The Rise and Fall of Stinky: Part I

The Manhattan Bridge in black and white

Photo courtesy of George Lezenby / flickr

The Street is a place of triumph – and the scene of many tragedies. While there are some successes, there are more failures. Many people on the Street have gifts and talents. Many of them could have been poets, musicians, doctors, lawyers – maybe even president.  

However, the temptations of life suck them in rapidly, like fast money, power, women and drugs. These things are like an irresistible minnow on a fishhook. They bite the baited line and they are caught. No matter how much they fight, they fall into the abyss.  

These hard lessons of the street can be painful and lead you to ruin.  

Stinky’s is one such tale. He is the drunk you see today, stumbling around mumbling with a bag of liquor. Stinky has lost everything, including his sanity. He can be found on a park bench, at the bus station, or hanging around any liquor store. Many see Stinky as a low-life crud ball, and some tolerate him by giving him a few dollars so he will just leave the corner.  

Stinky is comfortable on the Street. He can’t wait for the soup truck to come and feed him. He no longer wants responsibility; he has the freedom to be lazy and trifling. He no longer bathes. He doesn’t groom himself or brush his teeth. Sometimes he gets so hungry he eats out of trash cans. He doesn’t want help because it messes with his drunkenness.  

Stinky’s case isn’t uncommon. He is a drunk who doesn’t know what the bottom is. His family has turned their backs on Stinky. His wife left him and sent divorce papers, his kids are ashamed of him, and he is currently unemployable. The Street life has grabbed a hold of another soul.  

Stinky didn’t start off in this condition. He wasn’t even called Stinky, once upon a time. He came from a loving family. The father was a stockbroker, the mother a nurse. The parents taught their children the importance of education, hard work and self-reliance.  

But Stinky was a rebellious child who hated discipline and instruction. He was born the middle child, so he got lost in the competition for his parents’ affection. They would neglect their son, who was shy and had low self-esteem. One day they went on a trip and left the boy in the house all by himself. He noticed the old record player in the living room. Underneath was a bottle of Night Train and some albums like Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Take You Higher.”  

The ten-year-old took a swig of Night Train straight. He gagged and thought adults were weird for drinking alcohol. But within a few minutes he became intoxicated. He started feeling confident and brave, his shyness went away. He had a feeling he never felt before. He thought drinking touched his inner core being, and he started drinking more. He got twisted for the first time and started vomiting. When he woke up his head started pounding. He had his first hangover and started looking for more liquor.  

Soon he learned how to drink without vomiting. Sometimes he would black out but he loved listening to blues and drinking alcohol. He loved being buzzed and drunk.  

Drinking changed him from a shy person to someone who was gregarious and affable. He would find ways to buy the 12-pack for his crew. So everyone loved him, because he supplied the alcohol.  

He graduated from high school and went to college and instantly was the big man on campus. He was the leader of frat parties and hazing, and alcohol still made him popular. And even though he drank a lot he graduated from college.  

He moved to New York. He was nervous and scared but he soon noticed all the bars in Manhattan. He found one just like his hometown and it became his watering hole.  

Coming Soon: Part II: The Rise and Fall of Stinky 

Jeffery has been a vendor for nearly two years and is originally from New Jersey 

Issues |Addiction|Health, Mental

information about New Signature, a Washington DC tech solutions and consulting firm


email updates

We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.