Panhandling is a way of making a living. Done right, it can be lucrative. In Manhattan's Meatpacking District, Julio Bazan showed he had what it took to to hustle $100 from Oprah Winfrey.
There the queen of talk was sitting in her limo and Bazan went up to her, reports the New York Post. Initially, she blew him off, showing him her empty purse. Then Bazan injected some performance art. He asked Oprah a riddle: "Why is it good to date a homeless man?" The answer: "When you're finished, you can drop him off anywhere." Oprah handed over five 20-dollar bills.
Panhandling as a way of supporting yourself dates back to ancient times. Actually, in some circles, it was considered sacred. For instance, in a number of religious organizations begging was a ritual to demonstrate humility and trust in the universe to take care of mankind's needs. Holy people such as Buddhist monks and nuns as well as the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi would leave their temples and monasteries, spread out in the villages, and request help to get by.
Today, if you want to succeed in panhandling -- and it can be considered a job -- you, like Bazan, are usually expected to entertain. For instance, musicians, everywhere from Manhattan's Grand Central Station to in front of the Barnes & Noble book store at Yale, sing for their supper. Some homeless, skilled in oral history, tell stories about their lives and times. Others have their dogs perform stupid pet tricks.