"He was Joe Mayer, freelance writer. He had it made."
-- Charles Bukowski
A friend of mine needs your help. I'm asking you to help him.
Not because you know him, though you may.
Not because you like him, or his opinions, because you may not.
Not because he's special, though he is. (We all are.)
But because he needs the help.
And everyone who needs help should be helped.
Who is Roy?
I can only tell you some things I know.
He was a writer and editor of Alicubi. The earliest piece of his that I've read was "Ballad of the Reverb Motherf*ckers," which came in four brilliant parts, starting in May, 2002, through September, 2002.
Part One: Drinks at Vazac's
In 1986, I was living in the East Village. Naturally I was in a number of bands.
In one, I played electric guitar behind my friend Rik. Rik was a bit of an eccentric. That should have been no impediment to success, for rock music thrives on eccentrics. But Rik had the same problem that, as time would reveal, a lot of the folks in this story had: He was the wrong kind of eccentric.
A lot of us have had that problem.
Roy wrote a lot of great stuff for Alicubi. He was obviously writing endless superb writing ages before I noticed him.
I didn't really notice him until Friday, March 21, 2003, a time when, although blogging, and political blogging in particular, had already been exploding since September 11th, 2001, and the poliblogging community was already well formed through 2002, newcomers who could write, and and had a good eye, would still be almost immediately noticed by most of us, given that altogether there were fewer than 200 of us, to all intents and purposes, and we all knew at least of each other, and most of us read each others' blogs, or at least read the links we gave each other, no matter what our political views, which in 2002, weren't, for the most part, yet terribly divisive, impossible at that seems from the perspective of years later to those who weren't around.
He's been writing great stuff there ever since.
And many other places.
As a freelance writer.
You won't regret it. He rite gud.
But right now, Roy could use your help.
Roy Edroso, possibly the Single Greatest Blogger in the Universe, has hit a bad streak and, despite the entreaties of his minions, refuses to ask for help…. the big fucking martyr.
So frequent commenter and occasional TBogg blogger JayB has set up a paypal account, the proceeds of which will go towards getting Roy over the hump. So maybe you could see clear to forgoing your erectile dysfunction drugs for a week or two or put off buying that Collectible NASCAR Commemorative Plate for a month and help a brother out.
Think of it as the March of Dimes for Snark. There are big karma points to be had here and after how you acted last Saturday night (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) I’d say you should collect them before the police show up and/or the results from the health department come in the mail. Certified.
John Amato at Crooks and Liars explains.
Roy Edroso, the tireless, intrepid detective blogger at Alicublog who dives day after day into the polluted Coney Island waters of conservative punditry ("urinous brine and scraps of old paper, orange rinds and soaked hot dog buns," is how Saul Bellow once described a similar expedition into the shallow depths of bad prose and bad faith), has hit a rough patch.
He lost his Harlem sublet, came up dry on other rental leads, and has moved into a friend's spare room in Inwood. But that's not what makes the patch rough:I'm sure there's plenty else...charming about Inwood, but I have been too sick to notice. I caught a chill New Year's Eve, spent two days I should have spent packing incapacitated by fever, and my lungs and sinuses are full of epoxy. Also, though I am very grateful to my buddy for lending me his spare room, it has seen little use and no absolutely no cleaning since the 28th Olympiad, and I'm not sure this is facilitating my recovery.
A restored, recovered Roy Edroso is vital to journalism and sanity, especially now that the House has been taken over an even crazier group of Republican crazies, a confederation of Atlas Shruggers and
So a PayPal donation site has been samaritanly set up by a fan and frequent commenter at Alicublog named Jay B since Edroso himself, as TBogg explains, "refuses to ask for help...the big fucking martyr."
Who is Roy? He's this guy:
LEARNING TO SAY "THANK YOU" IN ENGLISH. My sister and I are in some ways so different that I think it startles both of us. (Edrosos are so fundamentally contrary that we have long since gone beyond disagreeing on specific issues, and passed into divergent realities.) But in some ways she and I are absolutely alike. These traits fascinate me, because they offer some clues as to our heritage and the way it has shaped us.
For example: Since we were old enough to buy our own Christmas gifts, every December we would get around to asking each other what Christmas gift would be appreciated. Unfailingly we both had the same response: Don't get me nothin'. Then each would ask again, and the other would brush it off again.
