Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I always start my day with the obituaries. It's not because I'm morbid or I'm looking for my friends or to see if I've died. It's actually because the obituaries are so full of life, full of wonderful stories.
Yesterday, the King of the Hobos passed away. This thrilled me no end. Not that the King of the Hobos died, but the chance to explore why I feel guilty for getting such a bang out of hobos.
Nuns are all about discipline and rules. Hobos break all of society's rules AND they hop on trains and ride for free. That's stealing. Hobos are antithetical to nuns. Of course we love all our fellow men, but I feel I should be bugged by hobos. They seem like people I should be praying for to reform their wicked ways.
But with names like Scoop Shovel Scotty, Slow Motion Shorty, and Skeet Simmons....
"Dear Lord, I pray for your servant, Scoop Shovel..." I'm smiling already.
Hopping trains can't be a very big sin, as we don't care too much about property unless it's on a grand scale. Think Ken Lay. And even then... you can't take it with you. Still, all those mooched lifts add up to quite a pile of obviously unrepentant sin. But it's all so romantic.
The hobos themselves are very careful to make the distinction that they are not tramps and bums. During his life the King of the Hobos explained that he rode the rails and "worked to support" his "hobo lifestyle." He mused that it was like going on a camping trip and never returning. He said that hobos, who are not bums or tramps (because they work for a living just like everyone else, except not at all like everyone else), have to know how to live off the land, know what's poisonous, know how to catch game without weapons. In recent years a hobo had to "practically be a pharmacist" since the trains had so many terrible bio-hazards on them. You can't hop a toxic train.
Nobody knows where the word "hobo" comes from. Sister St. Aloysius thinks it's from the word "Bohemian", but that can't be right. Then they'd be "bohos". Maybe I wouldn't like them so much if they were called bohos. Hobo even sounds like fun. Heartwarming, non-sinful fun.
What is more heartwarming than a bearded toothless hobo, saying, "Thank ye, ma'am" for the meal you made him after he fixed the garage door opener? So American.....unless the hobo was in Romania. I guess then he'd be King of the Gypsies. And he'd play a violin instead of that twangey thing you hold in your teeth. And his bandana would be on his head instead of holding his belongings. And he really would be a boho.
The hobos, minus all the train sinning, remind me of Jesus and the apostles and the saints, going from town to town, only the apostles and the saints really did beg. The King of the Hobos would call them bums, at least according to the hobo creed. We have to point out to the King of the Hobos ( if he wasn't dead) that the Christ the King brought people back from the dead, healed the sick, changed water into wine, and fed the masses. Exhausting. I'd like to see the King of the Hobos manage that. The King of the Hobos was a brick layer when he wasn't sinning on the rails.
I think deep down I know that the true sin of the hobo is the gigantic selfishness. Sure a hobo isn't hurting anyone. But he's sure not helping anyone either, except for fixing the garage door opener. You'd have to have an enormous amount of energy to live as a hobo, but all that energy is only for yourself. What a waste of industriousness.
But so colorful.