Ted Williams, America’s hottest new celebrity, has me tormented. And no, I’m not talking about Ted Williams, the great homerun hitter.
This Ted Williams had struck out in every aspect of his life. He was a homeless radio announcer, discovered in poverty, living on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Turns out he had the life of Lucifer, but the voice of God.
Ted once had a good career as a radio announcer but lost his way to demons of depression, drugs and alcohol. He has several felony convictions for theft, more kids than Snow White had dwarfs and more excuses for himself than my 13-year-old son when he doesn’t turn in his homework.
It had been years since Ted even spoke to his kids or his aging mother, never mind take care of them.
So when a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch discovered Ted on the streets, heard him speak and posted a video on You Tube, Ted became an overnight sensation. He was the coveted guest on every morning talk show, the feature in every major newspaper, and the person I couldn’t get out of my head because I felt conflicted and confused.
You see the homeless man with the powerful vocal chords became an overnight sensation. The Cleveland Cavaliers gave Ted a house, that’s right – an all expense paid house plus an announcing job introducing the Cavaliers before home games . Kraft Inc. “krafted” a superstar when they offered Ted a job voicing commercials for macaroni and cheese. Dr. Phil had Ted on his talk show and offered him counseling and a free ride through rehab – to make sure the drugs and the booze don’t become part of his entourage in the new found fame.
Bottom line, Ted got a free ride . So here’s what plagues me.
Part of me is bitter because I have many former announcer or reporter friends who have hit hard times. These are hard working folks who lost TV or radio jobs because of a shrinking journalism industry that kicked them out with no parachute or paparazzi to land them in the national spotlight. They don’t turn to drugs, alcohol or crime to solve their problems. They don’t run from their responsibilities. They live on macaroni and cheese –and would kill for a job as the voice of macaroni and cheese.
So I get burned up when America hands Ted Williams the keys to the American Dream when he ran like a coward. Does he deserve all this?
Without waiting on the unemployment line and feeling the stress of supporting a family, Ted ran from his family and got rewarded with a great job. Without the agony of a late mortgage payment or two or three ,Ted copped out, lived on the streets and was rewarded with a free house. Without sucking it up and working some minimum wage job at a Big Box store like some of my old journalism pals, Ted got fame and fortune handed to him. Without succumbing to the hell of alcohol, (I had a friend , a mother of two, die from liver complications due to alcohol abuse) Ted gets free rehab when most sufferers would love to go to rehab but just can’t afford it.
Where is the justice I ask?
Then my conscious steps in. I go to church on Sunday and learn in the Bible that life is about forgiveness, and second chances. After all, what would Jesus do? Well, Jesus was a carpenter and would have probably built Ted a house, made him head of the table at the Last Supper and washed his feet. What’s wrong with you Sue? Repent with three Hail Marys ! Ted deserves redemption NOT ridicule!
So where do you stand? Are you convicted or conflicted like me?
Pipe up, and in the meantime, I’m considering setting up shop on a street corner with a sign that reads: Single mom with two boys looking for fame and fortune, just by living on the street .
Dr. Phil, I’m ready for my close up.