by Flix Darkblud, Ghost and Critic-at-Large
|Sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings.|
7 September 2010. Homer Teabury really should have thought twice in December of 2007—well over two years ago, nearly three--before deserting his job as a well-paid academic and launching a far less remunerative career as--ahem, ahem--a homeless blogger, essentially writing about his crackpot self. Such is my opinion, bluntly put. Not that Homer’s blogs have no redeeming qualities, but those qualities do not reside in the realm of journalism, even when written in the emotionally charged voice of his alter-ego Homeless T.
Mr. Teabury’s “Homeless Like Me”--carried only on Google’s “blogspot,” despite his efforts to find syndication--chronicles the ex-professor’s life as a 57-year-old, newly made homeless person. In late 2007, he vowed that his research and writings on underclass mores, street people, and life inside the shelters would transcend his former efforts to outrage and titillate with text. His goal was to restore a human face to urban poverty--too bad it turned out to be his own, childish and dirty.
Problematic was his admission that he self-destituted through addiction to concubines and casino gambling. His second marriage in 2010--to a small town mother of three, 30 years his junior, living with her children at her parents’ home--didn’t do much for his credibility either. If his marketing plan included establishing empathy within hearts of a mainstream homeless readership, he was sorely misguided. His true confessions achieved just the opposite.
“Time will tell if his narrative flights constitute something useful, and somehow redemptive,” I wrote on New Years Day of 2008, “--or devolve back to the self-indulgent wheel-spinning that characterizes his earlier efforts as a writer of fiction.” The result quickly became clear. The passage of time and his literary education were not his allies, for the truths he set out to reveal did not lend themselves to fluffing or speculation.
Although Homeless T was alone, broke, and drifting from shelter to shelter, he couldn’t resist portraying the underclass from an elitist worldview. Too bad. Thousands of men, women, and families might’ve benefited from useful insights and information aimed at them, written in words from the heart.
In 2008, his fallen status was dropped further by catastrophes in his social, professional, and family lives. His wife, friends, and employers--fed-up and resentful about his brash, life-long conceitedness—took to stacking the deck and as they all upped the stakes of their respective divorces, banishment, and terms of separation. What was different about this crisis except its confluence of three hateful parties? To Homer Teabury, duh, not much.
He reacted to this exponential onslaught of commupence as if he had simply waylaid himself in another cavalier misadventure—in this case, a big one, actually several misadventures at one stroke. Still, his tone implied it was all old hat to him. He was broke! So what! He’d left the world’s cushiest job. Big deal. His wife, family, and friends had turned against him. This too will pass. He had reversed such misfortunes on many occasions similar to the present, if not quite so global. “Things will turn around as they always do” he wrote before reality set in.
However, this time around friends, family, employers--and soon to be added, two criminal cases at law—seemingly conspired to push him harder and hold that line, unfortunately for him--en masse. I almost pitied the fool.Tommy picked up a Trespassing w/Injury to Officer charge, followed within weeks by a Domestic Assault Causing Serious Injury and Mental Illness charge—in addition to his ongoing divorce case, now in its second year.
For the first time in his life, the man known as “The Professor” among his fellow travelers of the Underclass found it impossible to reconstitute himself. He felt for the first time the true emotional pit most down-and-out people live in every day: no matter how hard Homeless T tried, no matter how novel the scheme to rise again, there was no climbing back to what he had once been. His powers of persuasion were useless in light of the technical volume of his problems, resolve of his adversaries, and complete lack of legal and logistical support. At least now, his claim to underclass homelessness was authentic. He couldn’t even get a job as a busboy.
When first we heard the persona of Homeless T, he sounded near the end, although he was whining well before his life bottomed out. His voice seemed to echo from the bottom of some uncovered well or venereal mantrap that he had fallen into--or more likely, thrown himself into--yet it resonated with a witty pathos that belied his self-assurance, his overweening conceitedness. That was before he got knocked down to his life's nadir: homeless, without family, friends, job, love or money, and with D.A.’s from two counties out for his blood. Worse, conditions appeared likely to remain bad, or grow worse, for a period with no published end point anybody could see. No sweat, right Homeless T?
When his formerly charmed life turned cursed, despite his new untouchability, Homeless T still could not set down his braggadocio: “My confluence of misfortunes has jet-powered my creativity,” he wrote in 2009. “I am experiencing a creative renaissance as I lie here in the gutter”—and perhaps he was.
Nonetheless, his was an ironic renaissance. He no longer had means to market all the new work he touted—either musical or literary—and he had lost sufficient credibility even to court those who might consider backing him. As he wrote in a moment of clarity, "Life has utterly spit me out"--and so it had.
Still, the narcissist in him lived—although with grandiosity collapsed to the juvenile. His nerves surely had given out when he began likening his numerous downscale dilemmas to the tails of gaudy-feathered stud peacocks--overburdened by nature’s design, he claimed, to demonstrate its vast superiority.
He clung to egotistical delusion--no encumbrance could stop him!--nor was any combination of earthbound misfortunes sufficiently potent to thwart his immanent, fated greatness. If it had been changed, it was into a modern-day rendition of the biblical Job’s woes. Yes, it would require both God and Satan to lay him low! Vain hogwash from a bum nearly 60!
Even the cockiest of peacocks must make or take his quietus like the rest; or at least give the world some relief by taking up some less visible vocation. Can one who has lost (or thrown away) everything he possessed ever hope to regain it? With pending results so discouraging, I recommend less writing and more reading, beginning with this practical book:
--F.D., LAKE GENEVA, 7 Sept 2010