Over Six Billion Served

In Portland, Oregon, I emerged from the opulence of the Heathman Hotel into the early morning chill, bought a steaming hot cocoa from a hipster chocolate shop on the corner, and then stumbled down to “Pioneer Square,” a world-famous space which nevertheless failed to impress. Nearby, I reluctantly confronted the terrifying specter of teen homelessness plaguing this Pacific Northwest paradise by eyeing a pretty young girl, with boho braids and a Gaga T-shirt. She was either prostrated in prayer or lullabyed by drugs, rocking slowly on the sidewalk outside the entrance to a McDonald’s. All the customers were careful not to trip over her, but deemed it at the same time unnecessary to deliver her any money. I wondered if her parents were worried, or even if she had any. Catching my eye, the alienated girl held up a staggeringly beautiful and elegiacal universal message of grief: a cardboard sign which (simply) read: “DREAMING OF A BIG MAC. . . .” I turned away quickly and walked down the street.

John M. Edwards