Some of you may remember my telling you here of my own experience of being homeless.  Or more likely you may have forgotten it, because I experienced a really babyish version of  homelessness.  That was when I was doing research for a story I was writing about the subject, so I spent a week living in my car that was parked at night in the parking space of a 24-hour gym.  And yet, by the end of the week, even that relatively wimpy experience of homelessness was driving me nuts.

Since that story about me – the same Chris Sharp you all know and love being homeless for a week – did not create any movement to re-examine homelessness as an endemic that is striking every community, I thought here I would try a different angle on writing about the subject.  That is, I am examining here homeless celebrities.

Because it is my theory is that homelessness is so pervasive now that practically no one on earth would shock us by going homeless,  And that includes our neighbor who saves our mail and newspapers for us when we take a trip.  That include even our poor old father that we have somehow forgotten to write to over the past couple of years.

And yet there is a person who would truly shock us if he went homeless.  Prince Harry. Or his bride Princess Meghan.  Or his mother Queen Elizabeth.

So be happy.  Because in spite of all the stunning news and all the other blows we have had to absorb in recent years, we are still capable of being shocked, huh?

To prove it, here are a few snapshots of some of the American celebrities who have gone homeless,

Hilary Swank: It may be hard to believe that before this gifted multi Oscar-Award winning actress and film producer became a star, that she was homeless.  But in fact as a child she lived with her mother in her mother’s car in the streets of Los Angeles.  She did this for years, through her high school years, and today she does not talk about those years.

Yet when I saw her in the movie where I liked her most, as a crusading Southern California high school teacher in the film The Freedom Writers, I believe I understood where she drew her character’s subtext,  In this movie about high school kids whose entire communities are threatening families with homelessness one family at a time. Swank was incredibly believable as a teacher who knew what a threatened home can do to a high school child.

Yo9u have probably heard that that old adage from the German  philosopher Frederick Nietzsche that “what does not kill you strengthens you,” Swank is living proof of this saying.  But the message is in most cases is really that if something like childhood homelessness does not strengthen you. it kills you.

Steve Harvey:  The comedian and talk show host and Miss Universe host has done a lot of things in his 61 years, and one of the things he was doing while he was trying to get his career off the ground was living in his car.  Whatever he lost in his lost years, he obviously did not lose his sense of humor or his energy.  But my guess is that he used his charm to get the help that he needed to emerge from his homelessness.

Did Steve Harvey approach his homelessness as I approached my single week of homelessness?  In other words, did he use a 24 hour gym as his safe haven, where he could go into the gym at any time of the night to use the bathroom as he needed to, or use the shower room to shave and shower as he needed to?  Perhaps if you read one of his books you can find out.

J.R. Richard:  Being a long-time baseball fan, I can remember like yesterday the nights I would watch J.R.  Richard pitching fireballs for the Houston Astros.  When Nolan Ryan joined the Astros, there was probably no two pair of starting pitchers who ever threw as hard together.  Yet just when Richard was reaching his peak season as a pitcher, he began to complain to his manager that his pitching arm was feeling dead.  Baseball generally assumed he was slacking because he had been pitching so well.  But what was really happening was the working of a stroke, and when Richard’s stroke fully played itself out, he was out of baseball.

But the workings of his stroke continued and it led to him finally being fleeced of all his money.  He was finally discovered living under the overpass of a bridge in Houston,

With the help of his major league pension that kicked in, Richard has since been physically rehabilitated.

Margot Kidder:  Margot Kidder has been generally considered to be the best actress to ever play Lois Lane, starring in the movie where Christopher Reeve has been acknowledged to be by far the greatest actor to ever play Superman.  It is perhaps of the folklore of this film of Superman that both stars ended their lives tragically while still young.  Reeve of course died from the extended hardships of being paralyzed from the neck down after falling from a horse during a jumping completion.  Recently Kidder dies after many years of severer mental illness, where she was often found wandering aimlessly in the streets.

Because anyone – anyone –can become homeless when they lose their essential bearings.

Chris Sharp- Commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon