Verbal Remedy AKA Denise

Verbal Remedy AKA Denise
Del Mar, California, The One That's In A State Of Steep Decline
January 18
Much preferred to the alternative.
Born. Grew up. Kept growing up. Started growing older. Still at both the growing up and growing older. Stay tuned.


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JULY 18, 2012 5:07PM

Live the Homeless Lifestyle! You Know You Want To!

Rate: 46 Flag
Oh, hi. I wasn’t expecting you so soon, or I’d have put some of my belongings into the NICE trash sack. 
Nobody will steal your stuff if Jesus is watching. Photo here.

Sorry I wasn’t able to set the table, because usually I just eat out of trashcans, unless I can make it to the soup kitchen. But I don’t like to do that, because I hear that soup kitchens and shelters lower property values. If that's the case, it would be self-defeating to inconvenience the hardworking taxpayers who support my lifestyle by dwelling anyplace other than this spot under a bush.

Anyway. Just this morning I found this really great half-eaten Carls Jr. Six-Dollar Burger. Hungry?

She should go for an endorsement deal with Pepsi.Original at The Guardian

Here, come sit with me on the splendid little urine-scented three square feet of pavement under this here bush I like to call “home.”

Look at that view, eh? A freeway over your head and a clear line of sight to a bunch of empty storefronts. I tell you, when I worked in the corporate world and had a home, I just didn’t know what I was missing. 

Livin la vida loca under I-5 in San Diego. Link takes you to source.

Which is why I gave it all up.

I mean, who in the hell wants to work, right? Not me. That’s why I’m homeless.

I see all you people, going to and from your sad little “jobs,” not dressed in tattered, stained, smelly clothes fished out of dumpsters and holey shoes, them and I just think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” 

I used to wear Blahniks. Source

Look at Maureen and her two kids over across the street under the mock orange bush. Wouldn’t you rather be living like that than enslaved by employment? What do you really know about freedom if you can’t be with your kids 24/7 in the great outdoors? Plus now that she’s homeless she doesn’t have to worry about rent, so she was able to quit prostitution. (Although she told me last week that she still occasionally gets raped and beaten. So I guess there are still a few issues we who have voluntarily chosen the “homeless lifestyle” could work on.)

I actually pity all you "homeful" people. You’re slaves. You seriously don’t know what you’re missing as you hide behind roofs and walls and bed and furniture and so many changes of clothes, they don’t even fit in two Hefty bags. 

Oh, sure, you may think you’re a great success with that sportscar that takes you to work, but I have a shopping cart and no car payments. 

Who says you can't have it all? (Image: Getty images, David McNew)

You know what freedom is? Being able to move everything you own from this bush to that spot under a storefront awning during the rainy season, or when the cops make you to move along. That’s what.

No sir, THIS is the life. Homelessness. Sponging off society. Relying on the good will of the government that steals money from decent working people so I can totally bask here in luxury all day long every day with my friends. (I call them my friends, even though most of them are nuttier than a Skippy factory and most of ‘em can’t hold a conversation because they haven’t been able to find a decent supply of antipsychotics in nearby refuse bins…but hey, they’re company, and at least they never talk about ROI or leveraging assets. Those two guys over there occasionally mention DOD, but then they usually spit and say “cocksucking motherfuckers.”)

Support Our Troops: Buy a car magnet. After that you have no moral obligation whatsoever.

Oh, and speaking of antipsychotics, did I tell you about the free health care? That’s right! No “Obamacare” for me. (I read about that in some overnight cover-up. By the way, where did all the day-old newspapers go? It’s getting kind of chilly and there don’t seem to be as many of them this year.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I get health care over at the shelter clinic. They’re open every evening for a couple of hours. And as long as I am certifiably, genuinely, truly homeless (which I am, because this piece of sidewalk doesn’t belong to me but nobody else is willing to fight me for it), they can give me things like antibiotics or antifungals to clear up this rash I have from…well, hell, I don’t know what it’s from but that’s not important…anyway, they can give it to me for free.

If I were staying at the homeless shelter, though, they’d have to charge me. (Not that there's any room there, and all you homeful people are doing a really good job of making sure nobody builds new ones—so hey, thanks for the assist there.)

Protect our homeful children...fuck the homeless ones, though. Source

See how smart I am, living outside in the elements here, doing all my business (including shitting and pissing) out in the open? (Be careful about that, by the way, because outdoor elimination is against the law and you could be hauled off to jail for it. I’ve been there. The food’s worse than this half-eaten Six Dollar Burger there, but at least it’s dry.) 

