A Review of "Will Mooch for Food: My Adventures as a Filthy Panhandler" by Zander Matthews

Posted by Landry

Will Mooch For Food: My Adventures As a Filthy Panhandler
By Zander Matthews
Nonfiction
212 pages
$35.99
Hardback

The book I’m reviewing today is an interesting one with an interesting perspective that I have to say I really like because I’ve always felt sort of guilty if I don’t give money to panhandlers but after reading Will Mooch For Food: My Adventures as a Filthy Panhandler by Zander Matthews he says all panhandlers are just mooches who don’t want to work and expect you to just give them money for free and he should know because he was one and so I feel better. You might feel better too if you read it. Like if you sometimes feel like maybe I should give that lady with three children and one of them only has one leg a quarter then if you spend $35.99 on this book you might be able to hold on to that quarter.

Zander Matthews is a blogger which is something we have in common so that’s called solidarity. His book even started out as a blog and when it got popular Malarkey Books sweeped in to turn it into a book which was a great idea because it was really easy because all the writing was already done and all they had to do was make a cover. The premise of his book is that he got bored with his job and one day while he was driving to work he saw a guy flying a sign at an intersection that said “Will Have Sex for Food” and he was like, “No thanks,” but it made him have an idea which is he would become a panhandler: “I didn’t quit my job or anything really stupid. I mean, I had a mortgage to pay, I was leasing a Lexus, I had just bought an air-conditioned Jet Ski so no, I didn’t quit my job. What I did was I started going out on my lunch break and begging for money. The crazy thing is people gave it to me! They shouldn’t have. I didn’t need it. But that’s the game. That’s the scam. That’s the ruse. These people don’t need your money. These people don’t need your sympathy. All these people need is a boot up the ass.”

He says he got a lot of things but I don’t think he ever did get a boot. He says, “People did some mean shit to me because they thought I was homeless. I got cursed at. I got whacked in the head with a full Gatorade bottle. I almost got arrested one time, but I showed the cop my key fob and explained my little social experiment and he laughed and even gave me a dollar. I’m not saying white privilege is a thing; it’s just a brotherhood. I never got pissed on or set on fire so give people some credit. Not that I wouldn’t have deserved to get pissed on or set on fire for having the sheer gall to take a nap on a sidewalk. I also got some money. I was only out there on my lunch hour, but I would generally make almost ten dollars every day. For one hour. Less than, really, if you count commuting between work and my spot, plus I had to park sort of far away so no one would see my Lexus. If you do the math, I’m out there from twelve to one, lot of cars on the road, and if you stand there for a regular work day, maybe take a break at lunch to treat yourself to some Arby’s with all the soft-earned money in your pocket, that’s eighty bucks a day. Easy money. Lazy fucking leeches. I remember one person in particular. This beat-up old car pulled alongside me. The old man inside gave me a five-dollar bill. He said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, but this is all I have on me.’ He saw me eyeing his Wendy’s Frosty and he gave it to me. He goes, ‘I could be you. I wish I could do more to help, but I’ll pray for you, sir.’” I said to that dope, ‘Nah, you could never be me. Cuz I could never be a bitch.’ That Frosty was amazing. I’d forgot all about Wendy’s Frosties.”

Zander describes a lot of ways he would beg for money. He got really creative. Sometimes he would wear his regular work clothes. Sometimes he would put on a hobo costume he bought at the year-round Halloween store and the picture of him in the hobo costume is really cool and he even says “It was the best $200 I ever spent.”

Zander describes some of the different signs he made. Some of them are pretty funny. Like “I just want free money!”

“I spent all my money on markers and posterboard.”

“Too lazy to work. Give me money!”

“Show me your tits or give me a dollar.”

“This ain’t Jimmy John’s, bitch. My smells ain’t free. Pay up.”

That last one’s sort of esoteric because you have to know who Jimmy John is and he’s a guy who gives away free smells but I think what Zander was trying to say was he smelled because he was homeless even though he was just pretending but you had to pay for the smells because they weren’t free. It’s a joke! You can see why he’s such a good blogger.

But Zander Matthews should really stop being a blogger and start being a debate coach because his logic is unaslayable. “You can barrage me with facts,” he says. “You can swamp me with statistics. Like that thirty-five percent of Americans don’t have enough money saved up to live for even three months at the poverty line. Or that forty-five percent of homeless people actually do work or whatever. Or that blah-blah percentage of homeless ‘people’ are so-called veterans. You can say all that shit but I won’t believe you because why would I believe you when it’s so easy to just dismiss your points as a bunch of teary-eyed, bleeding-heart namby-pamby bullshit? And those supposed veterans y’all blather about? They’re lying. They’re not really veterans and I know because I support the troops. Face it, they’re just a bunch of maggoty freeloaders.”

