumer, though, funding a new "Deth Star" -- or Darth Vader for that matter -- is probably not a savvy move. He doesn't have a tendency to let things (like anger, or necks) go.
1. Invisiblemanitus This poor man is just seeking a cure for his rather obvious condition -- sitting naked on a cold sidewalk. Frank, here's a quarter to help with your medical bills. Now get some clothes.