the wandering degenerate gambler

Just came across The Wandering Scribe — that homeless chick in London who parlayed her blog into a book deal…

…And I read some skepticism from critics who wonder whether her gig is for real, or some kind of Pity Ploy to sell her story for money.

I read her few most recent entries, and found them genuine — but what do I know? Her critics point out that she couldn’t possibly be both homeless and in possession of a cell phone & law degree. It’s possible. I am homeless, and in possession of a cell phone. I have no degree, but do have a recommendation from my former o-chem teacher, who is currently Dean of Pacific University, for a free ride studying chemistry. My mom pays for the cell phone (she’s nowhere near Well Off — a Methodist pastor — but helps where she can). And, for a variety of good reasons, I haven’t been able to take responsibility for the scholarship — yet. I don’t know the Wandering Scribe’s whole story, but comments like…

The poor blighter is so out of touch with friends and family that she’s holed up in a car – so what’s the cell phone for? Apparently not potential employers…

…Sound like pompous bullshit to me.

As if a homeless person would have no need for a telephone, except to Get A Job!

Anyway, the Wandering Scribe had the bright idea to solicit pay-pal contributions to cover the cost of moving into an apartment. I thought to myself, ‘Well hot damn — why don’t I do that?’ But quickly realized that if I did, I would be a Fraud. Not because my homeless story lacks authenticity. But because I would de-fraud my contributors, by spending the money on things other than rent.

However: if my readers wish to Pay-Pal donations to cover my gambling & drug habits, well golly — fuckin Go nuts!

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6 Responses to “the wandering degenerate gambler”


  1. 1 Miss Kitty May 30, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Thanks for posting this, Mike. I found your site through Wandering Scribe and am glad you’ve decided to start your own blog. I’d like to see all the wankers out there who think they know what it’s like to be homeless give it a try. They’d last less than one night–that’s my bet. Kudos to you and WS for putting your experiences on the web. Keep it up–yours is a voice that NEEDS to be heard!

  2. 2 Mike E May 30, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks, Ms. K — I think you’re right, about the wankers. Surprisingly, though, we have at least one thing in common: I wouldn’t last one night as one of them!

  3. 3 mary June 14, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Actually Wandering Scribe didn’t have a Paypal button; some of her critics tore in to her about that too, how she posted about not knowing if she should/shouldn’t put the PayPal button up, after many of her supporters told her she should do so. The NYTimes guy found her by doing a search “homelessness”, so lucky her; that got her traffic. When the UK newspaper got the story that’s when she got connected with the agent/book deal.

    Anyway, not sure if you are/are not homeless. I have a website about abuse. Sad.

  4. 4 Mike E June 14, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Mary,

    In the interest of journalistic accuracy, I fell compelled to relay this quote from WS, posted 5.6.06:

    ‘As I said things have been kicking off, and in the midst of it I took down the Paypal button. I have decided that the best thing to do is to refund the Paypal money.’

    So we’re both right, in a way. She did use the button — why the hell wouldn’t she? — and was then flogged with ridicule for it. For sport mostly, I think; a passtime her critics perfected in High School.

    Beyond that, it’s like you said: Lucky Her.

    Luck has never worked out well for me. Tenacity is my own best bet. That, and a potent sense of Make-Believe.

    Thanks for the comment, gypsy. Please drop by anytime!

    best wishes,
    Mike E

  5. 5 galloway June 15, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Don’t think there’s any such thing as a homeles writer who ever made it real.

    Even Bukowski needed a base.

    I interviewed him once: made a huge deal out of how the need to write kept him off the streets.

  6. 6 greenlighton June 15, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Yeah, you got that right, Galloway. It’s vaguely possible these days, I suppose, to update steadily from a public library. If one can get their hands on a lap-top, though, that’s unfathomably helpful. That, and a set of headphones — to drive the invasive cacaphony away. Even then it’s a real pain in the ass, trying to write in public places…


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