EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

Bobbing and Weaving: A Plea For Help.

Ever since moving to South Florida three years ago I began to refer to driving as dodgeball.  Ben Stiller be damned – this isn't about comedy, it's about principle and the longer you drive down here the more you begin to feel that people are actually trying to hit you!

Now, I've got to be careful with broad, blanket statements like that because there are millions of drivers down here and they don't all suck.  But there's so many bad drivers doing so many bad things that I was literally afraid to drive for the first six months that I was down here!  The thing that really got to me was the unpredictability of it all; the best way I can explain it is with a quote from a two truck driver I met the other day: "Turn signals are optional equipment down here."

Now for the backstory.  Back in 2000, me and the boys were making the run from D.C. back to north Jersey and a friend of mine got all riled up watching a driver on I-95 change lanes without signaling first.  Previously I'd thought it was just bad manners but I really hadn't committed enough brain cells to the concept to take it any further than that.  He said it was a pet peeve of his and, with him being a pretty reasonable guy, that got me to thinking 'why would a minor inconvenience, and a seemingly harmless one at that, get an otherwise rational person so pissed off'? 

In spite of the abundance of regulations regarding how a motor vehicle should be operated we are largely left ot govern ourselves out there.  In any kind of thing that has multiple moving parts, some degree of coordination is required to ensure proper execution of task.  Think about the engine in your vehicle – regardless of the fuel, that engine is being coordinated in some sort of way.  Think about your favorite sports team – it doesn't matter what sport they play, they're all trying to work in some sort of cohesive rhythm.  Think about any kind of military unit anywhere in the world.  Coordinated.  Think about what happens when that coordination breaks down in any of those examples.  Blown engines…  busted plays…  wounded soldiers…  badness, basically. 

Put simply, using turn signals gives pedestrians and other drivers the ability to accurately anticipate where you intend to be.  They, then, can make sure that they're not there when you're there, get it?  The faster things happen the less time we have to react to those happenings and the more important it becomes to have this power of anticipation available to us. 

Ok, so on a conceptual level this makes sense but what about applying it to real world situations?  How many times have you waited at an intersection because of the presence of an oncoming vehicle only to find that vehicle turning at the same intersection and you waited because they did not indicate that intention to turn?  What about being on the highway and having to REACT SUDDENLY because someone just up ahead decided that they wanted to be where you were about to go and didn't warn you they were coming?

Here's the part I need help with.  I know that the law says we're supposed to do this and that there are rational, safety-oriented concerns that validate these laws but I also know that a great many drivers only signal turns and lane changes:

  1. when there's a cop right on their ass – except for South Floridians, where the cops will Bob & Weave too!
  2. when they're going to cut you off at such short range that they're concerned you not hit your brakes in time to avoid a collision.

What I'd like to understand, if at all possible, is the other side of this argument.  Is it simply unreasonable to expect someone to use their blinkers when one hand is on the wheel and the other holding their cell phone?  Is it just more fun when the thrill of injury is part of your everyday commute?  Since moving down here I've found what was once a rare occurance is now commonplace; an average of 3.5 in 10 drivers will not warn you of an impending lane change on the highway and that number rises to 5 in 10 on the street!  I don't understand crackheads either but at least they can hide behind their addiction.  Can someone please tell me how to rationalize this behavior? 


April 17, 2006 Posted by | Driving | 2 Comments

P.S. Not-Good-Enough

I don't know why but lately I've found myself pondering the public school system. Odd, considering that I don't have children and I'm well over a decade removed from said system, but that's where my head's been nonetheless. What can I say… it's not easy being green. So, in it's usual progression, thinking evolved into wondering which then evolved into researching, and this ultimately resulted in me banging my head onto the keyboard again.

I've been thinking alot about not just the school system in general but about specific things like how it works and such. It's not uncommon to hear fragments in the media about public schools being poorly maintained or having old, worn textbooks; but once you get to college and the book money is coming directly out of your pocket, it's also not uncommon to opt for the older books, this time of your own volition! Ok – so let's skip the books part… so long as they're legible, the pages aren't stuck together, and the info isn't outdated, we're good.