Anyway, I’m glad you let me show you around. You should consider switching lifestyles, too, and get free stuff from the government. Homelessness is totally America’s Best-Kept Secret

What a country, huh?

U-S-A!  U-S-A!!

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Because some dinner conversation with Republicans makes me so frakking angry, it forces me to blog for the first time in a bronze age.
Today, we stood with Women In Black to honor the lives of the homeless who died on the street this month. We also honored a woman we called "Grandma" who was a Holocaust Survivor...a Holocaust Survivor, utterly alone, dying in a shelter...this is not My America...
Thank YOU, Robin.

I suppose I should tag this for the Taxes open call, because taxes used to pay for things like mental health facilities before Ronald Reagan shut them all down and turned the patients out into the streets.

But since now it's totally OK to say you oppose homeless shelters because they bring down property values OUT LOUD (never mind that it isn't fucking true), so taxes apparently won't ever do that again.

Go to see you posting Denise!

You write forcefully and clearly about a serious problem that many of us prefer to ignore.. The fictions that the Republicans create are infuriating.

Would you consider cross-posting this to the alternate site lorianne has set up - Our Salon? It's a spam-free place.
I'm happy to see you back and as powerful as a writer as do people imagine the homeless get that way. If the right people would just listen...
Nominated for an RP anyone wishing to second go here please
Reader's Picks
Denise, very well written.

I enjoyed the sarcastic overtone very much. There is some honesty in your words which leads to many other questions.

I wonder why they are homeless in the first place. Are they run a ways, which had a decent enough childhood but thought the “grass is greener” on the other side? Did they drop out of school because they were too cool for school? Did they tell their boss to shove it; I ain’t working here no more, because they don’t like people to tell them what to do?

Did they get so far in debt staying in college without working a lick, thinking they would be handed money because they have an education? Did they not think about what degree and career to follow before majoring in something and finding out later, the world has too many of them already? Will they not work a job because it is beneath them? Do they choose to live that way? Did they make BAD choices and this is Karma? Are they able to work?

One never knows until you speak with the homeless hitch hiking on the interstate headed to Atlanta or on the streets at a bus stop, metro area, or in a park in Washington D.C., as you and your family tour the nation’s capital. So far, all I hear is excuses and complaining and the ones I talked to (minus the hitch hiker who was very honest and blamed no one but himself) wanted to blame everyone else for their misfortune as they told how they got to where they were.

Again, very well written, but I have to ask myself more questions now after reading it. Oh well, I guess I will continue to volunteer at the food bank as I believe it is the right thing to do no matter how they got there in the first place.
Now I feel doubly bad about having to evict our jobless/ex-convict/mentally-ill tenant, although I don't know what else we could have done other than what we did -- giving him plenty of chances to pay, offering to take payment by the week, etc. In the end, I know we did all we could do. We acted as a safety net for him for a while but we have a mortgage on the property and could not afford to carry him indefinitely. Mostly I keep thinking back to my grandmothers who worked at the Chattahootchee mental hospital at about the time those institutions were being dismantled. I KNOW there were plenty of problems with those institutions but the wholesale dismantling meant that a lot of folks who had no skills or means or capacity to care for themselves were and are being dumped onto the street, cycled in and out of emergency rooms and temporary facilities, at a high cost. It would be better if we accepted the fact that there's a significant population that will need permanent, longterm care and monitoring.
We didn't have a widespread homeless problem in this country until the mass closures of care facilities and deinstitutionalizations under Reagan (in the very first round of the destruction of the country in the guise of "tax cuts" and "smaller government).

Bellwether, you shouldn't have to help one person all by yourself. But as a society, we have marginalized, punished and penalized the weakest and the least able to care for themselves. When an otherwise intelligent person declares himself in opposition to homeless shelters, as a relative of mine did recently (and goes so far as to attend meetings to oppose them), we've lost our collective humanity.

Simply American, if you click on any or all of the links in that story, you'll discover many root causes that don't boil down to personal irresponsibility. I invite you to do so. Especially the last link, which is a comprehensive government-sponsored report.

We aren't doing ourselves any favors by creating an American version of India's Untouchables.
Great post. Seattle first developed a homeless problem in the early 80s. This was in part due to Reagan's cuts and in part due to downtown "development" that tore down on the single unit rental buildings where the mentally ill had always live. At present most of Seattle's mentally ill population lives on the street or in King County Jail. The jail has one of the best mental health units in the state.
"Buy a car magnet. After that you have no moral obligation whatsoever." That had me literally laughing out loud. Texas radio is full of the same talk that no doubt inspired this. You hear the same thing about prisoners' "country club" prisons - the ones that have no air conditioning in 100+ heat.

