The Moocher: The One Friend We All Have But Don’t Want

Humour

The Moocher: The One Friend We All Have But Don’t Want

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

T

he Greek philosopher Aristotle once said something that most people found terribly profound, “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human.” After several hours of pondering over this profundity, I was explained that what he was saying was that friendships are an innate part of being human.

Personally, I found that not very profound. Yeah, friends are pretty cool. Most of them that is. Aristotle may not have considered one social connection that humankind can pretty much do without: The moocher.

We all know a moocher. A moocher is a specimen of the human race, driven only by fulfillment of his voracious selfish needs and trapping innocent people. This specimen goes by many names like freeloader, bum, or Abhishek Bachchan, but none suits them better than “The Moocher”.

Mooching is the art of obtaining an object from a person without actually paying for it. It could be food, drinks, spare change, cigarettes, or anything else. Remember the moocher’s self-respect is never too low to ask for a freebie. The moocher is that friend who asks for a bite and finishes your frankie, or the friend who is always ready for a beer, but is never ready to pay. Anyone who’s ever watched Two and a Half Men will know television’s most infamous moocher, Alan, who lives off his brother Charlie while simultaneously mastering the art of losing his wallet at the right time.

After all, sneaking up on you is key to the moocher’s modus operandi. You have to be constantly on your guard, like a dog owner eating sausages for breakfast.

Alan made me realise that I had befriended a moocher back in college without even realising it. Moochers might come across as nice people, but in the real world they’re a bag of excuses ready to shirk off bills or favours, especially for their friends. Most of us probably haven’t identified the moocher around us yet. After all, sneaking up on you is key to the moocher’s modus operandi. You have to be constantly on your guard, like a dog owner eating sausages for breakfast. Initially, the college moocher seemed like a decent enough guy – sociable, fun, and up for anything – but that was Dr Jekyll. We were about to meet Mr Hyde.

He started small by bumming smokes, borrowing cash, and then went on to living large on the communal expense. He developed relationships based on the sole purpose of getting something in return, and his favourite prey were gullible beings who were all too willing to offer help to a fellow in need. It took about a thousand variations of “Guys, I can’t find my wallet!” before my friends and I had enough of the moocher and kicked him to the curb. By then, he had spent months coasting on an endless supply of our snacks, smokes, and ten-rupee notes.

Our losses were catastrophic, but that needn’t be your tragic story. Every moocher can be identified easily. Go out for a nice dinner and drinks before putting him face-to-face with his greatest fear – an evenly split bill. It has the effect of the cross on a ghost. Our moocher was exorcised faster than Emily Rose. I can sum up my experience in a handy little rhyme: Once you go moocher-free, you don’t give them a re-entry.

Today, I protect myself from moochers by buying just one smoke at a time, and keeping my headphones plugged in the moment I get the faintest tingling that someone is about to ask me for a favour yet again. If you need a helping hand, I’m really sorry, mine are tied. I’m done with moochers for good. Except when I watch reruns of Two and a Half Men.

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