Someone recently asked me which subjects I was best at in school and my answer was: it varied from one year to the next. Though I was typically a math/science guy, there've been plenty of times where I was unusually strong in language, history, etc, not because I was in a rare mood for the whole year, but because I had a teacher that was particularly adept at making it interesting. On the off chance I lucked out and got a teacher that was not only interesting and passionate, but also adamant about holding me accountable instead of letting me skate by for just being "gifted", that's when I really dug in deep and grew as a person.

It's amazing what you discover that you're capable of when someone refuses to take any of your shit, ain't it?

Yeah, pretty much. Last night there was this thing on HBO where actor/comedian Robert Wuhl, who also turns out to be a big history buff, lectures a college class on little known pieces of trivia about American history. In most cases history bores me senseless but his enthusiasm and delivery and material made for a very interesting program. For the sake of argument, let's say that we all feel that way – that the right person can make even a dull topic more appealing. Teachers, then, make a big difference in the quality of education.

I've often heard standardized tests being wholly dismissed for being culturally biased. I'd often interpret that as a euphemistic way of saying they're designed to prevent minorities from succeeding academically. Most of these tests are just math and English, occasionally history or science or something but always comprised of stuff we should have been exposed to during the school year. If you're being tested on things you were taught how can the test be biased against anybody's race or gender or anything? Sure, there's big words and you're being watched closely and there's great pressure to perform but that just makes it a little bit more like real life, doesn't it?

But there's lots of different factors that can influence academic and testing performance.  I had every excuse in the book to perform poorly but I was home schooled and maybe just a bit special, oh, and competitive as hell too.  What about other kids whose parents aren't leaving it entirely up to schoolteachers and are home schooling or coughing up the bucks for tutoring?  Or kids that are genuinely gifted or just plain hard workers and refuse to stop working until they're at the top of their class?  No one expects every student to have the same level of drive; or every parent to have the time or finances to make home schooling or tutoring an available option for each kid.  But what we do expect is that each kid that shows up in school is going to have roughly the same shot that every other kid has but that apparently isn't the case either.

Say, did you know that public schools receive bonus money from the state government as rewards for performance based on their standardized test scores?  We're not talking about a high school out in some well-to-do neighborhood that can afford to field Lacrosse and Equestrian teams.  No.  The faculty at schools that record higher scores on standardized tests are rewarded financially. 

These schools are getting their "pick of the liter", so to speak, because of simple common sense.  If you were a schoolteacher would you rather do your job at a school where metal detectors and armed security are needed to ensure safety, or a school where test scores are higher and you'll be paid more for doing the same damn job?  Well it's not really up to you because everybody wants to work at that second school and they're only accepting the best candidates.  The rest will have to take jobs at whatever schools will have them. 

Who you know may be plenty important once your kids are all grow'd up but while they're coming up, apparently, who your neighbors are can be just as important.  I guess it really does take a village to raise a child?


April 8, 2006 Posted by | Observations | 1 Comment

Wait… what did you call me?

It's amazing how something can be right in front of your face for so long and you just never realize it until someone comes along and points it out to you.  I had that kind of experience a few months ago and although it probably shouldn't have, it did bother me.

Here we go again…  To the Bat-Time Machine, Robin!!

Damn right.  It's unfortunate that I don't remember where the beacon of enlightenment came from but if I had to take a guess it was the premier episode of The Boondocks; where one of the main characters was angered by being repeatedly referred to as "well-spoken".   I can identify with the little crumb snatcher from the tv show because I too often received that compliment as a child.

And that's exactly how I took it – in my eternal quest to simplify all that I encounter, when someone used these words to describe me I took it as a compliment.  Well.  Spoken.  A simple two-word phrase used to describe someone who possesses impressive verbal skills, right?  Of course!  How else could you possibly interpret it? 