I think he makes an important argument because it’s like he says they’re like stray dogs and if you stop feeding them they’ll go away because “All you’re doing, when you give money to these ‘people,’ is showing them that they don’t have to work. That they can just take whatever they want. Just stop! Don’t feed the animals!”

Name-calling isn’t nice but I also know political correctness isn’t nice so sometimes you have to call names. Zander does that sometimes he calls panhandlers leeches and says “Don’t call them people. Don’t call them humans. They’re nothing more than leeches and fucking leeches don’t know the value of work. Take my job. I create search-engine-optimized evergreen content utilizing trending topics in order to generate recurring traffic utilizing keywords, internal linking, and meta tags to boost the optimizational ability of relevant blog posts and that’s how I make a living. That’s work, people. I do something. I contribute. What do fucking beggars do all day except stand in the heat or the cold as it may be inhaling exhaust fumes and fucking begging? It’s not right.”

He didn’t really talk to any of the real panhandlers or homeless people he saw and he said it’s because and I quote “They fucking stink. Who’s going to talk to them?” If he was a journalist it would probably be like a problem if he didn’t talk to them but he’s not a journalist per se in the traditional sense. He’s a blogger and when you’re a blogger it’s not about being objective or trying to report the whole story or something, it’s more about it’s like writing content that’s got a lot of search engine optimization, which is a common misperception about bloggers and I like to think I’m doing more than just reviewing books but I’m also fighting stereotypes. Don’t get me wrong stereotypes are super useful but I don’t like to be stereotyped.

I think one of the cool things about the book is how he looks at the issue of homelessness from multiple perspectives. It’s not just his way or the highway. So I admire his commitment to truth and dialogue. He says, “Some Christians, those of the bleeding heart, wah-wah variety, will say ‘Well Jesus says to give to whoever asks,’ but you know what? Jesus was a bitch. I mean, I’m a Christian, but I ain’t a fucking sucker. There’s a communist conspiracy that Christianity teaches us that all human beings have inherent dignity and value and deserve to be treated with love, honor, and respect. Pshaw.”

I never thought of it that way before, but maybe Jesus really was a bitch? I mean he’ll just give away whatever he has to whoever asks and if you bitchslap him on the right cheek he’ll be like, “Bruh, do this one too” and he means you can bitchslap his other cheek. This book really made me do some deep thinking because I always thought there were different types of panhandlers, like those who were just trying to scam people, those who just wanted to get money for crack or something, and those who really needed money and didn’t know what else to do, and I’ve never been good at telling the difference so I would feel guilty if I didn’t give something to someone who was flying a sign or asking me for money on the street but this book has showed me that I don’t have to trouble myself over those distinctions because if you just assume that all panhandlers are scammers then you don’t have to feel guilty about holding on to your spare change, which has brought me closer to God.

All and all I can’t recommend this book highly enough. You can buy it from the Malarkey Books webstore but if you live in in a big city you might be able to catch him on tour. He came up with a really fun way to optimize his sales because he stands out in front of the most famous bookstore in whatever city he’s in with a cardboard sign that says “Will Sign Books for Money” and sells his books on the street. That way he can say he’s reading at like Tattered Cover or City Lights but he gets to keep all the money. That’s capitalism at its best. It’s like is said by Glen Gary Glen Ross “Always be hustlin’.” I’m pretty sure this week he’ll be in front of Politics and Prose in Washington and I’m not sure if that’s D.C. or the state but I’ll try to check and post an update. This is such a fun book to read and very persuasive if you are ambivalent about the ethics of panhandling because now if I accidentally make eye contact with one of them I just be like “Uh-uh, you can’t fool me because I know the Truth!” and they usually walk away real fast. That’s the power of knowledge.

My rating: A+!

Dumbass disclaimer: I shouldn't have to say that the above review is fictional, that I'm using it as a vehicle to make fun of something, a political figure, society, Simon & Schuster, but the above review is fictional and I'm using it as a vehicle to make fun of something, a political figure, society, Simon & Schuster. While it should be taken seriously, it should not be taken as factual. It should maybe make you think, lead you to some deeper understanding of the world, or at least make you snort against your will in awkward laughter, but please understand that it's fictional. The book that my fictional intern is describing is fucking fictional. Given the state of the publishing industry and the fading line between reality and parody, I can't reasonably expect readers to make the distinction between what's real and what's tongue-in-cheek, and while it would make part of me happy to know that there's someone gullible enough to believe the books I'm pretending are forthcoming are real, most of me would just be sad. I'm sad enough already.

©Alan Good 2017