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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Pay It Forward

After work today I'm going to drop by the Portland Rescue Mission to donate a thousand dollars.

Friday, December 1 2017
Michael David Crawford

Copyright © Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

In the Spring of 2010 I was driving a really nice car around Sacramento while wearing a grey pinstripe suit. I saw a man standing on the median holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign. I pulled up next to him.

I pulled $200 out of my wallet, held it up in front of him and sternly said "No drugs! No alcohol! No tobacco!" then handed him the money.

"You just got me off the street!" he shouted with great joy.

"I was once just like you!" I screamed in agony.

"Pay it forward bro. Pay it forward!"

I gave him my card then asked him to call me the next day. I never heard from him again.

I was so upset that when the left turn signal turned green I very nearly crashed into three cars. All three swerved to get out of my way.

During the Summer of 2012 I walked into a restaurant in Oceano California while wearing a poncho I made from a furniture blanket that I stole from a U-Haul trailer and carrying a shopping bag and a kitty litter bucket. I asked the manager for a job. "Your kitchen floor needs to be swept."

"I'm sorry but it's the end of the season."

I sadly walked outside then pulled a newspaper from a garbage can so I could look over its help wanted ads. A man who watched me do all this walked up to me then without saying a word gave me one hundred twenty dollars.

I bought food with it, and shared some with a couple other homeless people.

A few days later I walked into a pr0n shop in Grover Beach. The manager said "Put down the bags." I didn't. I just looked at him. "Put the bags down NOW!"

I put them down then said "I came to apply for a job," then offered him a Flash drive with my resume on it. That resume had more than twenty years experience as a coder, the last ten mostly self-employed as a software consultant.

"I'm sorry, I can't accept that. You need to apply to our head office."

"No worries," I replied then put the stick back in my pocket.

"How much do you suppose I could make," I asked him, "doing work that I regard as morally reprehensible?"

He went slackjawed, his eyes open wide. "More than this shop makes in six months."

He was correct: my work as a Quantitative Investment coder resulted in dozens of solicitations to write Sub-Microsecond Precision High-Speed Trading code, mostly from Bloomberg and Solomon-Page. I never responded to any of them.

Such high-speed trading is the reason we really did need to Occupy Wall Street. Some Congresscriters proposed a punitive very short-term capital gains tax so as to piss on all the billionaire quants but none of those proposals ever achieved traction.

I got paid today in the form of a wire transfer from my client's Chinese subsidiary. I'm paid by China for tax reasons.

After work today I'm going to drop by the Portland Rescue Mission to donate a thousand dollars.

"Buy yourself something nice," I'll say.

I'm getting a similar wire when my client's OEM customers sign off on the macOS device driver for my client's USB Video chip. My client just sells USB chips; the OEMs build them into finished products for sale to end users.

When I get that final paycheck I'm going to donate a thousand dollars to Right 2 Dream Too. It's more commonly known as The Tent Camp; it's a homeless shelter operated by homeless people.

R2D2 is quite forward thinking in that both men and women as well couples can sleep there. One can even sleep during the day. Whenever I lost the bed lottery at the Portland Rescue Mission I spent the next day sleeping at R2D2.

I'm also speculating - not investing: speculating - on cryptocurrencies. I'm going to divide eight or ten grand evenly between BitCoin, BitCoin Cash, LiteCoin, Etherium and PeerCoin.

Just now I bought $1000 of Etherium.

My credit union's security people do not permit debit card withdrawals by Coinbase: "It has a high potential for fraud," the teller told me after dropping them a dime. Three $60 and one $200 Electronic Funds Transfer withdrawals went through OK but I am uncertain that the credit union will permit much larger ones. I'm going to break up the trades with the dollar amount increasing with each trade so I can be certain all the withdrawals go through.

I speculate - speculate now - that I'll make lots of money off the cryptos. From time to time I'll sell some then donate to the Blanchet House Of Hospitality, CityTeam Ministries, the Union Gospel Mission, St Andre Besset Catholic Church and Potluck In The Park - all of them in Portland - as well as Vancouver's Share House, a church in Vancouver that serves free lunches, the St Francis Catholic Kitchen in Santa Cruz, California, Dorothy's Kitchen and Drop-In Center in Salinas and Vancouver's Consumer Voices Are Born.

CVAB is a day center for mentally ill folk. They help us find housing and work; they have six computers and a laser printer to enable the members to apply for jobs.

And an upright piano. The first time I saw that piano I was on it like a pit bull on a pork roast.

"Consumer" is a euphemism for "Mentally Ill Person". I have a special hatred for the word "Consumer": I don't eat mental health treatment. I call myself a patient. Look man, if you had heart disease you would call yourself a patient too, wouldn't you?

Two winters ago a Canadian Soylentil sent me three pairs of wool socks, wool gloves, three chocolate chip cookies, a Starbucks card and $50 cash so I could buy a pair of pants.

Please donate some of your own money to your community's soup kitchens, homeless shelters, day centers and rescue missions.

One morning at the Blanchet House Of Hospitality I ate breakfast with a disabled and homeless former welder who said "You talk to some guys on the streets, and they tell you they used to make six figures."

I didn't tell him that I was one of those six figure guys. I once earned quite a lot of money but for all the good it did me it would have been better to burn the banknotes to stay warm on cold nights.

Six years of unemployment taught me to live in a very modest way: I can easily afford to lose ten grand should the crypto exchanges collapse.

I can easily afford to donate the occasional grand to those who serve the homeless.

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