That's where the cartoon comes in.  It's an edgy satire that specifically takes shots at today's African-American culture and race relations.  During the first episode a young Black boy was making comments deliberately intended to anger some wealthy White adults at a garden party; "Jesus was Black."  "Ronald Reagan was the devil." stuff like that…  Instead of being even the slightest bit annoyed they applauded him for being so well-spoken; which, of course, infuriated him to no end.

Here comes the boom.

Yeah.  That's when it hit me.  It became such commonplace that I truly have no idea how many times I was called well-spoken as a child but the one thing I do know is that from the second grade to the ninth, when I attended accelerated classes in predominantly White schools I've never in my life heard a smart White kid referred to as well-spoken!

Am I reading too much into it?  If the intention was purely complimentary, shouldn't knowing that be enough?  You don't compliment people for breathing, you expect it of them…  what if the unspoken implication is "you speak well for a Black kid"?  Despite harmless surface intentions or should any kind of deep-seeded, subconscious racism lurking behind the "compliment" be justification enough to set a motherfucker's shoes on fire and watch them burn?


April 5, 2006 Posted by | Personal Revelations | 4 Comments

Taekwondo Advice? Sure, I can do that.

This one is going to be a weird one but I feel like I gotta do it.  A few days ago somebody surfed into this site from a search engine, which isn't all that strange, but what is odd is the search term that brought them here: "Taekwondo sparring a taller faster opp".  See?  Weird – but what the hell, let's try to turn this into an advice column for a little while shall we?

I've always had decent speed but believe me I've got plenty of experience running up against guys that were bigger or faster or whatever and a good strategy will take you a long way. 

You can't be serious.  You want somebody that's getting whipkicked upside the head to employ strategy?

Abso-fucking-lutely.  If you can't win on athleticism you don't have many choices left!  Since you're already the smaller fighter you use that to your advantage and you "make yourself smaller" by tighting up your stance and crouching just a bit; staying low means their hands have to come down a little bit further to get you and staying tight means you won't give them many kicking targets. 

Here's the tricky part: you want to combine this tight crouch with a counterfighting mentality – lots of leading and lateral movement.  A bigger fighter will likely have a longer range than you and I understand that longer range plus more speed can equal bad news for anybody.  Preparation is a great equalizer: as they approach their striking range you give them a target and be ready to defend.  With some good lateral movement, not only can you potentially make your opponent miss but you can also leave them off-balance or at the very least leave them poorly positioned to defend themselves.

Expect to get hit!  Faster fighter with longer range is bad, bad news and let's be realistic here.  Just try not to get caught flush and don't be afraid, yeah it might hurt but it won't kill you and since it doesn't you just keep fighting through.

Hey!  Smart guy!  Can they call you when they go out with your advice and…

Win?  Sure, but I'm not done.  There's one last critical piece that I think will help: in-fighting.  You typically don't see a whole lot of elbows and knees in TKD schools so that stuff will be dependent on what your school does and doesn't allow.  If you can't go there then try to make your shorter limbs into an advantage.  Once you get inside your opponent's range you stay there!  You want to crowd them because in a striking environment those long limbs can become a liability.  Shorten up your punches into hooks and uppercuts and, if you can swing it, maybe throw in a few push/kick combinations just to mix it up; but make sure you rush right back in so you're back inside their effective striking range again!

This is what worked for me but that doesn't automatically mean it will work for you or anybody else – this is all very dynamic and there's lots of variables to consider.  Whatever gameplan you decide to employ, if you can remember it AND stave off the natural inclination to panic once you start taking jabs and roundhouse kicks up and down your grille, you'll stand a much better shot of winning your match!  Good luck!

So… how'd I do?  ūüėČ


March 29, 2006 Posted by | Sports | 4 Comments

Just win, baby.

Awhile back I took some kind of online, professional personality test and, among other things, it said that I "do not suffer fools well", meaning, more or less, that if you're in charge and I have to take orders from you you'd damn well better know what you're doing. All that reminds me of an interesting event from a few years back.

