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New York Daily Photo: Surly Santas
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Monday, 10 December 2007

Surly Santas

While walking in the Village with a friend and arriving at the intersection of MacDougal and Bleecker Streets, we were unexpectedly besieged by a gang of Santas - I would say group, however their demeanor and ensuing conversation with a panhandler gave them more of a rude, frat boys feel than the benevolent, generous spirit we associate with Santa. The conversation between one of the Santas and the panhandler went something like this:
Panhandler : "Oh good - Santas, Christmas Spirit. Can you spare a quarter?"
Santa: "Get it together brother."
Panhandler: "You get it together!"
We assumed these guys were in costume and not individuals who actually work as Santas somewhere - that would be a little disheartening - I think one would expect the dialog to be more courteous even coming from someone who is not Santa. Was this Christmas spirit, New York Style, or was this Santa perhaps more progressive in his thinking? That he felt that giving in this type of circumstance was, in the parlance of the modern psychotherapeutic community, being an enabler. Like the old saying: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life."
In researching this saying I came across some variations:
Teach a man to fish and he learns to covet your boat.
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and he'll break it in two for firewood - or exchange it for a fish.
Give a man a fish, and he'll wonder what you want from him.
Build a man a fire, and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Give a man a crab and it will pinch his fingers. Teach a man to crab and he'll complain about being pinched.
Give a man a boil and he'll just get sore. Teach a man to boil and he'll be able to make his own tea.
Give a man a slide and he'll want a microscope. Teach a man to slide and he'll want a playground.
Teach a man to fish, and you introduce another competitor into the overcrowded fishing
industry. Give a man a fish, and you stimulate demand for your product.
Give a man a fly and he'll think you're an idiot. Teach a man to fly and he'll end by looking down on you.
Give a man a fish and he'll have dinner. Teach a man to fish and he'll be late for dinner.
Teach him to fish and he'll sit in a boat drinking beer all day.

Credit for these quotes and more humor can be found at the site


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