Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Random thoughts on panhandlers, John Phillips and high school football

August 9, 2013 

Some random thoughts for a Saturday morning …

When I wrote last week about panhandlers, many of you responded by sharing your own stories.

One reader said she was in Augusta last week when a man outside McDonald's asked her for a dollar. She told him she didn't carry cash, then went inside and bought him a biscuit and coffee. She gave it to him and wished him a great day, and he responded by throwing the biscuit at her back and the coffee at her feet.

I've done the same thing before, with mixed success. One time a guy on Broadway asked if he could have a couple of dollars so he could walk over to Burger King and buy a Whopper. As luck would have it, I happened to have in my wallet a coupon for a free Whopper, so I gave it to him.

He handed it back and asked if I had a coupon for anything else.

Like a fifth of whisky?

In the end, the consensus on giving money or food or whatever to people on the street who ask for it seems to be that you follow the advice of the great philosopher Roxette. You know, listen to your heart.

Really, you're doing it for yourself anyway.

•••

Speaking of giving money away, a lot of people are bothered by the fact that we're paying John Phillips, Muscogee County's outgoing superintendent, more than $17,000 this month to hand the reins over to David Lewis, the new superintendent.

The last superintendent, Susan Andrews, had no temporary assistant. When Phillips took the job in 2003, he had an assistant for six months.

The district already employs a chief administrative assistant to the superintendent, Gary Gibson, at $7,000 a month. I love what Lewis said when reporter Mark Rice asked him why Gibson or another cabinet member couldn't have handled the transition: "I couldn't answer that."

I think I'm going to like this guy.

Meanwhile, Phillips did have an answer. "There are some things I know about the district that I can share that other people don't know or other people won't share," he said.

And for 17 grand, he'll be more than happy to be forthright and candid. I'm thinking he may even inadvertently give Lewis some ideas about what not to do.

But couldn't they have just met for a cup of coffee? I'd have been more than happy to pay for it, and even throw in a couple of biscuits. After all, I've been known to throw away five bucks.

•••

Finally, my wife is starting to assign me jobs around the house and yard, and not at John Phillips' -- or anybody's -- wages. That's because college football season kicks off in full force in three weeks, rendering me basically worthless.

But there's a new wrinkle for me. At 7 p.m. on Aug. 31 -- as Alabama's taking a halftime break from thrashing Virginia Tech, and Gus Malzahn's leading Auburn onto the field against Mike Leach and Washington State, and Georgia and Clemson are warming up in the Georgia Dome -- I'll be at Kinnett Stadium watching my son play football and my daughter play in the marching band.

Happy to do it, of course. But does it really have to be on a Saturday night? Maybe Mr. Lewis can put that on his 120-day plan.

Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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