America is the most economically savage of all the Western countries. I laughed when a (well to do) immigrant told me that. Best social freedom but you you're royally fucked without a dollar.
You should have dinner with Republicans more often if it results in something as good as this.

Junior Brown wrote a song about this subject, called "They Don't Choose To Live That Way". I don't know how anyone can really believe that people (families with children, especially) would choose something so miserable.
Denise, it is a very strong, true work the one you have written here, and thank you for this.
I had to go to event last night with some people who really need to read this. And the thing I could not figure out was, how to I get people to GET this??? I don't think it could be written any better than you did right here. This is fantastic. But I know they won't read it. So, as the "event" (OK it was a baseball game) went on, I tried to think of a way to say this that was as short as possible. And all I could come up with was "I am more scared of rich people than I am of poor people."

I said that and they had no clue what I was talking about.

Where is the button I can push that makes this piece go viral????
(Nutjob, I briefly toyed with the idea of deleting your comment for flat-out racist language, but I think I'll just let it sit there and fester.)
Denise, The satire in my post was to point out that there are soooo many reasons people become homeless that they are responsible for. I would like to see (healthy) people take responsibility for their actions or lack of actions that greatly contributed to their situation. Keep in mind, I at no way saying it is completely an individual fault. There are many factors (not just one) that contribute to the challenge of homelessness.

I at no way deny the need for men and women to remove themselves by whatever means from a horrible abusive situation; guess what, you are looking at one who did. The emotional toll mental illness plays on someone even if they are being treated is undeniable; again, been there, done that, have the T-shirt and it has holes. I don’t deny the tragic event in one’s life; Father died very young or try having your soldier die in your arms and see his life leave his body despite all that you do to save him. Or traumatic brain injury and from the impact that you lost any memory of a certain period of time in your life you will never get back; yep check that one off too. Divorce, yes,… a death from suicide… check. Oh, how about single parenthood… yep, I was a single dad raising 3 children ages 5 and younger by myself at the ripe old age of 24. Heck I can go on and on… statistically I have to be an anomaly! Or is it something else? I keep telling myself I should write a book, but I don’t spell very well and I am horrible at written. However, my strength is leading by example and not just talking the talk…

Why is it, I have never been homeless? Out of a Job? In an institution? The answer is, (for healthy people) I refused to be a victim or just another statistic. That is why I mentor and teach others who have lost hope. I almost did many times, but it wasn’t the government who lifted me up, it was a neighbor. Once we get past the looking only after ourselves and blaming others will we move forward.

If you are healthy, take some responsibility of your actions and I will give you the shirt off my back. Deny any fault is your own and it is everyone else’s and I will turn my back to you in a heartbeat. Yes, when life throws you lemons… make lemon aid! It isn’t easy but you have to do what you have to do. Donate Plasma twice a week, work odd and end jobs, knock on resident doors and ask them if they have any work (yard work) to do for money, collect cans, go to a farmer and tell them you will work for food or bag groceries for free (internship), sweep hair at a barbershop, etc… (PUT PRIDE AWAY, there is no place for it) where there is a will there is a way.

Solution: I would not rely on the government to solve homelessness. It is our job as fellow Americans to solve it. Each community should come up with solutions (do not exclude religion) and the states will follow. Keep BIG Federal Government out of it, because if they get their hands in anything they ruin it, spoil it, corrupt it and then no one gets the help they need.

Sorry I blabbered on, but this subject hits me in the heart. I am tired of excuses and blame, let’s move on with solutions.
this is an excellent post.

nutjob - living up to your name i see. here is the problem... right in your very comment: "There's plenty of blame to go around ..."

blame doesnt feed anybody, nor provide them with the basic needs.
blame accomplishes nothing except to allow one group to feel smugly superior.

I'm surprised to see you mention you fed your family from a dumpster... usually a bout with poverty leaves a person with some much needed humility and gratitude when they recover.
The mentally ill are among the most terrible of these cases, but it is all bad. Those who congratulate themselves on their largess miss the point entirely. But, of course, that's to be expected. It must be the fault of the person who is homeless, no matter the situation. If it isn't, it could happen to any of us. And a lot of people can't face that reality, which isn't for sissies. Plus, any excuse to feel superior!

