Fool's Gold: Ted Williams and his "Golden Voice"

Numerous times in the last week I’ve sat down to share my thoughts on the man with the “golden voice”, Ted Williams, but I’ve discarded the document each time because I didn’t want to seem like a spoil sport. Folks were rejoicing in his redemption, shouting the glory of God for second chances and eager to see what was next for him. All the while, I was thinking that the things that led to him being in dire straits may not have been totally behind him, but I didn’t want to pee in the pool.

It was all good just a week ago...

A reporter from Ohio found Williams panhandling and showcased his story of hard times and yes, the “golden voice”. 8.5 million YouTube views later and a phenomenon is born. The type of phenomenon that the American public eats up, think American Idol, Justin Bieber, Susan Boyle. He’s been offered jobs by everyone from the Cleveland Cavaliers to MCNBC, Oprah came a calling, CNN, dude was everywhere, getting everything.

He even reunited with his mother after years of being estranged, flying to New York to meet with her and continue his whirlwind tour, which also took him to Los Angeles where things started to fall apart. He was arrested after fighting with his daughter in a hotel and charged with domestic violence. Turns out that after 2 ½ years of sobriety, the newfound fame and access to some cash had led Williams back to booze, but as he tells Dr. Phil, not back to his “drug of choice, crack”.

He claims that the fight with his daughter was nothing more than an argument that got out of control, but his daughter says he had a bottle of Grey Goose, numerous beers and wine and has been drunk often in the past few days. Williams and five of his nine children (yes nine) are set to appear on Dr. Phil where he announced that he’s headed to rehab. He’d held down jobs in radio until the 90’s when he was let go from a station in Ohio, but was already deep into his addiction at the time and after losing his job and his family, he says “The Devil took him to hell and back” and ultimately returned him to homelessness, petty crime and more drugs and alcohol.

To whom much is given, much is tested

Enter the selectively sympathetic American public that has embraced this man and made him an overnight celebrity, just to watch him begin to unravel about as quickly as his notoriety began to rise, but that’s not what we expected. Or is it? We love to watch train wrecks, we tune in to various reality shows and gossip sites daily to see celebrities and everyday people live in the midst of chaos, so why would this feel good story of a recovering addict getting all the accoutrements of fame and celebrity be any different.

Some folks aren’t equipped to deal with the flashing lights, the access to the very evils that took them to hell or any amount of success, it’s just not in their DNA. I commend Williams for deciding to go to rehab, I just wish it was a decision he made privately and not while on Dr. Phil, it still seems contrived, almost seems like the OWN cameras are following him for a reality show or Dr. Drew is going to pop in at any point in the next two weeks to offer his assistance. It just doesn’t feel real.

But here we are, watching his invention then intervention, his redemption and self-destruction, the American Way. I don’t think I’m peeing in the pool today, but if I am, so the hell what, somebody had to say it! Just like somebody had to say that this brother has a resemblance to Barack Obama...

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