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Jabo and I became friends with a street person named Barefoot Bobby. He was a funny, creative man who enjoyed our music and taught us a lot. It was Bobby who prompted us to change the second line in the second verse of this song. It originally read, “It’s better than sleeping on dirt”. Bobby explained with the authority of personal experience that one does not sleep on dirt. One sleeps in dirt. We changed the line immediately.
For living on handouts and hope
They say, “Here comes that dirty hippie again,
Begging money for wine and dope.”
But you know it can be tough living out on the street
It’s cold and there’s a hole in my shoe
I tried to sell my blood to get something to eat
But the guy said my blood wouldn’t do
My head hurts, I’m dirty, I’m feeling like shit
And I wish I was out on some beach
I’d like a hot cup of coffee and a warm place to sit
But MacDonald’s is out of my reach.
But my life’s not really all that bad
I have more than most people got
I’ve got freedom to do whatever I please
And every once in awhile I get some really good pot.
I don’t like sleeping in doorways
But it’s better than sleeping in dirt
And I’m only asking for a little spare change
Not so much that it’d hurt
But if you don’t want to give me your money
Maybe you could spare me a smile
I don’t get many of them pointed my way
And we’d both feel good for awhile
But you walk right by and ignore me
I’m something you’d rather not see
Maybe ‘cause I’m asking for money
Or maybe ‘cause you’d like to be free – like me!
Yeah, my life’s not really all that bad
I probably have more than you’ve got
I’ve got the freedom to do whatever I please
And, brother, that’s a hell of a lot.
(Written October 1981)
© Pat and Jerry Grigadean, 1998