Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day

This is the last day for 2009. Good riddance. This has not been a particularly good year for me, although I have learned a lot. I am reading more. I am more tolerant, if that was possible. I am basically homeless, although I am currently in a shelter. I have seen who my real friends are, and those who aren't. A sad fact. I have seen where others' priorities are, and where mine are now. My faith has grown. My chirch involvement is back. So, 2009 has been about change in my life. Let us hope that 2010 brings more growth. A place to stay. Some income. Love? And maybe increased sanity. Happy New Year, everybody.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chattahoochee 2

I was in a movie with GAry OLDman and DEnnis HOpper called "Chattahoochee". It was the true story of a Korean War veteran who couldn't cope with the world around him. They put him in a mental hospital which was famous for its inhumnaity. I played Looney #4 and was in ten scenes. I would have been in more, but the two of my best scenes were cut out. I did get my picture on the DVD box twice.

There are a lot of similarities between my living conditions now and that movie. Thankfully, the physical abuse and the inhumane conditions are not similar. But, Central Casting would have a field day with most of the people there. For example, there is a guy who walks around all day with his head cocked at an angle. Or, the guy who doesn't speak and stands right next to you invading your personal space. Or, the guy who stands in a corner staring off into space. Beards prevaill. I shave, but most don't. Some guys talk to themselves. Others have anger management problems. Still others drink all the time. I can't judge these people, but it also is kind of upsetting seeing it.

So, if you guys want to make a sequel to the movie, come back to Columbia. We have the actors.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

I know Christmas isn't for a couple more days, but I probably won't have access to a computer until Monday, so I wanted to take this time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I truly hate "Happy Holidays". I know why some say it, as they don't want to alienate anyone. After all, today is Festivus. Then, we are in Hannukah. Then, there will be Christmas. After that, it is Kwanza. How many more celebrations can there be? So, I don't want to alienate anyone either, but as for me, this is Christmas. We celebrate the 25th as the birth of Jesus, although it probably didn't really happen on December 25th. I have heard rumors that is was actually in April or some other time. It really doesn't matter what the day was. What matters is that he was born and later died for our sins, and rose again to show we have eternal life, if we believe. My Christmas this year will be strange. I may see some old friends (I don't mean they are old), and I will be visiting a friend in the hospital who is having surgery today. Christmas is a time of giving, and I plan to give of my time. So, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, or whatever you want to call it. But, just remember why we do this. Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I Want For Christmas

Anyone following this blog will know that I try and use 2-word titles for each entry, but I had to depart for this one. I couldn't think of how to express it otherwise. And, please note that I do not want to sound humorous in any way. After being homeless for over 3 months, and seeing people homeless for years, the humor has pretty much gone away. Oh, it is still there, but mostly in the form of sarcasm. After all, I was just almost mowed down by two drivers bent on killing one more homeless person. So, where is the humor in that? Also, this is not another self-pity blog. I am just being honest. If you can't handle the truth, as Jack Nicholson said, then just go on. Some of what I want for Christmas are concrete items that can be obtained. Others may be a little more lofty. In recent days, I have been thinking about my own mortality, so stay with me on this, and they are in no particular order:

1. Money. I have 4 cents in my pocket, and I am overdrawn at the bank.
2. Food coupons. My suggestion--McDonald's, Wendy's, Lizard's Thicket. Right now, I can eat 3 free meals a day, but that will change before too long.
3. A place to stay. For those folks mad at me, because I am not living at the duplex run by that ministry, I'm sorry, but my conscience is clean about that. It is actually good I didn't go, because my sickness would have been worse being there.
4. Health. I know why I need to make an appointment with the oncologist, but I don't know why I am having to go to a heart specialist next week. Unless it is because my father and mother died from heart-related issues. And, I am hoping my pneumonia will finally be knocked out by the drugs I am taking. But, if I lived in an environment that was a little cleaner and warmer, I think things would be better for me. I also have eye problems, where things are kind of blurry. But, who can afford anything without insurance?
5. Better Drivers. Drivers in Columbia are crazy. Enough said.
6. A Collectibles Business. All I need is $50,000 and someone to bankroll it. I have the stuff in storage and would love to get it out. I am sure the storage people would say so, too.
7. One More Day. Self-explanitory.

I guess that's about it for now. My address is: Walter Durst, PO Box 1464, Columbia, SC 29202. My email address is Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another ER

Just a quick note that I spent 10 hours in the Baptist Hospital ER today. It began around 1:30am. I had another bout of pneumonia, and they found a couple of spots on my lungs. Hopefully they are benign, but I have to go to a specialist. And, also a heart specialist. I hope they realize that I don't have insurance and won't be able to pay them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Werds

I used to love George Carlin's humor. I still do, although he is gone. When I worked for the government, and somebody told me their spouse was gone, I asked when would they expect him back? And then, they'd start crying. Carlin used the word "werd" to describe strange or weird words. Words that we used without knowing why. Words like kit and kaboodle. What's a kaboodle? Words like refinish. If you refinish a table, don't you have to restart? I suggest you listen to Carlin's recordings. Yes, he uses profanity, but he is also very insightful.

