Hi, in 1980, when Bowie was playing the Elephant Man, he also depicted himself as a freak running from Scary Monsters:
"Scary Monsters, super creeps, keep me running, running scared."
But who were the "scary monsters"? The monsters were famous: Bowie himself. At the 74 Grammy Awards, the Dick Cavett show, the Diamond Dogs tour, the skeleton in Los Angeles. You see, after retreating from LA, he cleaned himself up in Berlin, yet returned haunted by these old well known images:
"Ashes to Ashes/funk to funky/we know Major Tom's a junkie"
Having gotten sober, with "the sun on your arms, strength in your stride, and hope in those squeaky clean eyes," Bowie was faced by those who still treated him as a drug addicted creep: "you get chilly receptions everywhere you go." That's why Teenage Wildlife the song is so similar to Heroes, Bowie is adding detail to the former song, showing how a hero remains clean and sober even though still derided as a drunken monster.
Bowie confronted these issues on Scary Monsters, wrote about them well.
Let's keep this post at the top, for discussion's sake.