Friday, January 7, 2011

Rant #419: The "Golden Voice" or the "Golden Fraud"

Sorry, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but the latest feel-good story of the year is a fraud.

Nothing but a fraud.

No, I am not saying homeless person (read "bum") Ted Williams (love the name, though) was not a former sterling announcer who let his life be ruled by drugs and alcohol. I am not saying that he wasn't forced to live on the streets until some enterprising reporter posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging on the side of the road.

What I am saying is the question, "Is this really the feel-good story of the year?"

Offers are currently being thrown from every direction at this guy, this former homeless person, who chose a life of drugs and alcohol over that of an upstanding individual.

He has been in jail, fathered nine children, and ran away from life, and ran away from his responsibilities.

This is a feel-good story?

There are millions of people who are out of work today, not because they decided that they needed to run away from life, but because of circumstances beyond their control.

There are also millions out of work who aren't getting benefits anymore, and aren't even counted in the national averages.

They have mortgages to pay, families under their belts, and they don't run away, they do the best they can.

Former executives are mowing lawns for a living just to attempt to get by.

Now you have this bum, who decided that drugs and drink were more important than his career and family, all of a sudden becoming one of the most famous men in the country.

This fellow, who chose to run away from life, is not only getting a second chance, that second chance is coming at him like a herd of elephants.

The media has jumped all over this guy like a bees goes to honey.

He is now the voice of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. He has a gig with a cable channel, and has been offered a job with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Oh, how I wish the other millions who are unemployed were so lucky.

Somehow, I don't think that they are being drowned with offers left and right like this bum.

I think that since most people haven't had the experience of being out of work for any length of time, they are making this story into something it isn't. And that is really too bad, making those legitimately out of work into nothing more than an afterthought.

Let me tell you, several years ago, I was out of work, again not due to anything I did, but circumstances beyond my control.

I did everything I could to find work, and although I did odd jobs here and there, I couldn't find anything steady.

I have a college degree, as well as a master's degree.

One hiring "expert" actually had the nerve to say to me, "One day, you are going to become a millionaire, but right now, I have nothing for you."

I actually went on a television program and a radio program to try to find employment. I even handed out my resume at the local train station.

Nothing happened. I applied for upwards of over 800 jobs, and I couldn't find anything. Nobody would hire me.

After about a year and a half of this, and when my unemployment insurance was about to run out, and whatever other money I had was going, going, gone, I was forced to go to Social Services.

You are at the end of the line when you apply for Social Services. You are cooked. You have nowhere else to go.

I was turned down by Social Services. They decided, for some reason, that I had a pipeline of money to turn to in such circumstances, so they wouldn't help me. Not only didn't I have such a pipeline, but I was just about broke.

It must have been that I wore a suit at the interview I had--most indigent people there came in shorts and or sweats--and I was not the typical person who applies for such aid (I will let you read between the lines here).

Happily, right after this, I was hired. Although it was not a great job, and I was way overqualified for it, it lasted for three and a half year. Then, once again, I found myself out of a job not due to anything I did.

I was out for three months. My son was a newborn, just three months old, when I got let go.

I finally found work, again at a job that was far below my skills. I then found another job, and I have been employed by this company for the past nearly 15 years.

So, no, I don't think this guy is the feel-good story of the year. Nobody was throwing job offers at me, nor at the millions that are out of work right now.

I wish the guy luck, but please, let's not get all sappy and sugary about it.

This guy has done less to find a job, and get his life back in order, than the millions that are legitimately out of work, yet he is now on top of the world.

I have said it many times, and I am going to say it again ...

Only in America ...


  1. My guess this guy will be back on the streets within the year. Whole story seems manufactured to me but then i'm a cynic.

  2. Well, the guy does have a phenomenal voice. Yes, too bad he ran away from his responsibilities. I know nothing about him other than that video. I kind of think like Drake does, that he won't be a stranger to the streets again. Would be nicer(?) if he does some sort of cinderella makeover- gets his life on track, becomes famous as voice over guy and helps the homeless with his philanthropic efforts. But Walt Disney died when I was a kid. And the world has taught me to be a bit cynical as well.

  3. This one didn't smell right from the beginning. There was just something about it that kept me from jumping on the bandwagon. I didn't even talk about it on my site because, as cool of a human interest story it was, I felt manipulated and not in the good way.

    Thank you for articulating what I couldn't express. You framed it perfectly. Now everyone in power to do something about the unemployed will work half as hard because of how easy things went for this guy. They will think that everyone can find their way out of a hole by just being in the right place at the right time.

    Where is the media when we need a champion? All it took was John Stewart mentioning the importance and sheer decency of passing the 9/11 first responders bill and the Republicans went from planning to kill the bill to voting for it. The media has the power to frame issues in such a way as to get results but they have abandoned their responsibilities in favor of the latest bad celebrity behavior. Makes me sick.

  4. The whole thing just hits me the wrong way. One day, he is on the bottom of the barel, the next day he is on the top of the world. It just doesn't seem right. And what have the large corporations done for the people that have legitimately been laid off? They've outsourced their jobs overseas.

    Like I said, "Only in America ..."



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