I rarely blog about my personal
situation; but, this is one such occasion. In the six years since I
began blogging, I've written about how my birth parents fractured my
skull when I was eight months old, how I spent five years as an only
child in a foster home and how I was adopted by a Polish man and an
Italian woman who bore seven children and adopted 30 including
myself. One brother has passed away. I've also written about a
disagreement that led to me not speaking to my mother from April 1998
until August 2009.
I haven't blogged in the past
about a girlfriend who passed away on August 11th, 1994
after we'd been together for four years and who would've celebrated a
birthday on September 19th if she were living. I guess
you can say that I've had a rough life; but, I'm not one to cower in
a corner with my head in my hands or to wallow in pity. That truth
about me is the impetus for this post; because, my propensity for
moving quickly toward solutions has not always been well-received.
When I do
talk about how I became homeless, it's usually part of a larger
conversation or speech and I tend to give scant details so as to move
quickly back to the larger conversation. I often tell high school,
college and university students, “I worked at Shands Hospital in
Gainesville, Florida from May 1988 to February 1994. [Gory job
description which includes incinerating amputated body parts] I had a
falling out with my boss and walked off of the job on Valentine's Day
1994 which was the day before my 25th birthday. I got my
last check soon thereafter, went back to New Jersey, spent my money
on a hotel and ended up at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission at 2009
I'll begin the story of how I
became homeless by first taking you back to October 1988. I'd been
working at Shands Hospital for five months when Lynn Carese Allen
(October 26th, 1969 to present) began working there in the
same month as her 19th birthday. (Prior to that, I'd been
the youngest of 4,500 employees.) She worked for the hospital's
contract security firm, Globe Security. We became very good friends.
Lynn left a year later and returned in 1990. Shands had developed
in-house security by that time and she began to work the information
desk, as opposed to her former duty guarding the entrance to the
emergency room – the post where I initially met her.
Lynn worked evenings from 3 to
11:30 PM. I worked the night shift for all of my six years there (and
pulled many double shifts) starting at 10 or 11 PM and getting off at
6:30 or 7:30 AM – with my schedule having been subject to that
slight change based on a number of circumstances. I would often clock
in, see how much there was to do, work for 30 to 45 minutes and then
go speak with Lynn for 30 to 45 minutes. I was so good at my job that
I could do everything in five hours or so and take three hours of
break per night. On my off nights, my relief could work the whole
eight hours with a half hour lunch and still not get everything done.
My supervisor knew how much break I took but didn't mind due to me
finishing everything and being willing to work through my regular
breaks and skip lunch on hectic nights. This gave me plenty of time
to spend with Lynn.
She and I would talk about a wide
range of things, rap together and just have an all-around good time
on the clock. I would often walk her to her car. I was a tractor
driver. The vehicle was a Taylor-Dunn tractor (essentially a forkless
forklift) with trailers behind it. It was similar to the small trains
used to load luggage on airplanes. In the 1990's Shands, along with
other connected buildings, was part of the second largest continuous
building in the country when you measure the floor space, surpassed
only by the Pentagon. It might be number one at this point. Due to
the building's sheer size, the tractor drivers would drive in new
supplies and clean linen and drive out trash and dirty linen. We'd
incinerate red-bag trash, compact white-bag trash, bail cardboard and
put large trash in the dumpster. I often had to ask Lynn to call her
fellow security personnel to open hospital Stores (the warehouse on
the west end of the building near the loading dock) so that I could
get a tractor off of charge and put the one with a low battery on
charge. That gave me a way out if one of her superiors might ever
accuse her of goofing off.
In the summer of 1993 I noticed
awkward behavior on Lynn's part. She was out of work for a couple of
weeks. Another woman named Maxine Mingo who also worked at the
information desk and was 51 in 1993 was both a good friend of mine
and a mother figure to Lynn. Maxine told me that Lynn was in a
hospital – not Shands – and didn't want visitors. I wouldn't see
Lynn until she returned to work and she refused to talk about why she
was hospitalized. I took it in stride until addition strange behavior
began to occur a few months later.
