“Boil up” and other good manners

Maybe you were thinking there’s no such thing as a “Hobo Ethical Code.”

(I’m not talking about “Politician’s Ethical Code,” don’t get me started….)

In 1889, at the Hobo National Convention in Chicago, the folks who proudly called themselves “hobos” adopted an ethical code that stands the test of time. You can read it below.

You’re right, we don’t have to spend a lot of time these days on the “boil up” part, but just about everything else in the 15-point code has some application to life today.

In fact, living like a noble hobo doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.

For the record, a hobo is a migratory or homeless worker who looks for work, standing apart from the “tramp” who works when there isn’t much of an alternative and the “bum” who avoids work altogether.

The Hobo Ethical Code

  1. Decide your own life; don’t let another person run or rule you.
  2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
  3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
  4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
  5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
  6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.
  7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.
  8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
  9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
  10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
  11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
  12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
  13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children; expose all molesters to authorities…they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
  14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
  15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

← William Pitt the Younger, AKA Mr. Grumpy

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Originally published at by Richard Subber.