Rohit's Realm

// / archive / 2005 / 03 / 01 / fighting-fire-with-fire

March 01, 2005

Fighting Fire with Fire

Living on the infamous Telegraph Avenue in the nefarious City of Berkeley has both positive and negative aspects to it. The negatives overwhelmingly come to mind: bums threatening suicide on the streets at 4 am and thus disturbing your sleep; the almost unbearable stench of urine and feces that one must confront when entering or leaving on any given day and at any given time; and of course, the dicey walks home on weekend nights with crazy assholes looking to sell you crack and other goodies. So where in this cesspool of human debris do I find the positive? One word: the chance at retribution. Welcome to the post you've all been waiting for: the one in which Rohit flips out at a homeless person. No holds barred. Parental discretion advised.

It was a cool, calm, spring morning in Berkeley, with a gentle wind off the Bay blowing ever so slightly. The remnants of last night's parties, where only the homeless were invited, were amply displayed by the trash, urine, and stench of alcohol. I had just left my apartment complex, earlier than usual, for a highly anticipated midterm in my algorithms class. I wanted to a chance to wake up and clear my mind, so I was walking pretty obliviously down the street, not even acknowledging stray requests by those pathetic wrecks of humanity that still lay awake after a night of abuse regrettably failed to end their misery—and more importantly, ours. The plan was to get to campus as fast as possible, avoiding the usual bullshit of Telegraph Avenue, and grab some food.

As I made it past Channing without encountering so much as a whimper from most of the sleeping sacks of shit on the ground, I was optimistic that I might get out, but right at that moment, I noticed the crazy child molester bum I've had quite a history with in the past two years. Instantly, memories of the awful University Ave laundromat, with all its dirty, worthless bums flooded into my mind. The incident, moreover, in which this very same man (if you want to call it that) tried to pet a little girl brought back the sickening anger I had felt at that very moment, almost two years ago. And there he was again, just paces in front of me, hounding two freshman by making noises and getting in their faces. I was confronted with a decision: should I just walk by and ignore this guy, or should I do what I've been wanting to do since I got to this godforsaken land of human garbage?

I looked at my watch: 9:05 am—still plenty of time until I needed to be at my midterm. I realized, moreover, that my time at Berkeley is fast winding down and if I didn't do it now, I might never have the chance again, which is certainly something I would regret. Considering getting into a confrontation with this bum more seriously, I looked around. The police car parked directly across the street next to Blake's was reassuring. There was plenty of free space on the sidewalk and I would be approaching from the side facing the street, so I could easily get away if things got out of hand. Escape route planned, I tried to decide how I would instigate a confrontation. As it turned out, I didn't have to think that hard.

Human Garbage (HG): Hey buddy, can I get some change? (I guess he wasn't going to go with the making-weird-noises technique I'm sure works oh so well.)
Rohit (R): (slowing down, and facing HG) Sure, but only if you use it to kill yourself, you worthless piece of shit. Believe me, no one would care and most people would probably rejoice.(turns, and starts walking away)
HG: (confused) Listen motherfucker, in my country, we help people, unlike . . . (unintelligible)
R: (stopping, and turning around, trying hard to suppress the amused look) What? What did you just say? Because in my country, America, we don't mumble like fuckin' morons—we e-nun-ci-ate. Oh wait, I'm sorry . . . was that word too big for you, you illiterate asshole? I wouldn't be surprised, given you spelled marijuana wrong on your sign. I mean, seriously, even 4th graders can spell that word right. (laughs) God, why are you even alive?
HG: (visibly taken aback, perhaps because of my command of what obviously had to be a foreign language) mumbles unintelligibly
R: (voice dripping with sarcasm) Great comeback! Does everyone in your country have such great comebacks too? Gosh, I've gotta tell you: I really would like to visit your country sometime—I mean, if everyone's like you—worthless bums not worth the price of the bullets used to end their miserable existences—it'd be some sight to see.

HG, frustrated and unable to respond, turns around, and starts walking down the street, towards Channing, with a cursory Fuck you said more at the ground than at me.

R: (calling after HG) Hey, where you going? Aren't you going to say something incredibly stupid? C'mon. I could use the laugh!

Okay, so maybe I was wrong to take it that far. I mean, I used an obviously advantageous situation to completely humiliate the guy. Then again, why the hell do we have to always remain silent while these societal burdens can roam and act with total impunity? You ever walked by that long-haired guy with the cane while he said something racist or just downright mean? I have, several times. I've watched countless others do it too.

Well, this one's for each of those times I've bit my lip and walked by, under the ideal of decency. Forget about decency! Nothing about these bastards says decency, so why should we always look the other way as they get there jollies from being idiots? Is it out of some feeling of sympathy, or that you feel bad about the fact you have a home and money and they don't? Perhaps, it's that you don't want to stoop to their level? Fine, but sometimes you just need to call a spade a spade, and in this case, that means, making sure that these assholes never, ever, ever forget what they are: useless, worthless people whose birth was regrettable and whose death won't be lamented.

And believe me, in spite of having to stoop to his disgustingly low level, I felt good about the incident. I finally did what I should have done two years ago, rather than watching as he almost grabbed at a small child and simply getting her out of the way. In many ways it brings closure to a long four years of dealing with Berkeley's less than desirable population. With four months left in this terrible city, all I can hope is that I can spend more time loving the campus and University and less time hating this awful city.


I understand your frustrations. I used to hang out on telegraph also. However you are now a college educated person. Don't let people like this, rob you of your compassion. All people were created by God, and deserve basic human dignity, no matter how they act. This fellas circumstances, are entirerly different from yours, and he has forgotten how to act decently. Remember, knowledge without compassion, is worthless.

You over generalized your feelings for all bums and took it out on this one. Who knows what his story is. All of the human garbage you refer to - do have stories. While your frustration is understandable... and personal responsibility is essential... when you start talking like "human garbage" and suggesting that they should all be killed off because they disgust you... well, you do have to understand that you come off sounding like a bit of a Nazi into ethnic cleansing. Should we just fire up the ovens and take care of it all in one sweep? Your justified rage at a potential child molester found an outlet, but not perhaps the best one. Perhaps the kid whom you drove away had abuse issues in his family that resulted in him becoming the human wreck or waste or "human garbage" that you hate so much. Perhaps it may help you to examine your own feeling more deeply if you find them so intolerable that you have to project them onto others. While that is convenient, it may not be as useful as you may like to think.

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