This was around the time that
Michael Jackson was being dragged through the courts for possible
child molestation and the Menendez brothers were on trial for killing
their parents. When I went to visit with Lynn on various occasions,
she would often have a newspaper on the lower inside level of the
information desk. I would often reach over and grab it. But when
there was an article about either of these stories, she would place
the paper on the upper level of the desk and have it turned to the
page where the story was. It had the intended effect. We talked about
both stories and I explained that I thought Michael was guilty and
that the Menendez brothers had indeed been abused by their father –
sexually and otherwise. She smiled broadly both times. I would
realize some time later that it had been a test to see if I would be
sensitive to her feelings about what she'd been through.
Lynn drove a brick red Nissan Lynx
that was always breaking down. I've been present on numerous
occasions when she would call her brother who would not answer his
phone and ask for a ride home. She would then give a sigh of disgust before dialing her step
father Jasper Peacock who would always answer immediately. I vaguely
recall having asked Lynn why she didn't just call Jasper to begin
with. I don't recall having ever gotten an answer. On one extremely
awkward occasion in late '93 or early '94 I heard her speaking very
seductively to Jasper. She repeatedly called his name in a
higher-than-usual, seductive manner. (I'd never actually met Lynn off
of the job and didn't know before this point that Jasper was her step
father.) When she got off of the phone, I asked her, “Who was that,
your boyfriend?”. She said nothing. I asked at least two more
times. Finally, she snapped at me as she said, “That's my father!”
That's when it all came together.
I realized that she'd been
throwing hints for several months – some intentionally and some
unintentionally – as to what she was going through. I could've
kicked myself for having not realized it sooner. I made attempts to
get her to open up and tell me in no uncertain terms what was going
on. I went out to the hospital during my off time to check on her.
She lived in Micanopy, Florida which is about 16 miles south of
Gainesville. Since the city bus didn't go that far, I began walking.
I got about halfway there and someone who knew the family picked me
up and drove me to the house. Lynn's mother was raking and burning
leaves. I had an uneventful conversation with her for about five
minutes and went back to Gainesville. I visited the Gainesville
police who told me that they couldn't help if she wouldn't open up. I
went to a domestic violence assistance center on Waldo Road in
Gainesville. They said the same. I called the Marion County sheriff's
office where Micanopy and Ocala are located. Same.
I continued to try to get my
friend of over five years to tell me enough so that I could help her.
Eventually my supervisor named William Maxwell approached me and said
that he was receiving complaints of me harassing Lynn. I explained
the matter to him. He seemed to understand and wasn't upset. I, on
the other hand, was highly insulted that anyone could even form their
lips to imply that I was harassing or otherwise violating a woman. I
ended up abandoning that job. I got my last check and went back to
New Jersey. When the money ran out, I became homeless.
Shortly after becoming homeless, I
began to ask myself why bad things happen to good people. I resumed a
thought process that I'd begun about five years earlier whereby I'd
begun to reflect on the friction that existed between my mother and I
during my childhood. I'd determined that my propensity for objective,
difficult rationale that often revolves around grim realities and
absolute truths was at odds with her sensitivities that caused her to
sometimes want to believe something even if it didn't make sense. I
also reflected on at least one thing that I'd said to Lynn that may
have sent up the red flag in her mind and caused her to change her
mind about confiding in me – even before I figured out what she'd
been going through or the drama that followed. In any instance, I
left that period of deep thought having accepted that I have an
affinity for rationale and not one for being sensitive or emotional.
I decided to cease and desist from earlier efforts to seem sensitive
and just be the rational man that I am. As a point of clarity, I
should say that I do indeed feel. Here are my
personal connotations of three words with similar definitions:
1 – Feeling: An
individualized phenomenon whereby a person gets a sensation in their
gut (and possibly other body parts) as a result of something they
hear and/or otherwise sense (often through a non-contact experience).
It can accompany an intense thought or desire.
2 – Sensitivity: A
collective (often societal) way of thinking about an issue such as
proper treatment of women by men including the idea that rape is
wrong. (Some countries either actively or passively condone rape.)