In 2000 I was working a .com, which by itself was pretty hot – you could open up a company called "We Sell Shit.com" and you were practically guaranteed to make millions!  It was fast-paced and spontaneous and the company was young both in age and in personnel demographic.  In retrospect, I like to refer to that environment as being very 'Free Willy', and of course I mean that in more ways that one…

So, anyway, that's the background.  A local announcement comes out that my entire department is going to participate in some sort of all day team building exercise.  There were 18 of us in total so we were broken out into three teams of six members each, let's call them A, B and C for the sake so simplicity; all pretty standard stuff so far, and there was a tangible sense of anticipation in the air as none of us have any idea what we're about to get ourselves into.  I stroll in that morning just as the event is about to begin and I'm the last person to be announced onto Team C.

Too much build up… get to it already…

Patience!  It's getting good!  Team C so far had a pretty impressive cast of characters including my boss' boss, the VP of the whole damn dept.  Just as I'm assigned onto Team C, a friend of mine, hearing that I was her teammate, shouts out: "We got Barber??", then waging her pointed finger at our opposition, followed with "We're going to win!!"

Oh, how very League of their Own.  Did anybody whack her with a baseball glove?

Uhm… no.  Apparently, once again, my reputation for being fiercely competitive had preceeded me and just my presence on the team was enough to generate excitement!  Then as we exit our office on 33rd street we're given the mission: Each team is handed an instant camera and a list of 12 scavenger hunt locations.  Our mission is to take photographs of each location on our list and meet back at a pub on Amsterdam and Seventy-Something street by 5pm.  The first team back with as many photos as possible wins.  And to make sure our photos aren't pulled out off the internet or something like that, members of our team have to appear in the photos!  Furthermore, each team's list was slightly different from the others so you couldn't follow another team around Manhattan and just outrun them back to the pub.  Cute, huh?


Teams A and B took one look at their respective lists and took of sprinting towards the nearest subway station.  Just as my team was about to do the same I stopped everyone in their tracks.  Now, as far as not suffering fools well, this VP guy wasn't a fool at all… not hardly, but he was new to the team and caught up in the spirit of fun so he was probably just wrapped up in the excitement of the game.  Me?  I play to win at all times, period.  Our list involved going as far north as Yankee Stadium and as far south as The Statue of Liberty and ten more stops in between!  We've got to cover over 11 miles of the busiest streets in the country with approximately eight million people in the way, and we've only got 6 hours to do it. 

I took one look at the list and said to myself, 'It can't be done'.  I re-read the rules again and the wording about "the team with the most pictures wins" indicated to me that the challenge was meant to be impossible.  I leaned over to Mister VP and told him I needed his credit card.  He gave me a funny look.  I told him I had an idea and I just needed him to trust me.  Now, I'm aware that I took a gamble there – at that point in our relationship all he knew about me is whatever he heard about me when he took over the team because we really hadn't interacted directly very much yet.  Relying on The Rep twice in one morning?!  Anyway – he tried to look as trusting as possible and handed me his corporate card, then me and my boy Wolf walked across the street to the camera store…

The losers of the event were amazed when we showed up at 5pm with all 12 photographs.  They took turns inspecting our list to make sure we had to cover as much ground as they did, and inspecting out pictures to make sure they weren't Photoshop'd.  When I finally told them how we beat them they were really pissed.  They say we cheated; I have somewhat of a militaristic mindset so I said we were faced with an impossible challenge and had no choice but to adapt and overcome.  They didn't care for that answer too much so I replied with another of my favorite sayings:  Fuck 'em.


March 28, 2006 Posted by | Personal Revelations, Work | 2 Comments

Gentlemen, halt your engines!

The game, as we know it, may soon change.¬† The game of courtship.¬† Get your boots on ’cause this one’s going to be dirty.¬† To quote the immortal words of The Fresh Prince, Ok – here’s the situation:

Some guy up in Michigan is dating this girl.¬† She tells him that, for whatever reason, she’s incapable of getting pregnant.¬† He says cool because (paraphrased) “I don’t want to have kids anyway”.¬† They go on doing their thang and then the impossible happens – she gets pregnant!¬† Now back to the present, the baby is eight months old and the baby momma wants child support and he feels that he should not be obligated to support a decision she made without him.

