Slocomb Jones - The Interview

This is a humor piece I wrote for Skinnie Magazine in March 2007. It's a brief interview with fictional character Slocomb Jones, a professional bum.

Skinnie Magazine, March 2007

Slocomb Jones was, and is, a proud man. He walks as upright as possible for a man with scoliosis who hasn’t seen a doctor in 45 years. His liver stopped functioning in 1972, just as he was entering his prime drinking decades. He can’t remember anything after Reagan was President. He had a career that began in earnest when he was young, getting his big break at only 21 years old. Now, at 68 years old, Slocomb Jones has officially retired, and now looks to a life of relaxation. He thrived and set the standard in a career where aren’t known for their longevity. He is a true renaissance man of the streets. No, really. Slocomb Jones is a bum. Straight up.

Thanks for taking the time to share your gutter with us, Mr. Jones.
Who in the Sam Hell is Mr. Jones?

Um, you.
Me? Wait. Huh? Who? Is that…Really? Oh yeah, that’s right. You know, I’ve been trying to remember my last name now for 15 years, and for the longest time, it’s just been on the tip of my tongue.

How did you get into the bum profession? Was it something your parents pushed you into?
My folks were very supportive. We’re always behind me. My career began…one time, I was out getting an peanut butter ice cream, and I got hit by one of them fancy train cars. Thing sent me flying, and I wound up in my first alley. Six months later, I woke up. I was all healed for the most part. My hat was knocked off my head, and while I was sleeping, people put a few bucks in my hat. I figured, if I can sleep for six months and wake up with some money…there’s worse ways to make a living.

You’ve inspired a generation of bums across the country, what’s your advice to them?
It’s like I always said. I believe I was put here for a reason. One time, I was bit by a police dog, and the officers were grateful that the dog got a chance to practice. I guess, I’d tell other bums to just keep living the dream.

What’s next? Now that you’re retired from bummery, where do you go?
It’s been a long career, and I think I might just relax for a bit. Finally just take it easy. 

Slocomb Jones' Health Tips for the Practicing Bum:
- "In the fall, I always made sure to get to some fancy college and hung with them kids and the hacky-sacks. They give you lots of granola bars. Just stay away from the business students and frat guys.

- "Don't be pitiful. Nothing worse than a pathetic bum pissing his pants. Go for humor. Tell 'um you're lazy and want booze money. Honestly; it worked for Washington, it works for bums."

- "A diversified bum is a well-fed bum. Learn a trade that separates you from the pack. Any old bum can wash a window, but it's a special bum that can do long division to help kids with homework."

- "Make invisible friends. Even if no one else can see them, at least you'll have someone to talk to. The best thing about invisible friends is that you don't have to share with them, even if they do listen to you all the time."  

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