Thursday, December 8, 2011
Henry Earl. Who is he? Does his name sound familiar? Could you possible know someone by that name? Chances are you probably don’t. But, if by some chance you do, it’s likely not the same Henry Earl that we’re focusing on…unless of course you happen to know the most famous drunk man from the city of Lexington, Kentucky.
Henry Earl’s fame or perhaps infamy stems from his staggering arrest record. While many sources show discrepancies on the exact number of times this man has been arrested, nearly all recent sources document his arrests as totaling over 1,000. But Henry Earl’s name has spread outside of the Lexington bar scene in recent years thanks to a YouTube video displaying his many mug shots throughout the years. This video has led to increasing popularity of his nickname “James Brown” as well. And with one look at any of his photos and it’s easy to see why this local legend is compared to the musical legend.
While it’s doubtful that Henry Earl has the same musical talent as James Brown, he does seem to have a talent for drawing attention to himself wherever he goes. There are numerous websites devoted to Henry Earl and his impressive number of arrests. After his arrests hit the 1,000 mark he appeared on the late night television program ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ So, ladies and gents, prepare to learn more about this local legend of Lexington.
While there is nothing quite like some good old fashioned town gossip and drama to keep the masses entertained, it is generally best to go straight to the source for the real story. However, in this instance that is somewhat difficult. Every exaggeration about Henry Earl and his impressive record of arrests has stemmed from a portion of the truth. But, having built up such infamy it’s hard to determine what the truth really is about this man, and what the gossip and exaggerations are. Therefore, public records and interviews are the closest source of definitive truth about Henry Earl that can be discerned. But have no fear because the truth is almost as good as the fallacies.
According to the records from the Fayette County Court House that were made public at the end of two thousand and nine, Henry Earl has in fact been arrested one thousand three hundred and thirty three times. Henry Earl has spent an average of two hundred and fifty days in jail since two thousand and nine. This means that he was arrested for non-violent crimes (namely public intoxication) on an average of every 2.01 days out of the year.
In a video interview conducted by several teenagers on the streets of Lexington, he mentions repeatedly the importance of ‘looking good’ and ‘dressing nice’ (Earl, 2009). In this interview it is abundantly clear that Henry Earl is either intoxicated or very fully fulfilling the “James Brown” persona for which he has become known. The attire that Henry Earl wears is always very well put together and coordinated as if he spends at least some amount of time making sure that he is presentable. As the popularity of Henry Earl spread, so did the amount of comparisons made between the music legend and Henry.
The real James Brown was a singer, songwriter, and famous musician. He is known as the “originator of funk” for his part in increasing the popularity of this type of music. Funk is a blend of R&B, jazz, and soul music blended into a unique style with a rhythm that was new and easy to dance to. James Brown is also commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Soul” for being a major influence in the soul music scene as well. James Brown helped to increase his own popularity by dressing in attention catching outfits in bright, loud, and crazy colors. His physical appearance went hand in hand with his on stage antics and crazy dance style that made James Brown such a huge musical legend. With one look at a photo of James Brown’s mug shot in two thousand and four it becomes easy to see the physical similarities between the music legend and the Lexington local legend. James Brown’s photo can been seen below on the left and Henry Earl’s can be seen below on the right.
Henry Earl earned the nickname of James Brown nearly ten years ago when his unusual habit of racking up the outrageous amount of arrests he could accumulate began to be noticed by his fellow Lexington bar goers, the Fayette County Police Department, and the Lexington public as a whole. Henry Earl accepted this nickname wholeheartedly and at one point during the peak of his infamy Henry would even answer to this nickname. However, according to a post by a local Lexington blogger, Henry no longer answers to the nickname. This development came as no large surprise to the blogger as at the time in which Henry told him this, he was supposedly seeing help for his addiction to alcohol in an attempt to get out of the tremendous downward spiral he had been falling victim to for many years.