The Deadbeat Dad Phenomenon happens every day.  Why is it in the news now?

Because he didn’t run.¬† He’s not hiding.¬† He’s standing his ground and trying to fight it in court!¬† The case is being called Roe v. Wade For Men and the National Organization for Men is working with him to have this issue addressed.¬†

That dude’s smoking crack.¬† You can’t beat chicks in court.

Oh yeah?¬† What if he wins?¬† Wait – let’s come back to that one.¬† Look at the argument that he’s making.¬† He’s alleging that according to our current laws maternity is an option for women practically up until birth, sure abortion is morally questionable and even moreso during the third trimester but it’s still biologically possible; but for men the option of paternity is lost upon fertilization.¬† The saying “if you want to play you’ve got to pay” is cute but is it fair?

Fair?  Go re-read that slut thing!

So far this discussion has been spreading across the internet like crazy.¬† Some men have argued that he’s only asking to not be held financially accountable for a decision he had no part in whereas some women have countered by saying that because men are biologically incapable of getting pregnant he deserves no say in her decision.¬† Both, very interesting perspectives.¬† It’s not for me to say who’s right and who’s wrong and who’s wrong here but I know one thing for certain: If you had the option of crossing a street to the left or a street to the right and the decision was entirely up to you, and you chose to go left and got run over, I’ll be damned if you’re going to tell me I should pay your hospital bills!

“How do you write women so well?¬† I think of a man, then I strip him of reason and accountability.”

No.¬† That movie was a comedy and the character who made that statement was clearly insane, however, how many adults do you know that are allowed to blame others for actions that they were equally liable for?¬† Isn’t equal what this is all about?¬† Equal rights for both genders?¬† The biology thing about men not getting pregnant?¬† Ok, ok, how about this – if men promise never, ever¬†to blame women when we contract prostate cancer will you guys let this one go?

That was stupid.

Was it?¬† Whatever.¬† Before I forget – the part about “changing the game as we know it”.¬† What happens if this guy wins?¬† We all know that statistically child support and spousal support case victories have historically been heavily slanted in women’s favor but one could argue that this is because historically men have advanced faster, professionally, and made more money for the same work too.¬† Regardless, we all know he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this case.¬† Hell, he’s even said himself that he expects to lose!¬† But what if he did?¬† Does it mean that, if a man properly protects himself, a woman can have his baby and still not have him locked in for the next two decades?¬† Will this change in accountability change the way the courtship game is played?¬† Will we ever see another Girls Gone Wild video again?


March 24, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

The Right Hand of My Father.

There was this thing my dad used to do when I was a kid and I thought it was as cool as it comes.¬† Here’s the program – I’d go out and do something: Get an ‘A’ in a tough class, figure out the answer to something that was clearly beyond my years, beat The Old Man at a game of chess or Stratego…¬† take your pick.¬†

What about hitting homeruns or scoring touchdowns?? 

Sorry, I wasn’t that kid.¬† Back then, if I did anything impressive it probably involved a classroom.¬† I was always pretty sharp in my karate classes but when that’s the only sport you’re any good at but you’re still too timid to compete in tournaments it’s gonna be hard for people to hear about it, y’know?¬† What was I saying?¬† Chess and Stratego!¬†

My parents were no dummies… they both knew what a money-grubbing little snot I was back then.¬† Occasionally my reward for performance would be The Gift of Andrew Jackson (we’re talking about the 80s here people!)¬† But my favorite would be when my dad would be so impressed with whatever I just pulled off that he’d just give me this beaming grin, extend his right hand and say to me, “Son, shake my hand!”

You’re wasting my time reading this whole thing about a fucking handshake?

