JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Reality (poof) bites

Growing up in Mahopac, N.Y., I was always sorta warned against optimism by my mother, a substance abuse specialist who has seen countless “recovered” addicts inevitably fall back to the bottle/needle/line/whatever. I’d utter stuff like, “Dwight Gooden has really turned his life around!” to which Mom would reply, “I hope so—but I’m skeptical.”

Nine out of 10 times she was right.

I haven’t spoken with Mom about Ted Williams, the homeless guy with the amazing voice, but I’m pretty sure—upon his discovery—she would have said the same thing. “Just watch out. Just watch out.”

According to a depressing AP report from earlier today, Williams is headed for rehab for alcohol and drug dependency after an appearance on Dr. Phil’s (awful, exploitative, pathetic) show. According to the report, it sounds as if Williams still drinks. There was also an incident at the Los Angeles hotel where Williams was staying a few nights ago—police came in response to an altercation between Williams and his daughter. According to the AP, family members said the dispute was over Williams resuming drinking.

As was the case with Josh Hamilton and other rehabbing celebrities I’ve written about, many out there will say, “Screw this guy. He’s given a second chance and he ruins it.” I get the reaction—I get it. But addiction is, genuinely, a disease. Insanely difficult to break and insanely difficult to handle when times are either very high or very low.

I feel for the guy.

PS: The above photo is me shoveling today. Feel free to mock the hat.