Archive for October, 2009

Burn Barrel Ban Leaves Hobos Out in the Cold

Iconic American Image Faces Uncertain Future

Train sidings and bridge abutments will be a little less homey this fall as a NY state ban on burning trash in backyard barrels takes effect. Hobos are expected to be hit hardest as the traditional barrel has, for decades, been the main source of heating and cooking for these singular individuals. With state coffers near the breaking point, hobo support groups are bracing for an uptick in dime requests. “Garbage was free for the burning. Now hobos will be needing to purchase gloves with fingers to keep warm,” worried social worker Trina Pfoudsky. “Tin cups are harder to come by, so how will they raise the needed funds? We are bracing ourselves for an inrush of requests for Sterno and warm clothing. We just hope we can meet the need.”

“I’ve been living under this Interstate for 27 years and nobody till now has complained about my barrel,” stated professional itinerant, Hank (no last name provided). “My burn barrel is even a bit of a local landmark. Kids come down here when they need a place to get away from their parents yabberin. I give ’em my tips for train travel on the cheap, feed ’em some beans out of can, and send ’em on home to their mommas and their warm beds. Sure, I fill their empty heads with dreams of life on the road. But, hopefully, I leave ’em a bit wiser and appreciative of what they got.” Hank than turned wistful as a far off expression came over his face, “What the hell is happening to this country? That graffiti over there and my burn barrel are all I got to turn this house into a home, so to speak. Now all I got to warm myself is this half-chewed cigar butt.”

Burn barrel activists from around the state are converging on Albany on Thursday for a mass burn-in to protest the new rules. “We’re not going down without a fight,” decried the really angry group leader, Burt Plemkin. “Take away our burn barrels and the next thing you know, we won’t be able to dump batteries in the backwoods. Who the hell do these Nazis think they are? Let me at ’em, let me at ’em.”

Some activists are using good ole Yankee ingenuity and looking for loopholes in the new law. “Says here you can still burn yard waste,” noted Brandt Gorvliz of Canandaigua. ” So I’m just going to dump my garbage on my lawn for the next six months, rake it up in the spring, and burn the hell out of it. That’ll teach those bastards to pass a law on me.”

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