No!¬† Not just any handshake.¬† It was my reward for a job well done.¬† My uncle once told me this story about ‘how men shake hands’.¬† He educated me on it because I was carrying something in my right hand and greeted his outstretched right arm with my left; which prompted him to immediately withdraw his hand!¬† He said you never ever, ever shake a man’s hand with your left.¬† He said that back when men fought with swords they fought right-handed.¬† Even if the swordsman was left-handed he learned to duel with his right because his teacher was right handed and that’s just how it was done… it was a close-minded world back then.¬† If two warriors shook hands with their left they’d both still have their sword arm still available to wield a weapon, but if they offered their sword arm to shake with the other it was a sign of trust and respect.¬†

Overly simplistic?¬† Yeah, probably.¬† True story?¬† You know what, I honestly have no idea.¬† It sounds feasible but I’ve never looked it up – all that sword arm stuff could be total bullshit but none of that ever mattered to me.¬† It was a simple story about a simple time when honorable men knew how to show respect to one another and that, to me, was more important than nitpicking at it.¬†

I miss those days, before I had bills, when all it took was a firm handshake to make me feel like I really did something.


March 14, 2006 Posted by | Personal Revelations | 3 Comments

Groundbreaking? No, but it’s still interesting!

Did you see it?¬† The name of the show is called “Black. White.” and, unfortunately, I can’t say it’s an entirely new concept thanks to¬†an old B/W film I saw called Black Like Me.¬† What they have in common is that in both of these productions makeup is used to conceal a person’s race.¬† Where Black Like Me was a movie about a White reporter that went undercover, in 1964 (???), to find out what it was like to be Black; this new show has two families, one Black and one White, and…

Wait.  Stop.  Hold it right there.  A White man, in 1964, wanted to find out what it felt like to get attacked by police dogs?  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???

See the movie, seriously, but do it carefully – don’t draw comparisons or look to validate or disprove, just take it for what it is: a recollection of events that really happened to this guy.¬† Anyway… this new show is using Hollywood’s latest makeup tricks to conduct an experiment where two White adults and a young White girl and two Black adults and a young Black boy will change races!¬†

What’s fascinating to me is the way these families are approaching this experiment, they’re trying to pick up just enough language and mannerisms to complete the charade.¬† This isn’t some C. Thomas Howell thing about White people trying to “act Black” or vice versa…¬† well, with the possible exception of Bruno – the older White gentleman who seems to be eagerly immersing himself in his newly permissible usage of the otherwise forbidden N-word.

Run that by me again?¬† There’s a White dude on commercial TV saying nigger?

Yes.¬† Enthusiastically.¬† But it’s not what you think – he’s an older guy from¬†a different time in America; racism in his day didn’t have to be subtle so it wasn’t.¬† The guy is eagerly awaiting someone to get in his (painted) face and call him a nigger so he can blow their mind when he responds calmly.¬† It seems that, in his mind, he’s already got the whole encounter planned out.¬†

Did you see it?¬† F/X Network.¬† You’ve only missed one show so far.¬† Take a look…¬† it’s a fascinating experiment.


March 13, 2006 Posted by | Observations | 2 Comments

Vince Young versus the Wonderlic.

Not a big football fan?¬† Don’t sweat it – this one should still make sense.¬† Ok, check this out… this guy Vince Young is the one of the next upcoming superstar quarterbacks.¬† He was the MVP of this years college football national championship, yadda yadda yadda.¬† The guy can run, he can throw, he can improvise and, bottom line, he can flat out play football.¬†

Next comes the NFL Combine; it’s the “interview process” that college football players have to go through before they can get signed to their multi-million dollar pro contracts; they’re measured and tested in every imaginable way, strength, speed, a variety of agility drills and even a modified SAT/IQ test called The Wonderlic.¬† It’s a 50-question, multiple choice test WITH difficulty levels varying from very simple to very complex.¬† There is the now-infamous:

The ninth month of the year is: 1) October  2) January  3) June  4) September  5) May

But others are much more difficult such as:

In printing an article of 48,000 words, a printer decides to use two sizes of type. Using the larger type, a printed page contains 1,800 words. Using smaller type, a page contains 2,400 words. The article is allotted 21 full pages in a magazine. How many pages must be in smaller type?

