Eric the Bum is a homeless twentysomething black guy who lives on the streets of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee. A friendly guy, he presents no signs of insanity or addiction nor is he an asocial asshole. So why is he on the street? Based on my experiences with him, I'd say that he's found The Makings of Eternal Happiness, enumerated below.
1. A walkman, batteries for said walkman, and a collection of Sting tapes.
2. Taco Bell tex-mex food products.
3. Malt liquor in 40 oz. increments.
Work is a drag. You know it, I know it, and he knows it. The difference between us and him is that he is bright enough to realize that bueracracy and bosses and deadlines are detriments to our happiness. Work is good for nothing but giving us ulcers and caging us in cubicles away from our peers. If Eric wanted this life he could go far in it. He'd be middle management by 35, with a Lexus and a hefty housenote. Fortunately for us, he'd rather grow dreads and listen to Sting outside of Midtown Video.
Unlike most bums, he will not harass you. He'll chat with you in a no pressure manner for several minutes before asking for any money. When he does ask, he's blunt with you about what he wants it for. Either Taco Bell, batteries or beer. If you're out of money or unwilling to give him anything, he's ok with it. Part of living a life of leisure is not worrying about the future and just enjoying the moment as it is, just you and some guy standing on the sidewalk chatting comfortably in your respective skins.
After several years of bumming around Midtown, Eric has started looking slightly weathered. Hopefully a civic group will take notice of this and take the opportunity to restore the beauty of the city by raising funds to give him a facial and a manicure.
He has a sister that lives near Cooper-Young who lets him sleep and bathe at her home occasionaly.