Lasterday I saw a lady seated on a street corner, asking (axeing?) for spare change. She was holding a sign that said, “TIRED OF PROSTITUTION.” I realize that sign was intended to trigger a number of responses, emotional and otherwise–compassion, pity, charity, blogging. And sure, I felt most of those things, but not before experiencing my knee-jerk egghead response to the sign, which was, “Um…pardon me, but shouldn’t that say, ‘TIRED FROM PROSTITUTION?’” (Imagine that question intoned in the most condescending, professorial manner. Or, if you can’t imagine that, just imagine that question asked by film director Peter Bogdanovich.) It’s not apathy, or self-conscious cruelty; I am just very serious about proper grammar and syntax.
If she was trying to escape a life of prostitution, and not just stating her political views while trying to raise enough money for stamps to write a letter to her congressman, I fear she is in for a rude awakening. (Though not an awakening quite as rude as the one where you realize, uh oh, I’m a prostitute.) Panhandling is rarely more lucrative than prostitution and, let’s face it, only slightly less demeaning. I just hope I don’t see her next week on that same street corner, with a sign that says, “THINKING OF GIVING PROSTITUTION A SECOND CHANCE.”
Yes, I decided that woman who was trying to escape a life of prostitution needed to be taken down a peg.