500-pound Gorilla


People are good. So very good. They smile broadly, talk sweet, and pretend that a big hole in my throat doesn’t exist. If I pointed it out to explain, they would probably look surprised and say they hadn’t noticed.

Their eyes give them away. They keep going to it, but they are so considerate, not wanting to say or do anything that could somehow hurt my feelings.

I want to tell them not to worry. But I don’t want to embarrass them or make them uncomfortable. So we all keep quiet about it, ignoring that 500-pound gorilla at the bar.

I was driving to Muncie, Indiana, of all places. It was just a day after my missed encounter with the panhandler at the traffic light.

As I pulled off the exit I stopped at the cross traffic to make a left turn. A panhandler was standing there, and I thought of my missed chance. I couldn’t let this one go by as well.

I gave him the wiggle-waggle with my hand, the universal sign that it was OK for him to come over. I got out my wallet and rolled down the window.

And he took one look at me and shouted: “Holy &#!$! You’ve got a hole in your throat!”

He reached through the window with both arms, leaned in and gave me a big hug. “I love you, brother,” he said. “Thanks,” I managed.

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He started to pull away. He wasn’t going to let me give him anything.

But then he did. And I did. With a not very sincere, silent apology to my friends.

People are good. So very good. Especially the lonely ones.

Source: By Robert P. Lockwood

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