As for your racist up there, I'm glad you left it. It reveals his true, vile self so fully. There's no mistake in what he is.
You go girl! This was the best rant and sarcasm in ages. Zumapick.
You go to dinner with Republicans? Are you a masochist? Are you into M&Ms?
WOW! Where have you been, hiding under a bridge or something?
Great piece as always and great to see you around again. I think we're all going to get a taste of that 6 dollar burger sooner than we want
could there really be a rebuttal to this magnificent rant?
Not just since the Bronze Age, Verbal. I think your previous post was in proto-Sumerian. In this age of Citizens United, it's not as if the homeless can fund a SuperPAC to buy the political power that will restore the pre-Reagan assistance.
the problem with homeless people is, they mostly want to live. this is short sighted. just imagine for a moment if half of america's homeless set themselves on fire in the public park, and the other half started a fire under parked cars or threw a fire bomb into a bank.

such a policy would turn them from invisible losers into the saints of the revolution.
I want to dine with both sides, same table!! I bet that would be a laugh riot!

Oh yeah, HI VERBAL!! *WAVES* :D
Think! Speak! Write! Never be silent!
Very good post, Denise.
Please allow the suggestion that the vision includes (toward macro solution) expansive eco-friendly Domes. Homeless people would then have guaranteed shelter. Such centralized urban centers would be staffed by professionals as well as paid homeless part-time workers to maintain the flora, fauna and fish ponds. Counseling and other safety net medical kiosks would turn no one away. Free meals. Casual schooling. Transport to countryside Domes for psychological relief would also be readily available. Micro cottage industries such as manufacture of ceramic poetry plaques, knitting, jewelry, carving, elocution, creative writing, and so forth. Reading seminars and problem solving discussion groups, gardening, and general humanistic helpfulness would be readily accessible at the Domes with no obligation. Entertainment would include evening films on the roof, puppet shows, parlor games and blogging, as further example. Stationary exercise bicycles etc wind power etc solar power etc would generate electricity.
Ladies and gentleman the resources are available. A nation as wealthy as the U.S.A. could afford one square mile Dome for every 1,000,000 of population.
A public work project this vast would do much to alleviate the synthetic problem.
Maybe we are all too selfish? .
So pleased to see your insidgt, tone, perspective here once again, Denise. Your eye is remarkable.

I think this piece dovetails well w the one I'll post in a few minutes. You'll tell me if you think so.


only time I heard a politician talk about the homeless was John Edwards. Obama won't even mention the lower or working class. Reagan set it all up, but we all have been obligingly goose-stepping by the homeless for three decades. no wonder denial and ostrich position is most comfortable for the citizens. yeah, I know Romney and the free stuff stuff was nauseating, but there is so much and so MANy that nauseate. good job. best, libby
jesus christ. i must have the perimenopausal pms bc i am totally bawling.

the mayor of the nearby tiny city that has 50% poverty among homeOWNERS, not just renters, hates the poor and is convinced that if we get rid of services, they will leave. he would love for the soup kitchen to close, and if we move, they have guaranteed there will be no new permit given to move the 42 homeless people who currently have rooms there, to move whereever we go. oh christ i hate people right now.

great effective post, verbal. thank you. those shoes.
This cannot be true. Obama ran on Hope and Change and said he'd take care of all of this bad stuff. And if this is actually happening after his 3.5 years in office....? No, it cannot be true.
I'm gobsmacked. Best post ever!
And.... you answered my rhetorical question with full marks.
i'm read this yesterday but am glad i waited until this morning to write this so i could read the comments from the well-informed intellectuals among us like crazy al and the stunningly awful ms. young.

you are correct that reagan's outrageous behavior started the tide swelling - and the ultimate irony is it was pitched as restoring individual rights, that the disastrously mentally ill couldn't be held in a psychiatric facility unless they were demonstrably a danger to themselves or others, then the effective removal of most of the safety net and the further stigmatization of mental illness. the majority of the chronic homeless are mentally ill, many of them are alcoholics and physically very ill. they will never not be living on the streets unless their underlying diseases are addressed. the few private orgs (like fr. joe carroll's st. vincent de paul center in san diego, which has been a target of people like you describe, not wanting "it" in their neighborhoods) don't have enough resources. so unless government - city, state, federal - gets involved, they will be homeless. and the ignoramuses you describe can have destitute, dirty, drunk people begging on the sidewalks and peeing in the alleys downtown - which they apparently think is a better thing to have in a neighborhood than a building where they can be housed and fed and helped.
Thanks, (almost) everybody. Seriously, I can deal with being shouted down and condescended with talking points on most issues, but an utter lack of compassion for the most miserable among us is not one of them.

(Ms. Young, my most insightful dear, I'll reserve a spot for you at the table right between my stepfather and my uncle. Truly, you share the same dizzying intellect.)