I mention this, because of recent events. As an actor, I have been trained to listen and observe others. One thing I have noticed is how much cursing black males do, and how loud their voices are. I think it may be because of a lack of schooling, or maybe a habit, but it is like every other word is a curse word. MF this and MF that. Or, they use the "N" word to describe their pwn. If white people did that, they would be branded as racists, but it is okay for black people to do it. I don't use that word. Never have. Never will. It is offensive to me, but yet, in their culture, it is acceptable.

Another word I hear a lot is "liberry" for "library". They drop the middle "r". I hear that word across the board. Whites, blacks, it doesn't matter. People who are educated and those who maybe aren't. The word is "library". Maybe it is a lack of diction. Maybe people are lazy. But, it shows a lack of education.

One more word I cringe, when people say it, is "Valentimes". The word is supposed to be "Valentines". Where did the "m" come from? Did they miss February 14th in school? Get with it, people. Don't sound stupid. And then people wonder why our culture is going down the tubes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Racist

Several years ago, JB White's Department Store was sued by a group of black people because the store had a White Sale for linens. They had done a White Sale for years, but now some people wanted to make a name for themselves by suing the company. The suit was thrown out of court, but they had made their point. If there was going to be a White Sale, then there should be a Black Sale too. Of course, there isn't. If a store did a Black Sale, and white people objected, the whites would be racists. Not the store.

Our society is made up of a minority of individuals who are either very defensive or want to make a point, whether it is justified or not. You look at the Confederate flag flying on the State House grounds. Most people just think it is a part of our history, but a few vocal folks want it to be taken down. Nevermind, there is a monument to slavery on the State House grounds. There is also a monument to the first gynecologist in the US on the State House grounds. Personally, I take offense to the doctor's monument, because I am sure there are others in this state who have been the first in something, but I don't contact the American Medical Association and say I am going to boycott all doctors because of that monument. You see how stupid that would be?

So, I say all that to talk about racism. I have written before about my Grandmother Merrill who taught white kids and black kids in the early 1900's in Alabama. The Klan didn't like her doing that, but she felt it was the right thing to do. All of my life, I have been brought up to treat all races and cultures equally. We are all God's children. Red, Yellow, Black and White. We are all equal in God's sight. So, this past Sunday I was called a racist. I was in the Greer SC Christmas parade passing out stickers mostly to kids. I was trying to hit everyone, despite the numbers of people, and I was falling behind the rest of my crew. I passed by a black man and his son without giving them a sticker. The man yells out to me that I am a racist. I turned around and challenged him by saying that I was sorry that I had skipped over his child, but I had given out stickers to other black children further up the parade. He kept yelling that I was a racist. He didn't know me, and I didn't really want to know him, but I apologized and offered a sticker to his son. He said he didn't want it now, because I was a racist. I wished him a Merry Christmas and continued on the parade route. People who know me know I am not a racist. I never have been. But, it also upsets me when people try and throw that word out there without knowing the facts about me or my family. Generalizations hurt. Let's work to see everyone has people. As individuals. Talk to one another and maybe you will find similarities between you and others. And, please don't throw out terms. If you want to get past racism, don't be so defensive. Yes, I know that black people have suffered a lot of persecution over the years. So have I as a skinny white man with glasses and homeless. Don't talk to me about being a racist. I'm not and neither should you be.

So, to the man in Greer last Sunday--I apologize for missing your son with the sticker. And maybe you should apologize for your attitude. Let's shake hands and make this world a more equal place.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Addendum

I love the word "addendum". Folks just don't use words like that much anymore. So, here is my addendum from yesterday's post regarding the encounter with one of Columbia's finest. At the entrance to the parking lot that I supposedly trespassed in, by walking through it, there is no sign at the entrance to the parking lot that says it is private property. Granted, it is in the back of some apartments, so it would be assumed that it is private property, but in actual fact, I could not have been trespassing if nothing was posted. I just thought I would point that out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Encounter

Due to my sleep position in the bed at the mission, I often get cramps in my legs. They are rather painful. We get up between 5:30 and 6 in the morning and have to stand outside in all weather, waiting for breakfast, when we can come back inside. So, when I go outside before breakfast, I take a little walk for about two blocks to get my legs working again. I also pass by a paper box and read the headlines of the day. I have been walking through an apartment parking lot to cut through from one side of the block to the other, especially if it is cold like this morning.

I noticed a police car on Main Street just sitting there this morning in the middle of the block, as I crossed the street and continued my walk. He followed me. As I came out of the parking lot, he continued to follow me. As I made my way back to the mission, he continued to follow me. When I got to the mission, he shined his light in my eyes and told me to come over and see him, which I did. He asked me where I lived, and I told him the mission. He asked me where I slept, and I told him the mission. Then, he wanted to see some ID, which I gave him, and he wrote it all down on his pad. He informed me that there had been some car break-ins recently in that parking lot and wanted to know if I knew anything about it. I told him no. He wanted to know why I was in that parking lot, and I told him about my daily walk for my cramped legs. He didn't appear to me as if he believed me. He then told me that if I was seen in that parking lot again, that I would be arrested for trespassing. So, I guess I won't be able to visit my friend Keith who lives there. Even if I wanted to.

I can't say the cop was harrassing me, since I have to look at it from his point of view. But, he should not jump to any conclusions either and think that I was trespassing. The moral of the story...stay on the public sidewalks.