Sensitivity is generally not required to make sense, though it
occasionally and coincidentally overlaps with rationale. Most often
it is either considered apart from rationale or in direct conflict
3 – Emotion: An
individualized and situation-based way of thinking whereby a person
is either extremely excited or upset about a recent occurrence.
During upsetting incidents, emotion is often marked by a sense of
uncertainty as to how to solve the problem and by extreme
Once again, I do
feel; but, I'm not sensitive or emotional.
Even to this day, as I reflect on
the situation between Lynn and I, it only seems to make sense that I
wanted to get her out of the bad situation that I believed her to
have been in. Though the matter was never proven one way or the
other, I firmly believe that I guessed right -- that her step father was repeatedly raping her. Over the years that
followed I would run across writings and people who would say that a
man often offends a woman (often his wife or girlfriend) by
interrupting her emotional expression of an experience in order to
present a solution. I remembered a showing of Oprah in the early 90's
where she and a female psychologist advised wives to gently cover the
husband's mouth and to say, “Don't solve it; just listen”. That
idea didn't set well with me then and it still doesn't. In the late
90's I ran across a Jehovah's Witness publication that carried the
same basic message.
I worked many low-wage jobs from
1994 until 2005. I been a farm hand for cabbage, tobacco, white
potatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon and onions. I've worked at many
labor halls. I've landed several jobs by working well out of the
labor hall. I've gotten out of homelessness several times and I've
fallen back in. If I were to write a book (which my current blog
posts add up to anyway), I could show that other people's dislike of
my insensitive rationale has contributed to them “pushing me out”
of multiple jobs and back into homelessness.
I found myself homeless and
working at a labor hall in Gainesville, Florida in the summer of
2005. A fellow worker and I spoke about the Iraq War while we waited
for assignments. With me having already believed that the war was based on
lies, he told me about the Downing Street Memo and Bilderberg. I made
it my business to come to Washington, DC and speak out against Bush
43 and the Iraq War. I arrived around 10:30 PM on July 31st
and partook in my first protest on September 24th, 2005.
In June 2006 I began advocating for the homeless.
These days, I post many of my
thoughts on Facebook and in my blog, having learned to do in e-mail
in November 2006, having begun a Facebook account and this blog in
2008. That said, there is a lot of on-line “talk” about Ray Rice
hitting his fiancee who later married him and about Adrian Peterson
abusing his 4-year old son. Both are personal for me – the former
due to me having helped multiple female victims (not all mentioned
here) and the latter due to me having been nearly killed by my birth
parents. I've portrayed the Peterson child as a complete victim and
Janay Rice as a partial victim. The sensitive camp (including men)
has gotten upset with me for the latter. Come to think of it, I've
bumped heads with more than one person over the years due to my
tendency to assign blame in what I believe to be a fair and rational
manner. I dare not assume that the woman is always completely
innocent when she and a man have an argument that turns violent. I
pay dearly for being fair. No good deed goes unpunished.
In the late 90's I was living in
Orlando and spent much of that time at the Coalition for the Homeless
of Central Florida, a shelter which was located at 639 Central Blvd
at that time. I've been told that it has relocated and is now
directed by an acquaintance of mine that I met in DC, Donald
Whitehead. Early one morning I was walking down Church Street toward
an Asian store/restaurant named “Lucy's” where I would often buy
I saw a woman on the ground, a man
hitting her and others standing around and shouting. The man's
friends pulled him off and the men began to walk away. I saw that the
assailant was a man whom I'd spoken to on numerous occasions but
whose name I'd never learned. I'd always known him to be easy-going.
As the woman got up, I saw that it was someone affectionately known
as Pocahontas, though I never learned whether it was her given name
or a street name. She was known to be ghetto.
Pocahontas went back at the man.
He knocked her down again and hit her a few times before his friends
pulled him off. He and th friends told her to just go away as the men
tried again to walk away. She got back up, broke a glass bottle that
was lying on the sidewalk and charged at the man again. This time he
knocked her down, put her leg in a figure-4 and hurt her so badly
that she couldn't get up again and she let out several long screams.
