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Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The man was crouched on the pavement, huge drops splattering relentlessly around him. He wrapped himself in cardboard.

We walked by him, safe under our mobile shelters, our heads bowed against the downpour. But a half block more and my feet stopped, my heart confused. I looked at my umbrella, the one I'd had since college, one spoke bent like a broken finger. My companion had his own, and sharing couldn't make us any wetter than the man on the sidewalk.

I bent down beside the trembling cardboard heap. "Hey... man?" I asked, tentatively. I held my umbrella out to him.

I expected to feel pride at my generosity, but it was mixed with shame. We still had shelter, a place to go, food to eat. And the umbrella I had given him, after all, had one broken spoke.


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