The Tales of “Homeless Gary” brought to you by Ball State Alumni with support from Best One Hitters.
Those who know the man and the Legend of “Homeless Gary” know that he may not have a material home but he has a home in all of our hearts. The following tales and thoughts represent the man we have all come to respect…
Gary was more than the dusty old booze hound that you saw walking the streets of Muncie/Ball State campus. Gary was a fucking titan. A wandering silver-haired gypsy man whose grey matted fur shone like a knight’s silver armor. You may have seen his tobacco stained chin, and frozen boozes not in his beard…to me, these were just old battle scars on a wise, war-torn Viking traveling the black seas of Muncie, IN. Gary achieved a level of spiritual enlightenment that mere mortals rarely reach….Gary spiritually became one with the liquor. He banished a life of material excess, and rose above the wants and needs of man. Reaching Nirvana through liquid meditation, Gary was a monk who blessed Muncie. I once watched him touch a blind boy’s hand while he was highly intoxicated, and in seconds the blind boy was not only able to see, but also highly intoxicated. Miracles happened everyday. Gary often slept on a mattress in our backyard, often peering into Alex Frick’s window extending his magical blessings in order to keep Alex alive. A BoozeLord, a champion, a sex symbol, and a friend. Gary was my Jesus.
By: Garrett Goodman AKA Grimey G AKA Jarrett Joodman AKA The Pride of Ball Memorial
All colleges around the country seem to have that one person that represents them and what they stand for. Whether it be John Wooden at UCLA, Larry Bird at Indiana State, coach Bob Knight at IU… They were known for their fearless leading and their courageous personalities as they represent their universities with class and honor. Some people would say David Letterman would represent the MAC legend of the Ball State University. If you’ve walked down University Ave once in your life you would agree as we say “nay”. Homeless Gary represents Ball State University to the fullest. Residing at your local Village Pantry the man is a walking (swaying) legend as he smashes his luke-warm tall beers. How he got them? We have no idea. Over my 4 long years in Muncie, Indiana the man never ceased to drop below a .12 BAC and for that, we thank you.
As I walked out the door to class one brisk spring morning I caught you mid-daydream in our back yard. Being our senior year, I was not even alarmed at that filthy coat and blue jeans lounging on our property. Most would walk faster than your alcoholic body could handle to class to avoid you….instead, you and I shared a nice walk as we headed west towards campus. I shared many of words as I tried to decipher the vodka drenched rubbish you muttered. After that, I considered you my brother. We always appreciated your presence at our day parties as you struck the jackpot for cans to be recycled for that nickel. Most of us would consider that as just 5 cents. You, my friend, looked at that as one fortieth of the dirtiest room temperature beer you could get your hands on at Village Pantry. You are the face of Ball State University and full size Homeless Gary statue should be chiseled in your name to remind all of your stardom. Until then, keep that touch of gray beard held high and remind those youngins prancing around the Village what life is like when you no longer cherish material things.
By: Keagan McGuire
Think of him as the Joe Paterno of Ball State. Not only is Homeless Gary legendary, but he’s iconic. I, personally, like to consider him as the “The Prince of the Village.” I often wonder if he’s directly related to Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, but he wouldn’t know. Call him what you want. The fact is, this guy has been consistently drunk, the last 80% of his life (give or take a few years) because that’s all he needs.
He lives within his means, simply because he doesn’t have any. The guy makes things work without money, or a bed of his own. All he really needs to get him through the day is 4 packs of cigarettes, a warm down-coat Carhart he found in the VP dumpster, and the beer people supply him with when he shows up at a party looking for cans.
The point I’m trying to make about Gary is that he has taught me to not be afraid to occasionally forget your name and end up in jail after a 40 year binder. And if you decide to pull this off, its all hands on deck. You’ll need all the help you can get.
But most of all he made a life for himself off of pure character and in a world full of money and greed Gary defies the odds and paves his own way.
By: Ross Brosmer
“Homeless Gary”, a legend in the Muncie, IN area. My four years at Ball State I had a lot of run-ins with him. Even though I had numerous conversations with Gary, I understood very few things he ever said. I’m sure I am not alone on that. If you understood his rapid slurring, more power to you. He stopped by on occasion during some day parties, usually wheeling a cart of cans and seemed to enjoy our house for the amount of beer cans in the yard. He also stuck around to throw back one or two… Props to Gary for showing me a man who isn’t afraid to survive off the land and take the path less traveled.
By: Alex Frick
Gary was never a bashful individual. Granted he had never ending liquid courage that at its best was inspiring, and at its worst was “please don’t die on my property” worrisome. He never shied away from swindling a couple beers from your party or sitting in on a few poker games, while surprisingly winning his fair share of hands.
