Warning: Morality Tale
I really believe that's it's hard to know someone without knowing where they came from. Obviously, I am going to hold some opinions that may be hard for the normies out there to understand. I will react to some things in quite a different way from folks who haven't been where I've been. I have made some eFriends (a couple-three-four of whom I believe I could just call friends if all of this electronic nonsense were removed), and those people should know why I believe the things I believe, and why I react the way I do.
Apart from that, though, I want to put aside the idea that things like recovery from addiction and homelessness are things that people should be ashamed of or afraid of talking about. I was a horrible drunk — more than nineteen years ago. I am sure that my friends and family didn't speak of it proudly. My co-workers and supervisors probably didn't brag about having the highest-flying, least-reliable SOB who ever lived on their crew (and YOU can't have him, nah nah nah nah nah nah). When I entered recovery, I sure didn't want anyone knowing who I was. Oddly, I had no problem demonstrating addictive and impaired behaviour in public; it was sobriety that was a problem, I guess.
I am an alcoholic and a multiple-drug addict. I will be that until the day I die. I am not ashamed of my condition, any more than I would be ashamed of having leukemia that was in long-term remission. No-one can hold my deep, dark secret against me unless I try to keep it secret.
At least the first few steps on the road to addiction were voluntary. I can see how some people might be inclined to attach a moral turpitude tag to that aspect of my past. People who don't drink can never be alcoholic; those who don't do drugs will never become addicted to them. (I exclude here those who have become addicted to narcotics due to poor medical practice.) What I can't wrap my tiny little mind around is how people can attach the same attitude to something like poverty; yet I can say that I was treated with more scorn and disdain as a sober homeless man who spent every penny he could scrape up at Kinko's printing resumes than I was as a raging, but employed, everything-oholic.
Something about that strikes me as wrong. Yes, we're all aware of the folks who are left on the streets because of ridiculous libertarian attitudes towards people with severe mental illness, and there is that segment of the population, particularly among youth, who ain't gonna kowtow to The Man no matter what the personal consequences may be — at least until they've had a proper chance to evaluate those consequences. There are those, though, who have just had a string of bad luck.
There are a few of you out there, I suspect, who believe (as I do) that I have at least a budding aptitude for this line of work, yet I spent nearly five years shining shoes (and losing tech currency with each passing day) before I was able to land a zero-expectations, probationary, entry-level job. I'm not the only useful person who has ever been dealt a few bad blows in life — I met few folks on my journey who should have been doing something more than looking for their next meal. What this all boils down to is a plea that you try to judge people on the basis of who they are as individuals. You never know who you might find if you can look past the shabby clothes for a second or two.