* First of all …

Why can’t I be Ted Williams?

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger

(Originally posted 04/13/12.)

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* The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

City considers crackdown on panhandling near businesses, parking meters
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety

For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”

Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.

Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.

My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
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* What a homeless man dreams of

Having several interviews in quick succession has raised my hopes and made my dreams more vivid.

I can hardly wait to become a taxpayer again. This has been on my prayer list (I pray for it daily.) for more than two years.

They pass the offering plate at church, and now I’m wanting each time to put something in. If either of these jobs works out, I will be able to tithe, use my offering envelopes, and give $30 or $60 each week.

I dream of having a kitten, and cleaning the litter box each day. Seriously: I dream intentionally of playing with the cat, and cleaning the litter box. The point: I will have bought and paid for the cat, its food, the litter box, the litter, and the rent on this apartment, all with my own hard-earned money.

I likewise dream intentionally of washing dishes; sweeping and mopping the floor (normally on my hands and knees); and doing laundry. I take joy in these for the same reason: I bought the pots, food and dish soap; I bought the broom, dust pan, mop, bucket and detergent; I bought the clothes; I pay the rent, all with money I earned.

In my view, these dreams constitute prayer.
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* Jacob’s ladder 09/28/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.
 5. Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Details here.
 6. Cut loose the losers. Details here.
 7. Smoking.  See posts tagged “Smoking”.

* Andy Kessler, Round 3: Guilty as charged

I participate on a certain online discussion board.  My premiere antagonist is a man who got trounced by a playground bully in fifth grade.  He never fails to seek to re-enact that battle with me (or any of certain others), hoping for a different outcome this time.  He casts his opponent by turns as the bully he wants to be or the chump he fears he was; and interacts with those projections.  It has nothing to do with me.  He might as well be playing with his G.I. Joe dolls.

Andy Kessler’s 07/08/13 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Summer Jobs for the Guilty Generation,” is little different.  In his quotations of others’ expressions, I hear compassion; he hears guilt.  I hear gratitude; he hears guilt.  I hear hope; he hears guilt.  What’s up with this?

Kessler projects his own guilt feelings onto his son’s generation.  That’s easier than owning them, but solves nothing.
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* Prayer is work, too.

(Reblogged 12/02/13.)

Saint Benedict ran a monastery.  He ran into the problem that many monks wanted to spend all their time praying and studying, and not do any of the dirty manual labor — housekeeping, tending livestock, working in the fields — needed to keep the place going. So he adopted and enforced the motto, Laborare est orare — “Work is prayer.”

In excess, religious study can become a drain on society’s resources.  Many Haredi, or “ultra-orthodox,” men in Israel want to spend all their time in religious study instead of earning any money.  (Article.)  Meanwhile, a majority of them live on welfare, with eight to fifteen children.  This places a burden on the remainder of society that that economy can no longer bear.

What about me?
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* Jacob’s ladder 08/14/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.
 5. Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Details here.
 6. Cut loose the losers. Continue reading