Music: Badfinger, “No Matter What”
It’s The William Tell Show. I call myself William Tell; you can call me Bill. Thank you for including me in your world. Everyone wants to be included.
I’m releasing this episode a few days early, for reason that I have a special project going for the month of May; there will be no new blog posts or podcasts released during that month.
For the past several weeks, this music has been playing in my mind almost all the time; a song we learned in first grade. It becomes a puzzle as to what meaning this may have for me now, at 66 years of age. It goes like this:
Inky dinky spider crawled up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
And the inky dinky spider crawled up the spout again.
When I was a child, I puzzled about this song. Who cares that this happened? Why would we sing a song about it?
More recently, some memories have come that may explain why, today, this song is ringing in my head.
On February 28th, they moved us out of the hotel, to a different shelter, and I’m completely comfortable there, or here. I had an option to go back to the shelter where I’d been before, but they’re transitioning to the arrangement they had before, where every man was required to leave out at 8:00 in the morning and take all his possessions with him.
For six or seven years, I did that, carrying my belongings with me everywhere I went.
I can’t do it now, because I just plain have too much stuff. And it’s a great relief to not have to carry it with me as I go about my business throughout the day. But looking back —
Looking back, it’s hard to imagine myself walking into a job interview wearing my backpack and carrying my two heavy bags. But I did it, many times.
One interview stands out. I reported it in a blog post entitled “Job search update, 09/01/14.” This was the only interview I had in which my appearance may have been a liability. The shelter where I was staying at the time had a clothes room right next to the shower; you could get a complete change of clothes every day. None of us had any NEED to LOOK homeless; for myself, the bags I carried with me were the only way anyone could tell. I’ll read some from that post after the break.
I’ll be back.
Quoting from the post I mentioned before the break:
“Tuesday 08/26/14: I interviewed this morning for the position of Secretary II with the City Health Department.
“My success depended on my performance overcoming my appearance. This was the fourth interview I’ve had since becoming homeless, and the first time that my appearance was an issue. As things went, by the time I left McDonald’s for the interview itself, my nerves were shot.
“I’m never picky at the clothes window. Maybe I’ll be pickier henceforth. At McDonald’s this morning, I got out my tiny scissors from my toiletries bag and snipped off numerous long, frayed threads from the cuffs of my khakis. In the course of this, I saw that, overall, the cuffs were pretty badly frayed, far more than I had imagined. Next comes the shirts issue.
“I’d picked up a new white shirt at the clothes window last night, and hung it on the corner of my bunk. This morning, found out that somehow it had fallen off overnight — and someone’d stepped on it. It went into the laundry bin even before breakfast. At McDonald’s, try for a clean shirt #2: the white shirt I’ve been carrying in my plastic bag for some time. This one had become unacceptably soiled by other items in that bag, notably my rain jacket. At this point, I was not smiling.
“Try #3: a white shirt I’ve been carrying, inside a zip-loc bag, inside my heavy, zippered case for some months. This was badly wrinkled, but by far the cleanest of the three. The more I looked at it, the more spots I noticed; including a soiled collar, what looked like coffee spots in some places, and even a small hole in the back between the shoulders. I would NOT be able to use the McDonald’s bathroom to try to clean it up.”
I have had to display, and have displayed, resilience — just like the inky dinky spider. He got knocked down, but he came right back to do it again.
Today’s music, aside from the song I already sang, is “No Matter What,” by Badfinger. Its significance is to remind you that, no matter what your circumstances, God is on your side; God is with you and for you, at all times. No matter what.