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Frisco Utopia

[whitespace] Hire the Homeless

By Hank Hyena

There's a surplus of homeless people in Frisco! Do we all agree? The outdoor indigent were intriguing in the early '80s, when they multiplied magically on Frisco curbs as a new culture of hobo--but today, they're psychically exhausting.

We all feel sorry for them. We want them to escape the sidewalk into their own pads so we can cease feeling guilty, enraged, confused, disgusted and generally all-around icky. But the vagrant view never varies--it's an eternal reality in Frisco scenery, from one muttering Matrix Mayor to the next. Nobody has solutions, except me.

I say: Give 'em jobs! Not paltry pittances for street sweeping or hawking Street Sheets, no! Give 'em work with wages burly enough for rental payments, plus PG&E, telephone and grub. Ridiculous, you scoff! If the homeless had marketable skills, they wouldn't need our clinking coins.

Wait, I reply--how 'bout acting? The average Frisco homeless has more thespian talent than the majority of stage sluts I've seen stinking up local productions. Many homeless perform everyday--like the hustler who always convinces me he needs only $1.27 to catch a bus to Lodi.

Impossible, you argue. They'd have to sell their kidneys just to buy head shots. Forget that! I suggest theme parks! Let's build Frisco Historical Amusement Centers staffed by homeless people. Four exciting possibilities are posted below:

Mission Dolores Mayhem
This adobe atrocity is a visitor rip-off even though it costs only $2. What tourists honestly want to witness is a re-enactment of perverse Padres sodomizing and enslaving the local Ohlone American Indians. The Catholic constabulary could charge dollar-happy Germans $20 each if it clothed swarthy homeless actors and actresses in gunnysacks and made them mumble Latin for hours while a Junipero Serra mimic tortured them with his religion and leather gear. Nonclaustrophobic homeless actors would receive bonus stipends if they feigned a sordid smallpox death and were temporarily buried--pitifully and namelessly--in shallow graves behind the sanctuary.

'49er Gold Mines
Frisco owes its existence to the upriver Mother Lodes, so let's recreate that era in a live dirty diorama. 3Com Park is vacant when the '49er footballers lose the conference, so ... let's pack in some fake gold veins and glittery streams in the spring/summer season. Let's spike the stadium with nuggets and gold flakes and homeless improvisational performers carrying pickaxes and shovels. Tourists on escalators can glide through watching miners scream, "Eureka! I'm rich!" We can view them murdering each other over disputed claims and frittering their findings away on saloon rotgut and whores.

Barbary Coast
Frisco was friskiest in the pre-earthquake years, when it claimed the globe's finest combo of sex, drugs and violence. To memorialize this glorious epoch, we should level chic ghettos like Maiden Lane with its endive salads and matron dress shops--let's turn it into Barbary Coast Boulevard, with lewd women leaning out windows with salacious suggestions. Below that, let's have opium dens where Fu Manchu merchants gamble for slave girls. Homeless people can draw on their own life experiences, to add depth to these characterizations.

Low-Rent "Summer of Love" Haight-Ashbury
Another nostalgic attraction the curious tourists are screaming for. Let's build a faux intersection of the mythic '67 hippie heaven--we'll stock it with the destitute, who won't even need costumes because many of them are already adorned in ragged Salvation Army bell-bottoms. Let's allow the homeless to crash here at '67 rental rates; plus, they can sell drugs, in the interest of historical re-enactment.

Hate my ideas? Send your own Utopian Schemes to [email protected]

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From the March 29, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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