Trump's worthless dollar says so much | Mat Ricardo on the sort of person who'd stiff a busker

Trump's worthless dollar says so much

Mat Ricardo on the sort of person who'd stiff a busker

I'm going to tell you a true story, that might mean something, and it might not.

A couple of weeks ago I was finishing up a show in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the Auckland International Street Performers festival. It was fun. Hard, sweaty work, right underneath the hole in the ozone layer, for lovely fun people.

I'd hit my finale, taken my last bow, and people were coming over to throw some money into my hat, as I peppered them with slightly out-of-breath thank-yous. An American gentlemen strolled up to me - older rather than younger, white hair, polo shirt, grin. Safe bet, since we were right on the seafront, next to a docked cruise ship, that that's where he had come from. 'American money OK?', he asked. 'All money is OK with me,' I smiled back, and he holds out what looks like $20, tightly rolled up in his hand, and drops it deep into my hat. I say thanks, and he leaves.

Dissolve to a few hours later. I'm back in my hotel room, sorting out the days takings, and is, the twenty bucks. Except, when I unroll it, it's not. It's this…

Trump Dollar

And after a few seconds of mouth-hanging agape, I started laughing. Because nothing sums up what I'm going to generously call the mindset of a Trump supporter more than this. It's perfect.

Now, of course, you, and me, and our protagonist, all know how busking works. I've wrote and talked about its egalitarian beauty on more than one occasion, but if you'll allow me to repeat myself: The simple elegance of street theatre is that only the people who want to watch it bother to stay to watch it - everyone else walks away, having lost nothing.

On top of that, of those people who enjoyed it enough to stay to the end, if they don't have any money, the show is free, with the performer's blessing. Of the remaining percentage of people who watched and enjoyed the whole show, and can afford to give, only about half actually do. but that's also fine - the honest, good-hearted and solvent pay for those people who are deficient in any or all of those categories.

They all give a little, and the performer makes enough to keep on doing what they do. It's a perfect example of spontaneous community supporting each other, and an artist, without really even thinking about the beautiful piece of social politics that is happening. As I say toward the end of my own street show: 'If you have money, give me what you think I was worth, if you don't, just come up and say thanks' – those seem, to me, to pretty fair options for someone that's watched my show.

But that doesn't work for the Trump supporter. Heavens, no. He's different. Special. My polite requests for either financial compensation, or simple thanks don't apply to him. He offers neither. But his dull arrogance won't let him just sneak away. He has to make a point! He must be heard! He'll pretend to give me some money - to deliberately draw attention to the fake note he's giving me, knowing that I'll realise what he did later. the equivalent of walking into an elevator, smiling at the other people, then mashing all the buttons, farting, and then running away before the doors close.

A class act, is what I'm saying.

And what boggles my mind even more is this - what reaction did he expect to get from me? Let's look at the possibilities:

If, as I am, I'm someone who thinks Trump is an inept man-baby, a soft turd rolled in Cheeto dust and sprinkled with the always intoxicating cocktail of fear, hate, ego and hairplugs - then… well, I hate to break it to you, but dropping this bit of crass rubbish in my hat isn't going to change my mind.

He probably walked away with a spring in his step, thinking: 'Hoo boy howdy, I sure zinged THAT guy!' When the truth is that all it did was make me feel sad at the scared, angry little man who feels OK about being mean to a stranger just because he can, but only if he knows he won't get caught.

Bottom line is, the rest of the audience still laughed and clapped and paid. they drowned out the twunt on every level. And that audience? Made up of people of all genders and sexual orientations and identifications, of people of all nationalities, of all religions, and of none. That's one of the best things about working the streets. Damn, he must have hated it. What a shame.

But what about the other option? What if I were a rabid Trump supporter, devoting all my free time to grabbing walls by the pussy while making the Bowling Green massacre great again?

Well, I should be right up his street - I'm an entrepreneur, a self-made man, working long hours, and hard, to build my business. Trump is for the small businessman, right? So then, why, after I've done my job, does his supporter pretend to pay me, give everyone else around him the impression that he's paid me, but instead stiff me. Oh. Wait. because that's what Trump does to his contractors. Just like your hero, pal.

And there it is. That's what's being built. That's the cowardly, lame-ass shit that's being encouraged. But only in a minority of idiots. Here's your takeaway: the shows still happened, everyone still had fun, I still got paid, and the actions of one grinning ass-clown had no discernible results, except it inspired me to write this.

He'll go back to his cruise ship, proudly tell his wife what he did, then she might think a little less of him, privately. And then, because he's probably just as much of a charmer to the cruise ship's largely Indian catering staff as he was to me, he'll probably get some 'extras' in the food.

I mean, seriously, you think Trump *ever* eats clean food?

Mat Ricardo is Chortle's variety correspondent. His website is here and he tweets here.

Published: 3 Mar 2017

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