So we'd have to guess what gift would please the other. I for one was always nervous about it, and despite assurances never felt like I had guessed right. I think she felt the same way.
One year my sister just declared: We're not doing presents this year. That worked great. In fact Christmases were a lot easier after that, and not just logistically.
If you think it's weird that we were so reluctant to ask each other for something, even with the best excuse modern merchandizing had to offer, then you and I are in agreement. Weirder still, I'm often like that with other people, too: Friends, lovers, employers, store clerks. It's not unfailing; if I want a bourbon and soda, I find a way to express the thought. But it tends to be worse when I really need something. Then for some reason I become a lot less eloquent than I like to think I am.
I'm not sure I have the subtleties right, but I've figured out this much: I have a particularly ornery independent streak. I can't stand to feel beholden to others. Of course we're all of us beholden to others, generically and cosmically; even I know that. But if I feel someone's carrying me, even casually, I feel the need to get off and walk. It's all right. I got it. I don't need help. Don't get me nothin'.
I know exactly how this works. For me, at least -- we're all unique, each with our own psychology, history, and circumstances.
But we're all human, and none of us differs entirely. Even the most psychotic child-molesting mass murderer is still, in fact, a human.
And few people want to ask for help, no matter how desperately they need it.
Many of us, the more desperate we grow, the harder it is to ask for help.
It's just that humiliating.
I just sent ten bucks.
And I'm currently homeless, couch-surfing, staying with a kind friend.
As I've done far too much of my life, during which I've spent far too much time either being homeless and couch-surfing, or being evicted.
I have no idea where I'll be living after August 31st, though a few hopes and clues, and I hope it will be in the Bay Area, where I can con or pay someone to drive my limited amount of stuff, which all fits in one room.
And I CAN AFFORD TO SEND HIM TEN BUCKS, in my opinion.
And I did that yesterday.
So I kinda think YOU may be able to spare it, too. Give till it effing hurts, people.
I'd never ask anyone to help me in any way they would notice the spending.
But for someone else: yeah, I'll guilt-trip you all I have to and can, if that'll help. I have no trouble being an ar**h*le for a friend, since I have no trouble being an ar**h*le in general.
And I know exactly why Roy, or anyone would never want to ask for help.
There are people who become suicidal for long periods before they'll ask for help, and then just barely manage to ask, in hysterical and crazed and desperate fashion, and then loath themselves forever thereafter until they can cope with it eventually, maybe, in the future.
Then there are more mentally healthy people, who simply hate it.
Roy is, I'm sure, mentally healthy; but nobody should EVER need to ask for private charity to put a roof over their heads, find secure shelter that they can depend on for the future, to eat, or to meet any basic need in a country as rich as the United States of America.
Meanwhile, we have endless INVISIBLE homeless (to those who don't want to look, or those genuinely isolated or in rural areas, but there are other forms of extreme poverty, and still homelessness there, too), and hungry people in this country, most of whom are too crushed to ask for help, and don't want the shame and lack of pride that it's difficult for many to avoid feeling.
If You Are Homeless...
If you are homeless, help is available! HUD, along with many other federal agencies, funds programs to help the homeless. These programs are managed by local organizations that provide a range of services, including shelter, food, counseling, and jobs skills programs. So start by contacting a homeless assistance agency in your area.
|Local homeless assistance|
|Information for homeless veterans (HUDVet)|
|HUD's Homeless Assistance programs|
|More on HUD's homeless assistance programs|
|Second Chance Homes|
|Interagency Council on Homelessness|
|Donate to your local food bank|
|Kids can help the homeless|
You can spare a few bucks, and for someone else, I'll beg for them without a moment's hesitation.
Help Roy. He needs it.
You never know when someone you really know and love might need help. Tomorrow, there might be an earthquake, and not only will you lose everything around you, but thousands of people will die in front of you; it happens all the time around the world.
Katrina can happen again. Disaster can strike you or your loved ones at any time, and eventually, we all suffer loss, pain, experience fear, and must cope.
Make it easier for someone else. Someone with a face you can know, and whose writing you can read.
It shouldn't take that, but it sometimes does.
Help out the Edrosothon.
DO IT NOW.
And feel free to do it next week, too, and the week after.
