Monthly Archives: October 2013

o Jacob’s Ladder 09/28/13

(Originally published 09/28/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

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”.

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

* Smoking, part 1

(Originally published 09/28/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

(Saying “part 1” just in case. There may or may not be a part 2, etc., in the future.)

My patronage has changed, and as a result I must quit smoking. As of 09/27/13, I have not managed this very well. As a result, I’m now in a terrific financial bind.

Forget about not having any more money for smokes; in this coming week, for financial reasons, I may have to spend several nights at a much less desirable shelter; where I don’t want to use the bathroom, haven’t figured out how to shower, and clean clothes aren’t available every day. Then there are the issues of getting prescriptions filled and buying disposable underwear, of which I’m almost out.

Motivation doesn’t matter when one’s facing necessity. However, I have had ample reasons for motivation:
Continue reading * Smoking, part 1

o Jacob’s Ladder 08/14/13

(Originally published 08/14/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

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 o Jacob’s Ladder 08/14/13

* Treasures in heaven

(Originally published 07/01/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

One of my buds came into McDonald’s this morning looking for me. I’d not seen him in about a week. He’s in really good shape today, but it turns out that, as I’d supposed, he’d been on a bender.

We went out front to smoke and talk, and the time came for him to get on his way. I expected him to turn to go back upstairs to get his stuff. He did not. “Where’s your stuff?” I asked.

He’d lost it. Again. Everything. Kept only his I.D. and Independence card. Somewhere, sometime, while blacked out, he’d got up and left wherever he’d been, leaving behind all his belongings in a forgotten place.

In my immediately last prior post, “Me, me, me,” I said:

It’s not that I despised material possessions; I did not value them nearly as much as I (overwhelmingly) valued relationships. What I did despise was the desire for material possessions. As a result, now I have none.

Relationships are what I do have. They are my treasures in heaven.

(Reblogged 01/19/17.)
on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* Me, me, me.

(Originally published 06/06/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

This has been a very heavy day, and there’s a lot here. For the moment, at least, I will not try to organize this.

Darkness at times appears to serve Light; destruction, to serve creation.

It is a rude awakening for me to have to revisit the world of infantile self-centeredness, apparently to have to re-learn correctly this time (at age 57!) some things I didn’t learn correctly on the first go-round.

A world where it is correct for me to want things only for “Me, me, me!”
Continue reading * Me, me, me.

* Sifting dichotomies

(Originally published 06/08/13 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

In recent days, I’ve spent much time trying to sort out my understandings of Good and Evil, order and chaos, darkness and light. I read a lot about Zoroastrianism, wanting to be sure my thinking isn’t “dualist” like that religion. On 06/11/13, I wrote:

Like Manichaeism, a truly false religion, Zoroastrianism emphasizes a conflict between Good and Evil, which is absent from my thought. I prefer to think of something more like Yin/Yang.

Yin and Yang are both necessary, and alternate but don’t necessarily conflict. Yet the traditional concept of them also errs, trying to connect that same dichotomy to almost every other one imaginable:

hot and cold life and death
female and male young and old
too much and too little north and south (magnetic)
stability and change negative and positive (electrical)
past and future truth and error
large and small night and day
wet and dry creation and destruction
grace and works mercy and justice

I wrote 06/12/13:

So, needy people fail to make the transition from infantile to post-infantile behavior. Regardless of worldview, and contrary to the notion that self-love is subconscious, Christianity’s teachings would tend to facilitate that transition; people can consciously learn right conduct.

Transition is a key concept. One could ask if Good and Evil don’t just correspond to stability and change; Vishnu and Siva. But the nutrients in my bloodstream are destroyed and converted into wastes as I use them. Fire releases light and heat, but destroys that which it consumes; and, in most cases, produces wastes.

Many of these dichotomies are independent, and many — as with fire — involve ambiguities and shades of gray.

(Reblogged 01/05/17.)
on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* Giving it all away

(Originally published 05/09/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

At work on Tuesday 05/08/12, the radio station they had on the PA played Genesis’ “Giving it all away.”

People see things different ways given their personal circumstances.

I know nothing about Phil Collins personally. But in all likelihood, were he to “give it all away” as he understands it, he would probably have a lot left.

Not I.

All I own is the contents of two heavy bags. Giving it all away would be a simple gesture. And afterwards, I would have nothing.

———— ♦ ————

That afternoon, as usual, as soon as I got to my bunk I sat down and got out my medications for the evening. The guy assigned to the bunk above me was a newcomer, real clean-cut, a Jake Pavelka lookalike.

“Got any goodies in those pill bottles?” he asked.

“No,” I answered.

“It’d been cooler if you’d said yes,” he said.