Finally, Simply are drawing an entirely false and artificial dichotomy between "government" and "fellow Americans." We ARE the government. Of the people, by the people, for the people. Remember?
Denise, (greatly appreciate the dialogue)

Nope not at all an artificial dichotomy, I specified "… BIG federal Government…” versus local communities up to State Government; there is a huge difference. It seems a lot of people are waiting for Big Federal Government to fix things; which is sad… the beginning starts with us is my point! There is not a cookie cutter solution to the homeless challenges out nation faces. With this being a fact… each community and state continues to have their own challenges; hence the solution does not reside in federal government but in each other, local communities and states.

I wish our nations representatives were still “of the People”, not …

… I, the political party or special interest agenda, before my constituents that our political system has now become.

I appreciate all the links in your post, drugs and alcohol seem to be always up there in any statistical analysis for a root cause of the homeless – I disagree. I cannot stress this enough. First you have to understand the problem. As an example: Are drugs and alcohol the problem or did it start with the individual’s choice to use drugs or drink alcohol in excess (prior to them becoming dependent) the problem? It is hard for people to grasp this, I know, but…

A little responsibility of one’s own actions does go a long way, instead of blaming others. It is this proven fact that taking individual responsibility starts the road to recovery for anyone with an addiction… but it is so easy to blame drugs, alcohol or BIG Federal Government, rather than accept a fact and take individual responsibility… just saying
Like Candace, I read this early yesterday and waited to see other comments. They run the gamut, without any surprises from the least compassionate who troll the internet.
Powerful piece.
( could have used a warning you were taking us to Bill O'Reilly )
homeful! great addition to my lexicon.
i was homeless once, then i got a room.
turns out the homeless were an interesting bunch of citizens.
now that i am, ah, semi-homeful, i miss the truth
of my former desperate situation. luckily i
retain my contacts...

what a fine piece.
Very insightful piece.

To offer my two cents to some of the commenters: many of the folks that suffer from homelessness have problems with substance abuse, legal and otherwise. However, after talking to some of them, you begin to realize the abuse is an attempt at self-medication. The real problems are things like PTSD, sexual abuse, emotional instability. Things that they themselves did not cause, yet society would rather try to ignore instead of actually trying to help overcome. And since society wishes to make them go away, they have little choice but to try to solve the problems on their own, and substance abuse is the quickest way to ease the pain.

In a slightly related matter, a number of years ago I listened to a co-worker fume about the introduction of a group home for the intellectually challenged members of the community. Her complaint was, of course, how it would drive down property values.

This rant came after a 15-minute detailing of how devout a Catholic she was, and having never missed a single Mass in over a decade.

My point to all this is: for those that wish to blame the homeless for their plight, I would encourage you to look at the things you dislike in your own lives and honestly admit how much you are to blame for them.

But, but- the economy is improving- the Rethuglicans said so..
Brilliant piece. Too bad those who really need to see it and understand the ramifications of life for those at the bottom and with no safety net never will.
Good to see you and thanks for the invite, tho like Mitt Romney the plight of the homeless isn't my favorite dinner table conversation. Oh well, as Mitt and Ann always say, "Let 'em eat cake."
A double ironic-backflip with a sarcastic half twist? The "free stuff" reference clinched it. r
I guess I've never really thought about it, but now I can't see any alternative to help coming from the federal government. If local communities and states have been so mindful of society's needs and so efficiently generous, where are the results? We have seen that in lots of (so-called) communities in the US solidarity is a myth. Leaving welfare to faith-based organizations is an option, but not a good one IMHO. A head-to-head comparison with countries that allocate more national revenue to welfare can show what works.
Easily the best and funniest piece I've read in a while. And yet, no EP or even OS Editors' Pick. Same as it ever was.
Of course I meant OS Readers' Picks.
You may not write often, but you do write powerful.
deborah young - you embarrass yourself with that response. as you know i am far far from an obama fan - in fact, i want desperately to not vote for him. but it is foolish to think he could have accomplished anything with all the racists in congress who have one goal only - make the black man fail. i mean, its appalling to me that you would stand behind people who will gladly see america fail, long as the black guy in charge fails in the process.
Excellent Post! Rated and Favorated :)
Powerful post, Denise. "Homeful" is a mouthful.
In my youth, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s there were almost no homeless people in America. Only a few 'winos' on "Skid Row" in big cities like San Francisco; that is, people, usually adult men plagued by a combination of poverty and alcoholism. I don't think people realize how much homelessness in America is new, is a recently-created human disaster. This is not "the way it has always been." It's a product of capitalist development and government policies over the past 30 or so years. It is a new and man-made problem. [r]