Monday, March 1, 2010

"Best Bum in America?"


I feel like the last Charlottean online to know about this, but what's the deal with this Facebook page for William "Chilly Willy" Major, the panhandler known to frequent areas around East Boulevard and Central Avenue?

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that, in the age of social media, somebody decided it'd be cool to make up a Facebook page for a well-known panhandler. But I think I'm entitled to go "what the?!" when the page garners more than 5,000 fans!

Looking at the stuff on there, I found myself laughing out loud at one point, only to quickly add, "This is so wrong!" People comment on their encounters with Major, an alcoholic.

Wrote one guy: "Just saw Chilly @ gas station on Central Ave. He was singing " I'm Chilly Willy, I'm Chilly Willy" while in the bathroom!!!!! Funny S**t!!!"

There's YouTube videos on the site of Major, with titles such as "Best Bum Ever" and "Greatest Drinker of All Time."

Opined one commenter: "His drinking ability is super cool."

Wrote another: "I think that there is a small part in all of us that would like to be like Willy (go where you want, do what you want, say what you want), and at the same time is scared to death of ending up like him. He is our collective avatar."

Cheryl Clawson Frasier, who identified herself as a therapist, didn't find the page amusing: "This man has severe mental issues...I am horrified of those of you who record him and laugh," she wrote.

The whole thing leaves me with a ton of questions: Who created the page? Were they making fun of him, or making a tribute to him? Did Major give permission? Would it make any difference if he didn't?

If anybody knows what the deal is with this page, clue the late guy in here. Just curious.

27 comments:

Nibletodell said...

his name is Larry Majors, not William

Rochelle said...

I've seen him around, usually around the Circle K on Graham St. Seems like I've passed him on the street and he was having a pretty good conversation with himself.

Anonymous said...

I am sure his family in Charlotte is horrified. There was a feature on him in the Observer awhile back and all they have been through trying to get him help. Shame on those who are amused by mental illness and addiction.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I could go on all day about this, but just a few thoughts:

-Facebook, like any social media (here?) allows for a certain degree of anonymity, thus giving people license to say things they might not say to one's face.
-Making fun of a "bum" reassures us that at least we are not that bad and allows us to vent our anger at an increasingly dysfunctional society
-countdown until someone logs on and says "It's just a joke! Lighten up!"

5...4...3...2...

Anonymous said...

Thats the kind of behavior you get when a bunch on dumb yankees move down south. Who ever created the facebook page is a scumbag. Id like to meet him on the street.

Anonymous said...

You are not the last to know, but I agree, this is not funny. I have encountered this person and it is a frightening experience. Once at Showmars at 7th St. & Caswell, he came in and begin speaking directly to customers, using profanity, etc. No one (not even the workers) seemed to know what to do about him. If my husband and son had not been with me, it would have been much more frightening. The man needs help and he needs to be off the streets.

Anonymous said...

Boy! I'm certainly pleased to see that you're upholding the standards of relevance, hard-hitting journalism and community worth that Jeff Elder established in this column. True, nature might abhor a vacuum, but that's no excuse to fill it with this drivel.

Anonymous said...

I've always heard Willy came from a wealthy family in Myers Park, and still got money from them. Hard to say, but in addition to "having severe mental issues", he's kind of just an asshole...

Anonymous said...

Yup - you're the last one in Charlotte to know about this.

P.S. -- I'm also a fan on Nick Mackey on Facebook, for identical reasons.

hiprhyme said...

i've seen him in the liquor store on south boulevard.

Anonymous said...

I know "Chilly" as his Doc at a local ER many times... Heres the facts on Chilly:
1) Alcoholic, does NOT want help
2) Racist, constantly dropping N-Word to peoples faces
3) Sexually abusive to nurses
4) Games the system (e.g. I have chest pain = 8hr ER workup)
5) I have seen him throw a brick through a business window when denied the bathroom.

He is NOT a good person. City study from last year shows that it would be cheaper to GIVE him a house AND a servant, rather than keep him on the street (from a $ standpoint).

When do we say enough is enough?

Anonymous said...

It is sick and shameful that you are talking about this.

showing the pic and sharing the humiliating comments.

CO deserves to go down with crap like this.

Melanee said...

My friend told me about Chilly Willy via Facebook (I live Australia he lives in Charlotte.

I thought it was so funny, i am now a fan of Chilly Willy!

Its neverending to what people are admiring these days on the net ....

im thinking about starting a fan club on Facebook on my towns famous bum ...The Pigeon Lady ....

