Too Young For This

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Too Young for This – that is how I feel about a lot of young folks I meet on the streets, all of them really.

I met a 22 year old heroine junky late the other night when I was out rolling my cart around collecting cans. He was as sweet and gentle as most heroine junkies seem to be. He had just gotten the bad news that he had contracted hepatitis C. “At least I don’t have to worry about whether I have it or not,” he said, trying to find a bright side.

Thin and blond with boy band good looks, he had been up for three days on a Meth run and said his feet were killing him. They were probably just sore from being active that long, but he was attributing it to poison from his liver not functioning properly. I am a recovering hypochondriac, used to turning body acne into boils and contagious rashes, so I understand his thinking. He is predicting a wheelchair for himself by the time he is my age.

So how does this type of personal story evolve? He quit school at the age of 14 to try and take care of his younger brother and alcoholic mom; whose form he said left permanent contours on the couch. He had few friends and a neighbor kid introduced him to heroine. He said the heroine allowed him to function normally without the intense social anxiety he usually felt. This made it possible for him to work and do what he could for his family.

Missing Man Photograph

Many kids from alcoholic families become parentified, but to this extent? No dad around, a mom so depressed and drunk she can’t get off the couch and a nine year old brother to look after. Part of his mind must have been screaming, “I am not ready for this, get me out of here, anywhere but here.” Drugs became his escape to what must have felt like a semi-sane world.

Lots of folks in need of prayer out there but please take a moment or two and say some for this young man. He is also an artist and writer, saying his sketch pad/notebook is the only thing keeping him alive. He hopes to write a book one day but said right now his writing is too scattered, an obvious metaphor for his life and the lives of many hobo’s.

There are many young folks on the streets, I try and mother hen them and nurture them as much as possible. Knowing that just one person cares about them and loves them can help to turn a person’s life around.

Hobo Metaphysic of the Day: It is not who you are, but only that you are.

John wants you to know: “I’m not for the government doing more to help these folks.


Their help tends to come with a lot of humiliation, stipulations, and rules, but I am for us finding our hearts again as a people and taking care of our own.”


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