prized possession : his sign
“I’m diagnosed as chronically homeless,” explains thirty-eight year old, Denver native, Bobby Dean, holding up a handmade sign to passing cars on the outskirts of the park. He is open to share his story with a slow, raspy voice. He considers his situation more of a choice than a plight. “I choose the homeless lifestyle. It gets risky once in awhile. The winter is a risky one.” His path to life outside began in 2000 after being kicked out of his parents house. “First time I became homeless I was living with my parents and wasn’t supposed to smoke marijuana and my mom kicked me out. I put a brick through a car window. My car. I ended up under a bridge. Classic story,” he recalls with a hint of humor. Now a veteran to life on the streets, those early days of homelessness seem like a lifetime ago for Bobby Dean. “You begin eating out of dumpsters. Then you slowly adapt.” Before long, the fruits of this life began outweighing the hardships. “I’m addicted to it (homelessness). It’s a fucking rush being around all these people all the time. The way I am, the way I smell, my voice. Hell of a psychological understanding.” He declares alcohol to be his substance of choice, and enjoy a mid-day drink. “I stick to the alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Occasionally the hard stuff.”
Prized Possession: Bobby Dean’s sign is his most prized possession and has storied history. “A black magic marker and piece of cardboard from a trashcan has literally kept me alive, fed me, drugged me, since 2001,” he declares. “This same one.” He appreciates his connection to it. “Occasionally I’ll try and spice it up,” he adds. “It keeps me out of trouble. Unless I fall out on the corner from too much alcohol. That can happen. Days when I just trip.” Standing in the sunshine, Bobby Dean holds it on display.