Years ago, a man claiming to live “just ’round the corner” would ask you for money to fix a plumbing emergency. With just the right blend of pathos and urgency, he took Macdonell Avenue for a ride. But my favourite shyster by far was a marginal little sponge-monster who visited twice yearly, collecting for a charity that taught street-proofing to kids. Over the years we got to be quite friendly; he’d ask about my son, I’d inquire about his impending court case. Once he asked me to make a cheque out to “Cash.” His organization was called Otter Know Better.