The worst that will happen is that he'll get more then he's comfortable with, and PAY IT FORWARD.
That, or maybe he'll spend it all on hookers and heroin.
But is that for YOU to judge?
Yes, you get to make up your own mind about that. As you do about any and all of this.
But I'm here to tell you exactly why you shouldn't.
Donate to Roy. Do it NOW.
Just click here.
You DO NOT NEED A PAYPAL ACCOUNT.
If you have a VISA, Mastercharge, Discover, or American Express card, debit or credit, they all work, any kind. Or use your PayPal account.
It's all safe and secure. It's a lot safer than than dealing with handing your card to a clerk, or swiping it through a machine that could be trivially rigged to copy and retain your number, by anyone with access to the machine and knowledge. You need not worry that your online transaction puts you at risk.
Or you can do this:
"If you want to send checks instead, you can use C&L's PO BOX and I'll make sure to pay out the amount. Just write 'Roy" in your note section.
Los Angeles, CA 90066"
Whatever works best for you. Help someone out. It'll make you feel good about yourself.
And consider the above links about the homeless. Roy isn't the only one out there. He's just someone with a face:
And whose writing you can read, if you haven't read him already.
And even if you hate his guts, and all he stands for: if you were in need, wouldn't you want to be helped?
Should anyone in this rich country, no matter how despicable, creepy, scary, dysfunctional, mentally ill, be left without shelter, food, or medical care?
I don't think so. Your Mileage May Vary, but I don't agree with you.
You may not be beloved yourself. But if it were your own child, mother, father, sister, brother, loved one, and they had no one to turn to but you: would you let them go without help?
Maybe you would. People do that. People don't understand the inside of anyone else's head, or their history, save in bits and pieces.
Not unless you're an empathetic, telepathic, omniscent, saint.
And there isn't anyone who is all of those, or even, to my knowledge, telepathic or omniscent.
It's not for me or you to judge what led someone to the bad place there in. We don't know. We likely will never know. Regardless, it's not our business.
It's only our business to decide whom we want to help. And I'm asking you to help my friend Roy.
He needs it.
Please help him.
When you're in need, and I can help, I'll ask people to help you, if I can.
Yes, we all have limited resources; even Bill Gates can't help everyone.
But he tries hard.
All of us who can spare anything at all, can try harder.
It makes me feel good to help others. I've had to ask for help far too many times, an infinite number of times. It's horrible.
It can make people suidical before they'll ask, and many won't just be suicidal, they will and do kill themselves, whether quickly, or slowly.
You just don't know.
But I know that no one should be left to feel that way. No one should be that desperate. No one should be forced to ask, let alone beg, and suffer the mental pain and anguish and self-loathing that go with it.
Help my friend.
And here's something else you can do: if you can afford to carry ten nickels in your pocket: do it. Every time you see a begger in the street: you can spare one nickel.
Or if you want to do dimes, do that. Quarters, do that. Fifty cents, a dollar: whatever you're comfortable with.
But even if it's a nickel, the moral support alone can change someone's day, someone's week, someone's life, perhaps. You have no way of knowing what mental change might occur because it's the straw that helps, not hurts.
The nickel may not mean anything to you. But you might change a life.
Isn't it worth a nickel?
Try it. The worst that will happen is you'll have lost a nickel. And you can feel proud of yourself, and good about yourself, for not being a selfish, unthinking, priviledged schmuck who thinks you know better than people know for themselves how they should live their lives.
I've been lucky enough to have a lot of people help me, far too many times. Mostly all I can do is pay it forward.
And I carry a pocket plastic bag of change. And if I see someone on the street who looks in need, I'll give them at least a nickel, a dime, a quarter. Even I, these days, thanks to other people's help, can do that.
We all can only do what we can, but there's always someone worse off, until they're dead, and then you've lost your chance to help.
And another universe has died.
You may indeed know better. You undoubtedly do, for yourself, and people like you.
But other people aren't you, may not be like you, and haven't had your luck and privileges, which you may take for granted. Things like knowing where you'll be sleeping tomorrow night, or next month, or next year. Not having to live so that $.25 makes a significant difference in what you eat that day. Not having to live by begging.
Think about it. Please. Every time you see a person who asks. Consider not judging, and just helping.
And check out the links above. If you can help people in general: please consider it.
No matter how little.