Story For Sale

A pitch I’m working on for a magazine article:

I’ve lived my whole adult life in a small town in southern Vermont. One problem that’s dogged me all these years here: Homelessness.

I’m 35 years old. A bit more than a decade ago having nowhere to live was in large part a lifestyle choice. I lived part-time ‘on the road,’ as it were, following Phish & the Grateful Dead around America. Selling whatevers to whoever in the parking lots before the concerts — then dancing my ass off & partying like an all-around rock & roll star every night.

Those were the Days my friends!

Back then I had an Excuse to be homeless. I was ‘between tours.’ Had something way better to do than hang around this crappy town. Always a matter of weeks at most until the next gig rolled around.

These days what I hate more than anything is when a friend asks the typical friendly question: So Mike E — what’ve you been Up To??

Dodging questions like that mostly.

But back in the day…boy. It was like — Yo I’m partying like a Rock Star every night of the week!!

What the hell are you doing?

I never considered myself ‘homeless’ back then. Never used the word to describe myself — like I said it was a lifestyle choice. I owned it. Can’t speak for the kind folks whose couches I habitated but the choice worked well enough for me.

In the winter of 2000/’01 I recall first using the word Homeless to describe my situation. I was living in a … this is weird. I lived in a restaurant that winter.

One morning I woke up in that restaurant, and realized: I’m not going On Tour next week. And something about where I just woke up is Wrong.

I was at the Bar later that night. There was a girl there and I could tell she thought I was Cute. Normally not a bad thing at all except for the part where soon enough she’d ask: So…where do you live??


I’d grown to loathe the question.

So I cut through the bullshit and introduced myself as such:

‘Hi. Name’s Mike E — yep. Mike with an E. I’m a journalist — that’s right. A professional journalist. Working deep undercover on a story about the poverty/homelessness/drug addiction Connection.’

ShaZAM — worked like a charm in its own way. Except…Be careful I guess. That’s my advice. Careful how you introduce yourself to some girl at the Bar. You might just get stuck with it.

Not the girl — she’s long gone. I’m stuck with the Story.

Big Question: who wants to pay me to tell it??


2 Responses to “Story For Sale”

  1. 1 velmalikevelvet September 11, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    part of me is flabbergasted that vt even *allows* homelessness; figured your fair state would have the no-sleeping laws found in santa cruz and elsewhere. and it’s so fuckin’ cold there, i hear; how do street peeps manage in the dead o’ winter: crack in their latte? i know my sorry ass has been blessed; when i’ve not taken care to keep a roof over my head, i’ve had the kind of friends that i’m surely unworthy of, and they’ve helped pull me through. only spent one week livin in my car.

    our prob here is the lifestylers – now it’s not phish, or the dead, i can’t figure who the hell those aggro poseurs are following, but they’ve taken over our plaza. sheesh.

  2. 2 Mike E September 11, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    Actually Velma they’re following me. They just don’t know it yet…

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