LINCOLN, NE—Though it has been at least five years since he outgrew the reckless behavior of his youth and finally got his life together, local man Josh Benton, 36, is still widely regarded by friends and family as an irresponsible yet endearing screwup, sources confirmed Wednesday.
Benton, who has held a steady job as a marketing manager since 2008 and recently made a down payment on his first home, reportedly retains a persistent reputation as a kindhearted but hopeless individual, despite having long ago settled down and abandoned the bad habits he once struggled with.
“We love Josh, he’s always fun to have around, but the guy still lives his life like an 18-year-old, you know?” Benton’s cousin Ari Freier, 33, said of the man who drives a 2010 Toyota Prius to work each morning, arriving at the office by 8 a.m. “Most people with a wild streak like that get it out of their system when they’re young, but Josh never quite made that transition.”
“Who knows, though, maybe someday he’ll meet the right person and make something of himself,” added Freier, whose cousin has been involved in a healthy, long-term relationship for the past three years. “Stranger things have happened.”
According to sources, while friends still describe him as “a really great guy” who “just needs to learn how to apply himself,” Benton is now entirely out of credit card debt, has found success in a career he finds personally fulfilling, and in fact makes more money than most of his peers.
Benton’s parents, meanwhile, cited various personal issues that either did not exist or were drastically out of date as they confirmed that they loved their son in spite of his many flaws, and expressed confidence he could turn his life around.
“Josh still needs to get his priorities straight, but he knows we’re always there to support him whenever he runs out of cash or needs to move back in,” Benton’s mother, Laura, told reporters. “He’ll find his way eventually. Until then, I suppose we just have to accept that he’s still figuring a lot of things out with his life.”
“It’s hard, but there comes a point when you just have to throw up your hands and let your kids do what they’re going to do,” she added.
For the sixth time in as many years, numerous friends confirmed that they remain optimistic this will be the year Benton finally gets his life on track.
Others, however, said that while they enjoy spending time with him and believe he “has his heart in the right place,” they were deeply concerned about the stable, responsible, and generally upstanding 36-year-old’s future.
“Sometimes I worry about him. We all do. It’s fine for Josh to drink every now and then, but when he’s blacking out and waking up sprawled on the bathroom floor with a broken hand, it’s clearly time for him to seriously reevaluate his life,” said Benton’s friend Zach Schneider, referring to an incident that occurred once in 2004 and was never repeated. “Hard not to love the guy, though. I just hope he’s able to break out of this tailspin soon.” Reached for comment, Benton, who confirmed he had just purchased an engagement ring and was planning to propose to his girlfriend later this week, expressed gratitude for the concern of his family and friends.
“I’m lucky to have so many people in my life who care about me,” Benton said. “I just hope one day I can stop being such a fuckup and get my shit together like them.”