One thing most don’t understand is that Gary has some serious gear. I once bought an authentic throwback Jeff Gordon jacket off him on a brisk spring night for $23. Bizarre to think, but Gary may have been on Gordon’s pit crew in the early 90’s because that jacket was as official as it gets, and I know he’s good with cars because he helped me push mine out of the snow once. I felt a little weird running into him later that night as the temperature had dropped considerably and I was wearing that jacket like a trophy. He was all smiles though as he double-fisted those forties he bought with the money I gave him. It was a win-win.
Gary always surprised me with his awareness of current events. Shortly after the game where Peyton threw a record 7 touchdowns against the Ravens it was Gary that appeared in our backyard. Blacked. So appropriately we started ripping Taaka with him. Between all of Gary’s grunts and sighs we couldn’t really make out much of what he was saying. In fact the only two words that we could barely understand were “Peyton Manning” which he repeated continuously, knowing very well of what The Sheriff had accomplished that night. I’m not sure how Gary managed to keep up with the times. Possibly from all of the TV he viewed through Alex Frick’s Bedroom window, along with some other things..who knows?
We can all agree that Gary is a living legend. I would like to think Gary and I are friends. Not good enough friends however for him to host a soup kitchen with his homeless friends in my bedroom while I was gone, which til this day I still consider a possibility that one Christmas break… It’s safe to safe homeless Gary brought a different dimension to my college career, for better or worse and I hope to see the legend of Homeless Gary live on.
By: Michael Bender
I don’t think there are enough words in the English language to describe the man I’m about to talk about. Homeless, peaceful, and kind, are the ones that come to mind first. The man I’m referring to has been walking the streets of Muncie for god knows how long; his name is Gary or better known around the greater Muncie area as “Homeless Gary.” If I knew what his last name was I would’ve said it, but unfortunately I don’t think anyone knows it. Whether that’s a good thing or not is irrelevant, the main thing is Homeless Gary has had more friends come and go than most will meet in their whole lives. Whether he’s trying to bum a cigarette, no pun intended, or if you look out your window one day and he’s picking cans from that weekends rager, Gary is the Fuckin Shit and a legend around these parts! Sure he seems a little creepy when he’s blacked on a Monday afternoon chilin outside the Village Pantry, but who gives a shit! Chirp Chirp and this ones for you Gary. – Ya boy
By: Justin Nick
The official mascot of Ball State University may be the Cardinal, but ask any current student, alumni or Muncie local and they’ll tell you that the heart and soul of BSU is Homeless Gary. Gary has managed to become Muncie’s most famous resident, without even having a residence of his own. The local community has embraced Gary, giving him a celebrity status the likes of which most vagrants can only dream of. The Locker Room has named his premiere napping spot “Gary’s Booth”, locals allow him to hang around and drink in their backyards and as far as I’m concerned he is an unpaid staff member of the Village Pantry.
Personally speaking, nothing would brighten my day more than whenever I had a chance to hang out and chat with this living legend. There is nothing quite like sharing a beer and some cigarettes with ole Gare while trying to understand his one of a kind dialect (A dialect so rare that it will be studied by top universities worldwide one day)
PROTIP: The more you drink, the easier he becomes to understand. He may start off sounding like a combination of Animal from the Muppets and Charlie Brown’s teacher, but by god if you throw a few back he’ll sound better than Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. Trust me, I’ve had several heart to hearts with Gary where I was in a condition where he could’ve beaten me in chess had we played.
Now, I’m about to say something that sounds like it’s coming from Indengente Gary himself, but hear me out…Gary is immortal. There, I said it. Gary has cheated death more times than most of us did on homework during our respective times at school, yet, he’s doing better than ever. If you have ever asked him about himself, similar to the Joker in The Dark Knight when asked about his scars, Gary never tells the same story twice when asked about his past, present or future. Gary is the Guardian of Muncie, sent down from the Heavens to protect it and guide the students and locals through their own journeys in life. A humble hero, who never asks anymore for more than a Natural Light or a Menthol.
Thank you Gary.
By: Matt Sergi
We woke around noon, it was a beautiful day,
Beer pong set up, friends on their way.
It could have been luck, but it had to be fate.
The introduction of a lifetime shortly awaits.
I heard the rustling of bushes, a squirrel? A deer?
A quick glance to my right, Homeless Gary appears.
He approached in confusion, as if he’d discovered new land,
A smile on his face and a forty in hand.
He approached the table, not lookin too good.
He spoke to us, but not a word understood.
We lifted our half gals and all took a pull,
For that empty spot in our hearts was now oh so full.
By: Marc Wagner