DOWNTOWN - The popular homeless slogan WHY LIE? I NEED A BEER was vehemently denounced last night by a group of 6 homeless men outside the Fina station on 8th St. The group insists that the phrase trivializes the plight of the homeless and raises unnecessary questions about the spending habits of all domicile-challenged people. Most commonly scrawled on a piece of brown cardboard and held up for passing drivers to see, homeless slogans are vagrants' main form of communication with potential donors.
"How I'm supposed to get nobody to give me no money," yelled the man known only as Doobie, clutching a rumpled WILL WORK FOR FOOD sign in his weathered hands, "When I got some guy on the next corner says 'Why lie give me a beer.'"
The other men all echoed this sentiment. "Damn straight," said Snakebite K, waving a HOMELESS HUNGRY ANYTHING WILL HELP placard. "People look at me like I'm some kind of joke now. Used to be, on the same block you might have a DISABLED VETERAN, a NEED TO COLLECT $13 TO STAY IN THE SHELTER, even a guy running the 'My car's out of gas and I left my wallet at home and I'll mail you the money' routine. And nobody stepped on the other guy's toes. These WHY LIE motherfuckers ruin it for the whole block. Most of them don't even drink."
Each man agreed he would not change his own slogan to the lucrative catchphrase. "You need to find something that works and stick with it," said Skully, the eldest in attendance. I messed around a lot in the eighties. WHERE'S THE BEEF?, SHIT HAPPENS, I WANT MY MTV. I would get a lot of attention at first, but the appeal would wear off pretty fast. I would always end up back with my old standby, WILL WORK FOR FOOD. Simple, concise, classic."
For now, at least, WHY LIE? I NEED A BEER appears to be here to stay. The men estimated that between 100 and 1 million homeless persons are currently using the line. As market oversaturation occurs, these are six men who will be there to pick up the slack.
At the conclusion of our interview, I gave the small bills I had in my pocket to the proud and hungry gentlemen. I watched from afar as each purchased a 40-ounce malt liquor and 2 scratch-and-win lottery tickets.