Homeless in Vancouver: School for homelessness? That’d teach people!

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      The strike by British Columbia teachers, which began on June 17, is now in its ninth week and the new school year is only two weeks away.

      If classes do not resume on time in September, and if people have more money than um, grey matter, then it’s quite possible that the Fairview Tertiary School of Hard Knocks may open for business with a curriculum specially tailored for the would-be street person.

      School’s out for summer. School’s out forever!

      The school is by homeless people, for homeless people.

      It’s founded on the simple premise that a dysfunctional education system can only mean more homeless people down the road.

      And like they say, “see a need, fill a need”.

      If there’s one thing experienced homeless people like to do it’s tell new homeless people how they should do things.

      General courses

      • So now you’re homeless. Get over it.
      • Picking out your first shopping cart: wheels versus capacity.
      • Choosing a “street name” that really captures your essence.
      • How to sit anywhere like you own it.
      • How to “wait for someone” rather than loiter.
      • How to pick a sleeping spot based on your horoscope.
      • Dressing down and how much “sympathy money” shaving costs you.
      • Bottles, merch, or metal: binning breakdown
      • Constructing and telling a convincing tale of woe.
      • How to eat “out” every night.
      • How to dress in women’s clothes (cuz that’s all you find) and not look “gay”.

      Winter survival skills

      • Rain gear: garbage bags that get the job done and look good.
      • Bagging your feet: Ziploc or carrier bags?
      • How to calculate how many days you’ll be soaking wet in February.
      • Drying your stuff: broadsheet versus tabloid newsprint.
      • Trench foot—it’s not just for foot soldiers anymore!
      • Sleeping in a cardboard Dumpster versus a shelter (Dumpster is cleaner, safer, and emptied only once or twice a week).

      Guest lectures and workshops

      • “Lemon juice is not a beverage”: the refundable container system explained.
      • How to coordinate your street drugs and your wardrobe.
      • The difference between MSP and MRSA.
      • Returning or selling the smartphone you found—a cost/benefit analysis.
      • Writer’s workshop: panhandling signs that open wallets.
      • How to pre-spend a shopping cart full of nickel glass that only totals five dollars.
      • How to cook a turkey using cardboard, a potato chip bag, and reading glasses!

      Pricing is tentatively set at $40 per day. Scheduling, class availability, and locations to be announced.

      The Fairview Tertiary School of Hard Knocks is a private school designed to earn beer money for its instructors and is in no way affiliated with the British Columbia education system. As if!

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.


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      Aug 19, 2014 at 1:54pm

      In the first section Stanley hits on why so many people ignore the homeless. "Constructing and telling a convincing tale of woe". In other words - lie.

      Jamie Minton

      Aug 20, 2014 at 9:13am

      this is very poor form.

      Daren Rose

      Aug 20, 2014 at 12:08pm

      This was great! It made me laugh more than once... We all have choices to make.

      14 7Rating: +7