The "Old Lady" and the "Sea" That's Drowning the Pacman!

Sherman L. McCleskyCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2009

Note: The following article contains misleading information with the intent to conceal the identity of a person mentioned. 

I was walking down the street the other day, for no particular reason, when I came across this "old lady" sitting on the bench. She was going back and forth, asking people for change; so I stopped and gave her a dollar. It was when she'd looked up an thanked me that I noticed something; she looked familiar.

Unable to contain my curiosity, I'd chosen to sit on the bench, pretending to catch the bus. "The No. 10 should be here at any minute", I'd said to her. "No she replied, "You'd just missed it. You're going to have to wait another 30."

I continued the conversation in asking her as to where she was going. She said that she was heading to Autumn Hills, where she'd lived for over 20 years. Autumn Hills is a crime-ridden neighborhood, full of section-eight housing; it made sense to me.

Anyway, as the conversation continued, I eventually broke down a bit and told her that I'm just taking a ride on the bus for the heck of it. That I actually have a car and was willing to offer her a ride.

She said, "I think I'm a little too old for that now". At first, I was confused by that answer; until I started putting two and two together. I chuckled, then covered my ignorance with a simple "my bad" response.

As the No. 10 bus approached, I thanked her for the conversation and wished her family well. That's when she'd something to me that had shook me up a bit. She said that she has no family; that she'd been living with her mother ever since she graduated from high school.


Back peddle for a minute. The old lady said that she was living in Autumn Hills for 20 years; yet, she also had "been living with her mother ever since high school"? This numbers weren't adding up.

So finally before the bus came to a stop and had opened its door, I'd asked for her name. She said,"Sonja". And just like that, I was frozen. She was not an old lady; that was my friend's ex-girlfriend. She was in the same class I was. 

"How are you doing, Sherman?" Sonja said. It appeared that I was caught in my own trap. Embarrassed, I explained to her that she looked familiar and that I couldn't put the pieces together. In her own way, she gently let me off the hook. I decided to skip the bus and insisted that we go to a coffee shop and have a chat.

From there, came a conversation like no other. She told me about the life she'd led. It'd turned out that she'd lived a life of drugs and alcohol; when the money was low, she'd turn to prostitution. She'd lived a very hard life and it took its toll on her face and her body. It was definitely an eye-opening experience.

At the end of the day, she decided to take me up on that offer to give her a ride. I'd dropped her off at her mom's house; she waved good-bye and thanked me for spending some time with her.

It hard watching someone you care about slowly dying right in front of you. You want to intervene, but what is the use of doing that if they don't care about themselves. We try all the time to convince such people to think about us; I found that to be a selfish tactic.

What happens if such people do straighten out their lives, only to find out that after he/she reaches this milestone, the attention they'd received had all of a sudden went away. Now they're alone again; waiting for the inevitable to happen; a relapse.

Adam "Pacman" Jones is an extraordinary athlete with a very bad problem. It would be easy for me to go "Christian" and tell every team owner to just "look away"; but they won't. They see nothing but quick cash and publicity; they'll just use him up, then throw him away like trash.

I saw Adam Jones the other day on SportsCenter; my GOD, this 25 year old man looked as if he was 40 years old. He had a slight resemblance to Joe Frazier and he was slurring his words. This man obviously needs help. 

To all of the future NFL owners, heed this warning. Don't sign Adam Jones unless you intend to help him. But before you sign him, you must do everything within your power to make him, convince you, that he wants to help himself.

To Adam Jones,

Bro', that defense of going to strip clubs tells me that you're more determined than ever to destroy yourself. If you want to die, go ahead! I'm not going to stop you. But if you want to live, much less play in the NFL, you're going to have to make some changes. All that I ask of you is to do me one favor...

Do it for yourself. Forget your mom and dad, your aunts and uncles and your nephews and nieces, etc. Do it for yourself. Because when you think about it, only you will be there for yourself, when times get hard.

It's sad watching you slowly dying right before my eyes; but what can I do? I can't save you from yourself.

You're in a literal do or die situation, my man. Do you want a hall of fame career or do you want a tombstone? Let us football fans know now; so that we can provide either accolades for your success, or flowers for your funeral. The choice is yours. Chose now!!!

Just a thought provided to me courtesy of an "old lady" and the "sea" that drowned her.