Anonymous said...

The fanpage is in tribute of him. People like him because he's funny. It should be pretty obvious.

Brandon said...

I know Chilli and i know his history, yes he is a biligerant drunk, and he can be very offensive but do you know why
from what i understand he was a very well off man, who had a promising career, and then a tragedy toke him down, his wife and children were killed buy a drunk driver, and his parents were killed in a house fire, im not saying this is an excuse to be the way he is, but if this had happen to you, and you could not escape the grief that this man knows then you would walk around with a considerable chip on your shoulders too, im sure some of you call yourselves christians, i say dont sit in judgement, lest you be judged yourself

Anonymous said...

His name is William Larry Major, His niece made him a facebook page for people to post when and where they saw him so she can keep tabs on him. Mandy his niece was a very kind girl that kept trying to make him come live with her. I lived on Central my entire life, I hung out with him when I was a teen about 17 years ago... He was a nice man. Stopped a man from grabbing me off the street one day after school... RIP

Anonymous said...

I know him and his family. His wife died the same way about 10 years ago. His dad, a well known pastor and adulterer, disowned him after he disagreed with church teachings. I knew him before the homelessness and alcohol abuse, that eventually contributed to his mental illness, used to make him forget his depression and disappointment. He was a free spirit, a product of his time. He chose to live this way. He would love the attention and memorial of all this.

Anonymous said...

Why are you scared of a homeless helpless human bselfish and judgementaleing? Who in the hell said your closed minded judgemental a%& need to be loose on the streets? You dont know what that man been through or pushed him over the edge. Niether did u do anything to help him rither so on that note go f&$# urself. Now be scared of you bc ur

Anonymous said...

Stupid 69 yr old lady. Pedestrians have the right of way. Rip WLM

Anonymous said...

You my not so much of a friend, are a world class douchebag.

mamakim89 said...

Even though he was homeless and drank didn't make him less of a person. Everybody has problems and who are you to judge? If you knew Willy you know he always tried to make you laugh one way or another. He was a ginuwine person regardless of his lifestyle. May he rest in peace and God Bless his soul. RIP WILLY

ESDOT STPETER said...

CHILLY WAS A GREAT MAN. THROUGH MENTAL ILLNESS HE WAS KIND. I'VE SEEN PPL TRY TO PROVOKE HIM AND HIM KEEP HIS COOL AND STAY POSITIVE. HE HAD HIS SPAZ OUT MOMENTS BUT ALL REAL PPL DO. HE HAS A FACEBOOK MEMORIAL PAGE BECAUSE PPL LOVE HIM. GOD BLESS U CHILLY ME AND THE WIFE GONE MISS U

K Fowler said...

I agree with Eric Frazier and many of the other commenters. He was a nuisance; I live in Chantilly and have encountered CW more than a couple of times. He was an asshole. Belligerent and offensive. The FB page Mr. Frazier is referencing was NOT created by his niece; it was created by a random person after CW was killed.

I'm not saying that his life I not worth mourning, but this is pretty ridiculous. He was a drain on society, contributed very little (if anything) and seemed to have been fairly miserable.

In no way do I believe that over 7000 (current likes #) people will miss him. I don't even believe that 10 people will. This whole thing is an indication that people (including me) would rather sit at home and wax philosophical instead of engaging in actual meaningful discourse or action. I call it talking to hear your head roar.

Anonymous said...

I'm also scared of people like her.. so judgemental and nonunderstanding.. selfish. Its just what society has made you.. you can't help it, you'll prob. Look back at some point and realize all the pain and destruction you've caused just by being judgemental.

Anonymous said...

CW was outing and live life his way so what if u didn't like him. I bet he has more Facebook friends and more people respected him then u just be real your a hater hell he was homeless and had problems we all do nobody prefect. He will be missed god bless. Just learn from him open your eyes u never know that could have be one of your life members or U. So be slow to judge.

Sophia said...

I have read just about all of these comments about Chilly Willy. Here's what most of those who are offended is missing. Chilly Willy was a personality hard to miss. He was part of the landscape of Charlotte. His FB page is the equivalent of a memorial service. He lived his life out loud. He did crazy, funny, and bad things. For there to be over 10,000 likes, he must have made and impact somewhere. Those of you who are offended...get over it! I saw him just about everyday I will truly miss seeing him around town. RIP Chilly Willy

Anonymous said...

It actually isn't a joke at all. Larry was one of the sweetest men I've met and he overcame a lot of really huge issues in his life. People made that page to respect him, you just read the negative posts.