Fantastically complicated?¬† No, not hardly.¬† But how many intelligent adults do each of us know that would have difficulty solving an algebraic equation with two variables?¬† Ok, so the Wonderlic is no pushover but let’s not oversimplify either… a score of 6 would make him just barely smarter than your shoes.¬†

Ouch.¬† ‘Cause, you know… that’s like… damn.

Now here’s the kicker – unlike a player’s 40-yard-dash time or how many times they can bench press 225lbs under John Lott’s expert motivation; a player’s Wonderlic score is supposed to be private.¬† How did it leak out that our boy Vince scored a six in the first place?¬† And just in case you’re thinking it, put the Race Card back in your pocket: all it takes is a quick Google search to find a website where you can look up over a hundred different quarterback’s Wonderlic scores!

There’s three young quarterbacks I’d like to draw your attention to – J.T. O’Sullivan, Wes Pate, and Zak Kustok that each scored a 35 (means they’re probably pretty damn smart) on this test.¬† Ever hear of any of these guys?¬† How about Steve McNair, Dan Marino and Terry Bradshaw?¬† Probably heard of them because they’re arguably some of the best to play that position.¬† Each of them scored a 15 (means they’re… well… y’know) on the test!¬† So, this Wonderlic is clearly no indicator of success in the professional ranks.¬† If it’s not a clear indicator of success or failure, and it’s supposed to be confidential anyway, then why did the information come out at all and why the hell does anybody care??



March 10, 2006 Posted by | Observations, Sports | 1 Comment

Embracing The Hood.

The ebonics dictionary is written in pencil so, every few years when the entries are erased and re-written, if you don’t have this year’s version of the book you just might get your Ghetto Pass revoked.¬† I’d explain but it’s not like that… if you know then you just know.¬† I’ve met people that never set foot outside the Hood until adulthood.¬† People that were old enough to vote before ever crossing a state line.¬† There’s an unspoken code of honor that is revered by not leaving The Hood both physically and emotionally.

Before we proceed I should clarify.¬† Whether it’s the Hood, the ghetto, the PJs, the bricks, the streets, the “inner city” what the fuck ever.¬† Y’all know where I’m talking about.¬† That place where the incomes are meager and the minorities are plentiful and if you carry your shoulders too erect you might be mistaken for a cop.

I guess what I don’t understand is the appeal of bitterness?¬† The society that gives more street cred to someone for ‘knowing how to do a bid’ rather than for getting straight A’s or for staying out of trouble.¬† While there is an undeniable strength that comes from surviving impoverished, depressing conditions, allowing your environment to diminish your aspirations, I think, is insanity at it’s finest. I think it’s sort of like the opposite of being an outdoor survivalist; you know those guys that can go live off the land for days or weeks at a time?¬† Folks that you could hand a scout knife to, blindfold ’em, and toss ’em out of a boat somewhere and not only would they make it home in one piece but they might have a new sharktooth necklace when they get back!¬† The difference seems (to me) to be that the outdoor survivalists are clear that they’re doing it by choice whereas the urban survivalists are often doing it by default.¬† Maybe it’s not that hard to understand at all… when you don’t have a choice in the matter it’s easy to be pissed off.¬† Right?

What do I know about doing bids?¬† Not a damn thing – and if I have my way I never will know anything about it.¬† I blame no one but myself for the mistakes that I make or for the circumstances in my life that I have not yet changed.¬† I have not been killed or imprisoned, nor have I been emotionally or psychologically handicapped.¬† I still maintain great ambition and do not feel any sense of entitlement that would forego the need for discipline, hard work and integrity.¬† I absolutely, positively do not believe in feeling sorry for myself.¬† And after all these years I am still a certified expert at mixing Kool-Aid flavors.¬† As the lyric goes, I am the stone that the builder refused…


March 9, 2006 Posted by | Observations, Random Ramblings | 1 Comment