It isnât every time, but occasionally when Iâm visiting a more urban area, I get hit up for money. You know the deal: some guy on the street or in a parking lot comes up to you with a woeful tale about why he needs cash, whatever you can spare. Now, I know the issues here. I know that mental illness is a huge factor, just as it is becoming one in our prisons. I also know that, many times, cash will go to support a substance abuse problem instead of to food. Iâve always meant to purchase some of those McDonaldâs gift certificates to carry along for these occasions, but I never have. Those factors arenât what Iâm getting at (though feel free to discuss those issues too), so stick with me here. On my last trip, I ran into another fellow with a big need. He used one of the standard storiesâweâre in from out of town, the car broke down, and weâre trying to get the money to have it fixed and get home. (Most times, when Iâve encountered this one, thereâs a âhookâ like the unfortunate children who are stranded with them, one of whom is sick maybe, or a pregnant wife.) This guy certainly had a memorable twist on the tale, but thatâs another topic altogether. My discussion point is this: Iâm a bit surprised that Iâm seen as such an easy take. Iâm a big guyâtall, heavy, and with what Iâve been told is an intimidating demeanor (maybe itâs the goatee). Yet, I must carry the brand of the sucker to some degree for these guys to approach me so easily. Itâs just a bit incongruous to me. Iâve had discussions with con men and convicts about how they choose a mark, but I donât seem to fit any of the profiles. (Iâm also, I must admit, something of a âfreak magnet,â drawing the nuts, crooks, and head cases in a crowd right to me for conversation and confessions. ) So, anyway, do you look like an easy target? And how do you urban-dwellers handle these situations?