As usual, I put my meds back in my zipper bag when I finished, and, as usual, I locked it.

Because of guys like him.

(Reblogged 12/29/16.)
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* Must I work for Rent-a-Bum?

(Originally published 08/11/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.)

If you go into a men’s room and see that someone’s taken his backpack and perhaps suitcase with him into the stall, you can conclude two things: (1) He’s homeless. (2) In his world, squalor is so intense he can’t leave his bags anywhere, or things will be stolen.

All kinds of people steal from the homeless.

They’ll steal your socks. It may only be a pair of socks, but if it’s your only pair of socks, it really hurts.

I stood smoking outside Dunkin’ Donuts and this man came up to talk. He was looking pretty rough. Walked on crutches, and one bare foot. He told me he’d spent the night outside, and while he slept, someone stole one shoe.

One of the few shreds of dignity left to me is that I don’t have to take my bags with me into the bathroom stall. At Dunkin’ Donuts or Lenny’s or the library, I leave my bags in a certain place and they’re all still there when I return. At the shelter, I stash my bags under the bunk, and no one disturbs them. I do lock the bag that has my phone, my cash and my prescriptions (link).

———— ♦ ————

I knew I was likely to become homeless months before it actually happened. I had contacts with the City’s Office of Homeless Services and obtained a list of shelters Continue reading * Must I work for Rent-a-Bum?

* Light Inside: A Hallowe’en Message

(Below appears a tract I passed out with the Hallowe’en candy in 2007. “Chaos overwhelms the poor” describes that neighborhood.)

Light Inside

Hallowe’en is the night before a Christian holiday. The name of the holiday is “All Saints’ Day.” Years ago, they called it “All Hallows’ Day,” and the night before, “All Hallows’ Evening.”

Trick or treat, jack o’ lanterns and all the stuff with ghosts, come instead from a pagan holiday called Samhein. These customs became attached to Hallowe’en, but are not really part of it. Hallowe’en comes on October 31 every year. Samhein comes on the first full moon after September 21, which can be any day between September 22 and October 19.

A jack o’ lantern is a pumpkin with the insides carved out, and a candle or other light inside. What about the light inside of you?

It was to people just like you, that Jesus said these words:

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

These words aren’t about believing anything. They’re not about going to heaven after you die. They are instead about what you are, here and now, and what you do, here and now.

  • You are God’s child. This does not depend on what you believe. Those to whom Jesus said these words, were not Christians; they weren’t “born again.” At the time he said this, no one but he alone knew that he would die and rise again to save the world from sin. You are God’s child now. Do you act like it?
  • You are the world’s light. The light inside a jack o’lantern makes the whole thing glow, and shines out into the world. In this world, in your world, that light which comes from inside you and shines out into the world, is the only light that matters.
  • Your good works won’t “save” you. No one can earn salvation. But your actions do have big effect, for good or harm, on your home, your family, and the ‘hood. Are your actions good?

On “All Saints’ Day,” the church remembers all those Christians who have gone before, who worked so hard to be faithful to what Jesus taught. The “communion of saints,” mentioned in the Creeds, means these souls are still available today, to support those who seek to continue in the same work they did. And it is work. Minimum requirements for anyone who wants to be about these things, include these four:

  • Weekly church attendance. The people there aren’t perfect. Their beliefs aren’t perfect, either. Go anyway. Nobody but the church is even trying to understand and live as Jesus taught.
  • Daily Bible study. Don’t rely on anybody else to tell you what the Bible says. Learn it for yourself. (Minimum: 15 minutes/day.)
  • Daily prayer time. This must include admitting one’s mistakes and accepting forgiveness for them. (Minimum: 15 minutes/day.)
  • Daily application of Jesus’ teachings as you understand them. This is not a matter of teaching them to others. It’s a matter of practicing them yourself. (Minimum: 24 hours/day.)

Your home, your family, the ‘hood all need your light and your good works.

Don’t wait for anything to change, before you will begin.

Do it now.

Start today.

(c) 2013 William Tell

(Reblogged 10/27/16.)
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

* Gimme

Proverbs 30:15: “The leech has two daughters. Their names are ‘Gimme’ and ‘Gimme.’”

———— ♦ ————

Saturday 05/12/12, 3:00 p.m. — I tired today of strangers asking me for things when I was on smoke breaks out in front of the library.

Other homeless guys have talked with me about this in the past, expressing similar frustrations.

People talk about “What goes around comes around,” but when it comes to this stuff, I don’t see it. In my years in the ’hood (Barclay area, 2006-2011) I got the definite impression that it’s always the exact same individuals asking, asking, asking, and the “blessing” never gets passed on, nor do they ever give back.

They’ll bleed you dry.
Continue reading * Gimme