A good friend of mine from Buffalo, Rick, said this:
“Can we have a moratorium already on middle to upper class white people making gang symbols with their fingers and hands? You know you look like a complete asshole,right? Maybe it’s not just a look.Besides,your first move upon encountering a gang for real would be to shit your pants.F*cking embarrassing.”
And, of course, he’s right. Look at all those pictures on Facebook and Myspace. Silly.I cannot fathom what is motivating people, at the click of the camera, to pretend that they’re Flava Flav. Is it empowering? When an entire cabal of bride’s maids or a row of people at a family reunion? Tongues sticking out? I just don’t understand what it is that they think they’re saying. Are they making fun of gang members? Rappers? Is it easier to express that white-person suffrage by attempting to emasculate the symbols, violent symbols of another sub-culture? These are not rhetorical questions. I really wanna know. What is a mother of three doing giving the crips sign with her teenage daughters while traipsing around Charlotte, SC?
I love those downward spiral pictorials. What are those, you ask? Well, for example, here’s one (just look up “downward spiral” or “meth addict” in the Google):
Do beer commercials that portray men to be nothing but alcoholic dummies who, despite having unbelievably hot girlfriends or wives, would literally do anything to drink more beer or make that beer more convenient to get? The commercials themselves MUST work, since the men in them are getting dumber and dumber every year, and the women, as exasperating as it must be to live with these chemical abusers, are more and more tolerant of these disturbingly portrayed marriages made in hell. If you remove yourself from their shiny videography and rockin’ music beds, they reveal a deeper truth about alcohol and how abuse is subtly tolerated/encouraged in young people who watch sports on television.
One product has a can that changes color when it’s cool? Is this something that sentient people need? Strange. But I suppose that it must work to differentiate their beer from others in the market. Having never been a beer drinker, I assume Bud Light tastes entirely different from Coors Light? Help me to understand. Are beers radically different? Isn’t it odd that some forms of addiction are taboo in this supposedly free society, yet others like booze are not only condoned, but encouraged? Food?
I got in a fight. In first period music class, I felt an ill-gotten hubris and oddly taunted and pushed a neighborhood kid named Frank Mead, a very dirty, very poor boy. Tall and lanky, with dirty hair and skin, wiry and undernourished, no one really liked Frank that I could tell.
There, in my home away from home, the music room, I felt untouchable. Frank didn’t put up much of a fight. Mike Miodonsky (we called him “Disco Mike” because of his penchant for unbuttoning his shirts, and wearing impossibly high platform shoes) was goading me on, all I needed, apparently.
“That’s beautiful, Gilbert, just beautiful!!!”. Heady stuff.
So I’m thinking pretty highly of myself all day long, forgetting that Frank took the same bus home that I did. It was a different story then. Frank, always at the back of the bus, always sitting with people who hated me, always smoking, warned me as we got on the bus that he was going to kick my ass. And I began to panic. Suddenly, there was no escape. My stop was the first. And Frank, I guess to warm up for our bout, began to warm up by punching the back of the seat in front of him. Everyone could hear. Everyone knew what was going to happen. And sure enough, he got off on my stop (his real stop was a mile down the road).
I immediately began to push him, shouting “let’s go!” not meaning it, and saying it out of fear, really. But Frank, as streetwise as you could be at that age, in that neighborhood, knew that had we fought as soon as that, surely the driver would stop us. So Frank waited until the bus left, and came at me with a lunge.
Now, had I not been so afraid, I would have noticed that Frank’s pummeling of the bus seat had rendered his knuckles a pathetic, bloody, raw mess – in no condition to kick anyone’s ass. He looked like Montgomery Burns as his crimson fingers swung like ropes in the sun, anger in his face, and possibly something excretion-related in his pants. But instead of a well-placed side-step gut-shot, I ducked. Then we wrestled. I forget who won. There weren’t any real punches thrown. Mr. Sarama, who lived on the corner of Arcade and Aurora, rushed over and broke us up.
I began walking the block home, when I heard the sound of rushing footsteps. A group of them yelling “Get him Frank!!”. Frank and his Greek Chorus of white-trash corner men were galloping after me, seeing that Mr. Sarama had gone in. More street smarts, I guess. Frank stopped the mob just before it reached me. “He’s had enough” he said. And they all left. My face, red from fear and rage, betrayed some sort of shenanigans to my mother, roused from her terminal sleepiness. “Why is your face red?” she asked.
“I ran home”.