Nothing is new under the Sun. Seeing a headline like this: Homeless man smashes window to get arrested the first thing that immediately came to my mind was a short O. Henry story about a homeless man who was trying to do the same. Both of these men, the fictitious and the real one, even resorted to the same tactics at some point – smashing windows. The present day story, however, was more prosaic – the guy managed to get arrested as he planned, albeit not on the first try. However, he wasn’t as inventive as the Soapy, the character in O. Henry story, who first decided to get arrested by having a fancy dinner and not pay for it. He’s unlucky in his quest though, as the restaurant owners are uncooperative and the policemen that he meets are somewhat lenient or stubbornly refuse to arrest him. Eventually, he does get his “three months on the Island” for the upcoming winter but not without a twist. Our real guy, before resorting to smashing Dunkin Donuts windows was ““going to strangers’ doors” asking if he could stay at their homes”, to no success. No, he obviously has not heard of this American classic.
Anyway, it’s a pleasure to read this story once again, here’s the link to the story. The Cop and the Anthem. Some brilliant quote from the story:
In Soapy’s opinion the Law was more benign than Philanthropy. There was an endless round of institutions, municipal and eleemosynary, on which he might set out and receive lodging and food accordant with the simple life. But to one of Soapy’s proud spirit the gifts of charity are encumbered. If not in coin you must pay in humiliation of spirit for every benefit received at the hands of philanthropy. As Caesar had his Brutus, every bed of charity must have its toll of a bath, every loaf of bread its compensation of a private and personal inquisition. Wherefore it is better to be a guest of the law, which though conducted by rules, does not meddle unduly with a gentleman’s private affairs.