When it comes to the truly startling number of arrests that Henry Earl has managed to accumulate over the years it could be very easy to assume that the total arrest record reported by numerous websites is false. This is in fact the case but, surprisingly the number of Henry Earl’s supposed arrests are often lower than the actual number as opposed to higher. This source of discrepancy comes from the lack of computer based records kept by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and Detention Center before nineteen ninety two. Because of this lack of computerized records before nineteen ninety two, Henry Earl’s earliest arrests were overlooked when the tally of his apprehensions were being counted. The count of Henry Earl’s arrests online was declaring it as one thousand arrests nearly fifty arrests after his true one thousandth arrest. When added with the number of arrests that Henry Earl had accumulated before nineteen ninety two, the total become the one thousand three hundred and thirty three arrests that is now being reported as his grand sum.
While the arrest record of Henry Earl is a public record and can therefore be made available online, there were several complications with viewing his record. The first of these issues with viewing Henry Earl’s arrest record, being the fact that his complete and total arrest record is not found online because of the lack of computerized records before nineteen ninety two. The second issue with viewing Henry Earl’s arrest record is the amount of traffic that his infamy draws to the Fayette County Detention Center’s online web page. At the peak of Henry Earl’s online fame around two thousand and eight, one blogger was actually asked to remove the link leading to the Fayette County Detention Center’s web page because of the significant amount that the online hits to the page increased after the link to their web page was posted onto the blog.
While Henry Earl’s antics have been the source of amusement and entertainment for thousands, if not millions, of internet users as well as Lexington citizens for the past decade, it can be easy for bystanders to forget that this man really has a serious problem. Henry is an alcoholic with a very serious addiction. Henry Earl is 61 years old, this means that if he began drinking at the legal age of consumption, which is twenty one, then he has been consuming alcohol to at least some extent for the past forty years of his life. When the amount of years that he has been consuming alcohol is added to the amount of alcohol that Henry Earl consumes when he drinks, it becomes very evident that he is a prime candidate for a serious addiction problem.
Alcoholism is defined as the compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages. Medically, alcoholism is classified as a neurological disorder and a disease. This disease affects nearly one hundred and forty million people worldwide, and Henry Earl is one of those afflicted people. Alcoholism is what is known as a “dual disease” because if affects the person both physically as well as affecting them mentally. When an alcoholic stops or decreases their consumption of alcohol, they face withdraws as they would with any other type of drug that can be addictive. Alcoholics often have such strong addictions that they are compelled to drink simply because they feel that they cannot go on without consuming alcohol. Physically, alcohol consumption in these large amounts leads to rapid liver degeneration as well as the killing of brain cells; sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and central nervous system damage are all physical ramifications of alcoholism as well, not to mention your actual physical appearance is hit with the effects as well. Henry Earl could potentially be facing all of those mental and physical health concerns as a result of the alcoholism that has made him so wildly popular in Lexington and on the web. While this man’s arrest record may be the source of entertainment for many, Henry Earl could potentially be a very sick man.
Alcoholism can lead to strained personal relationship as well. Many alcoholics have strained family relationships as well as having trouble forming relationships with friends because of tension in social situations with their uncontrollable drinking habits. This is one aspect of alcoholism that affects Henry Earl which has become painfully evident to the public. It is not uncommon at all to run into Henry Earl while exploring the local bar scene and night life of Lexington. While many patrons and bar goers find it very enthralling to run into this local legend, the bar owners aren’t so fond of Henry venturing into their establishments. Henry Earl has received so much notoriety that many bar owners do not permit him to enter their establishments or purchase alcohol from them because they fear he will soon be arrested in or outside of their bar. This would lead to negative publicity and therefore a drop in sales for the bar owners.
While many online sources report that Henry Earl is homeless, a few blogs claim that this is untrue. Through extensive research though, it does seem to be clear that through at least a portion of his infamous arrests, Henry was in fact a homeless man. This is once again a common problem that alcoholics seem to run into. They spend so much of their time and currency fixated on their addiction that they fail to use their money to pay their rent or their bills and they end up on the streets to beg for change which all too often goes towards buying more alcohol to feed their addictions. Without proper care and rehabilitation, these people often never regain the lives that they once had before their addictions overtook them. Thankfully for Henry Earl, he has been given another chance at overcoming his alcoholism.