Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Homeless: Not Worthy of Catching a Break?

“Stupid ass sign,” and “bozo,” were just a couple of the many other demeaning comments in a recent video by comedian, Vivian Lawrence, to homeless man, Ted Williams, and Doral Chenoweth III, who helped him (along with Dr. Phil).

She also implied that Ted would be a good candidate for denture and depends ads—supposedly something he’d be perfect for...

Apparently she was angry because of having a hard time getting work, having had such a long career (around 40 years), only to watch people such as this homeless man (in addition to other’s she’s angry about), rise to fame without having worked hard for it.

Ok, this is a valid point—working hard and not getting the work you feel you deserve for your efforts. But why demean others for getting breaks? Did she never catch a break in her some 40 years of show biz…? That’s highly doubtful.

It’s not uncommon to resent those that get everything for nothing. But Ted has nothing other the opportunity to work for what he wants.

It’s the chance Ted’s being given...the rest is up to him. He has to do the work—he’s going to have to stay sober, face his demons, and learn how to cope with challenges in healthier ways… No small feat!

And trying to overcome your adversities in front of the world may create a celebrity-like image and provide some opportunities, but it creates a ton of stress too, that he may or may not be able to handle. He’s going to have to work for it, and harder than many of us do.

Not everyone can cope with stress. Some people haven’t developed the skills to deal with even day-to-day challenges. They can’t handle some of the basic demands that most of us face.

So, Ted’s not out of the woods—not by a long shot. He still has to learn how to manage life, which is something he’s never learned to handle successfully.

He wasn’t able to handle his challenges in the past. But he’s been given an opportunity to learn the tools to cope with stressors he’ll be facing in his attempt at a normal life.

Being in the spotlight doesn’t make you a success. He can fall on his face just as fast as he got noticed, which may happen. But he deserves the chance, just like someone probably gave Vicki, along the way, when she started out doing what she wanted with her life.

This arrogant top-dog-bottom-dog attitude (I deserve this more than you), is what contributes to the anti-system behavior that people on the streets turn to… Who wants to be exposed to a society that demeans you and mocks the idea of you having a chance in life?

An interesting twist to this story is that Ted wasn’t holding a sign up for money (which we commonly see), he was asking for a job—he wants to work. And he got lucky when his interview with a reporter was posted online—he got jobs.

There’s a problem if we’re getting angry because someone who desperately needed a chance was given it. How is it bad to take a chance on someone who desperately needs it?

It’s a different story if it’s someone with a sense of entitlement, who expects everything to happen for them, without making any effort to acquire it.

But Ted has an incredible uphill battle to climb before he gets anything—he’s going to have to fight hard for his life—and he’s willing to try.

Regardless of the media bandwagon and show ratings, an opportunity was given to someone who needed it, and is appreciative of it.

He’s grateful for it, referring to it as a “blessing.” Maybe Vivian needs to learn a little more about appreciating, rather than criticizing the bits of roles she’s getting. Maybe it’s her attitude that’s sabotaging her opportunities, rather than others getting them.

So, what’s the greater issue here? Do we get angry because the media propels someone from dire circumstances toward a chance at a better life? Or do we root for Ted, and hope that he makes it? I know who I’m rooting for…!

Ted wants the help, and wants to do what he can to get better, so he can have a better life. He may make it, or not… But the issue is that someone who wanted, desperately needed, and is working for a chance was given it.

For more about Ted's story:

The Dr. Phil Show, “From Homeless to Hollywood”

1 comment:

  1. Very well said! Thanks for emailing me and for your encouragement!! Keep doing what you do!! :)