Ted Williams – is change a fact or a fantasy?

Is the Ted Williams story inspiring?  Of course it is.  We all want to believe that overhauling your life will be that easy.  You win the lottery.  Someone rescues you. A youtube video goes viral and you land a recording contract.
We’ve seen it happen before.
Remember Greyson Chance?   He was the sixth grader who rocked out Lady Gaga at a school meeting, the video went viral, landed him an invitation to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and eventually a record deal.
Ted Williams is nothing like Greyson Chance.
Greyson had spent his whole life pounding the keyboard, practicing piano everyday, singing alone in his living room, writing music and posting video after video to the web on his own youtube channel.   It took Greyson Chance years and years of hard work to become that overnight sensation.   He earned it.
Let’s call this Ted Williams situation for what it is.
The media created a reality show right in front of our eyes.  Ted Williams may have a golden voice and a big smile, but he’s also got a rap sheet, drug addiction, nine children he abandoned and a mother he has been estranged from for 20 years.
Since when does a family values company like Kraft want a former crack addicted homeless guy to be the voice of the company?  When it gets them ratings.  Pass the macaroni and cheese!
Call me a cynic but I’m not buying the two years sober story either.  After spending four years as a public defender representing indigent clients in New York City – it’s next to impossible for someone who’s homeless to maintain their sobriety.  The reason – when you are homeless, you’re surrounded by addicts and your living environment is unstable.  Two factors that make maintaining sobriety extraordinary difficult.
Does everyone deserve a second chance?  Of course.
Do we all hope Ted Williams somehow beats the overwhelming odds against him, stays clean, shows up for work, adjusts to a “normal” life, repairs his relationships with his nine estranged children, pays his bills on time, kicks that smoking habit, runs a marathon and saves whatever money he earns…..yes.  BUT, are you starting to shake off the fairy dust and realize what he is up against?  True change takes stamina, not luck.
If I were a betting woman, I wouldn’t put my money on this one reading like a Halmark card.  You can’t overcome a lifetime of bad decisions, drug addiction and mental health issues with a few morning show appearances.
Ted Williams doesn’t need a trip to Bermuda, a book deal or a made-for-television movie about his life.  Ted Williams needs rehab, intensive therapy and a support network that’s not cashing in on his fairy tale.
I once read that 30% of all the people on that show Extreme Home Makeover, go bankrupt.  They simply can’t afford the real costs of those fairy tale houses that the show constructs from thin air.  If Ted Williams can’t handle the demands of this new fairy tale life, don’t fault him.  He’s not the one who changed his life.  We did.  We created this big fantasy, stuck Ted inside it and then turned the cameras on.


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