The ambulance was called.
The police also came. Before they
got there, I told someone that I'd always known the man to be quite
calm and friendly. I asked why they were “fighting” (if you want
to call it that). This spectator explained that the man had given
Pocahontas money with the expectation of getting sex. She had played
him (all views on prostitution aside, for now). He verbally
confronted her, intending only to give her a good tongue thrashing.
She reacted and it went from there. When the police arrived, I began
to tell them what I witnessed. Another man who I knew was lying told
a story of the male fighter having initiated the attack and been
fully to blame. This man emotionally interrupted me and sounded much
more emotional than I could ever sound. The cops focused their
attention on him and I went about my business knowing that justice
would not be served based on his account. The male fighter had
already left. I'm not sure if police ever caught up with him. I
sensed that the liar felt that a man should never hit a woman and was
lying to get the outcome he felt was right.
I see similar thinking
emerging around the Ray Rice situation. Many people don't want to consider the possibility that Janay Rice antagonized her then-fiancee; because, they're so upset than a man (football player or otherwise) hit a woman for any reason at all. Rather than lying to the police, these people are reacting negatively to anyone who considers how Ray AND Janay could have done better.
But before I give my opinion of
the Ray Rice situation, I'll say that a certain male Facebook friend
whom I've met in real life several times was particularly upset by
views that I expressed. After a lengthy exchange, it came out that he
thought that I was only hard on women. I explained that I actually
push many groups of people of either gender to think hard. He tried
to find other ways to support his sensationalistic accusations. I
logged off of Facebook and decided to explain the matter in a blog
With various groups that I
associate with and conversations that I involve myself in, I have a
personal rule of only speaking when I've identified a thought that:
1 – is highly rational
2 – further along in the thought
process than what I've heard anyone mention
3 – difficult for people to wrap
their heads around.
I often find ways to categorize my
statements so that they apply broadly to many of the situations that
those who hear me will encounter. This makes it likely that they'll
be reminded of my words. That said:
I routinely go to my church's Bible
study and talk about God being a hard god.
I have posted FB comments on multiple
occasions in which I said that it is my pet peeve to see that people
want a sweet god whom they can jerk around.
I routinely talk about how homeless
people should learn to self-advocate and get over their apprehension.
I routinely talk about how housed
people should forgo their stereotypes about homeless people and take
steps to connect them to living-wage jobs – how that they should at
least abstain from falsely accusing homeless people or hating them
for their socioeconomic status.
I routinely tell Whites to bite their
tongues and hear the concerns of Blacks, with the Black race having
been oppressed and under-educated for many years.
I routinely tell Blacks to engage in
I usually speak calmly. I
sometimes state the application and at other times the general
concept. But I always make it a point to bring the most difficult
thoughts to any conversation.
Now for the kicker. I've said that
the Peterson child was a full victim and that Janay Rice was only a
partial victim. I don't expect mature behavior from any 4-year old
child. I do expect mature behavior from a woman
or man. Rather than making allowances for a woman's emotion to get
the better of her and cause her to initiate violence, we should
expect rational behavior from both genders.
I also believe that Ted Robinson
was right and should not have been suspended by the 49'ers when he
said that Janay Rice should have come out with her version of events
sooner and that her decision to marry Ray after the fact was
pathetic. Neither statement “blamed” her for Ray Rice punching
her. Both were advice as to what she should've done in the aftermath.
I believe that this over-extended definition of victim blaming
actually is an effort to muzzle a man's rationale. I won't be muzzled
and don't give a damn who doesn't like it.
I should add that Ray Rice didn't
need to cold-cock Janay like he did. Professional boxers are not
allowed to hit non-boxers, even if the non-boxer throws the first
punch. Ray Rice was getting hit by large men on the football field.
What his wife did couldn't have actually hurt. So, while she clearly
took shots at him, the magnitude of his response was unwarranted.
Please try to understand this very long
blog for its rational content and don't get emotional or