Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Testin' My Gangsta (Or Lack Thereof...)

What's up, (old & new) folks ? I hope all is good with you. Me... I'm trying to enjoy the remainder of the fleeting moments of my time at the ripe age of 27. Things just seem so different nowadays - definitely not the way they were when I was growing up. Just the other day, I was sitting my office and my co-worker's son comes in. We begin talking (you know about random stuff) and I asked him if he was going to play football like his dad did when he was in school. He told me that he didn't like that stuff and when he grew up, he wanted to be a figure skater.

A WHAT?!!!

What is this world coming to?

Little boys wanting to become gymnasts, fashion designers and choreographers members of Pretty Ricky....

Personally, I think it's the case of having too many hugs and too much Internet access. Nowadays, kids are being raised to be soft. When I was growing up in my hometown of Chicago, kids were raised to be different... let me take you down Memory Lane to show you how a real man is born.

[cue time-machine harp]

November 1995.

One day after football practice, I'm traveling homebound on public transportation with two of my teammates, Won Fish and J. As we were waiting for our train to arrive, two burly young men walk next to us and begin to engage us in conversation. They complimented us on our stylish attire as well as accessories. While this might seem like a normal scene to some, it sure in the hell wasn't.

The following is a transcript of what took place:

Young Man #1: What up, Joe*? Dem some nice J's you got on!
Young Man #2: Fa sho, where you get dem from, Joe?
J (visibly shaken, in a soft, scared voice): The store.
Young Man #1: How much you spend on dem?
J (looking like he's about to piss on himself): My mama bought 'em for me!
Me (visibly annoyed): Dude, be quiet - we don't know these cats.
Young Man #1 (looking at Won): How much loot you got on you?
Won (digs in pockets): I ain't got none...
Young Man #1(turning to J): What about you, patna? How much you holdin'?
J: (shaking) I got a dollar!
Young Man #1 & #2 (simultaneously turning to me): What about you, smart guy?
Me: I got some loot but y'all ain't getting' it!
Me (thinking to self): These dudes are trying to test me - but I ain't even about to go out like that. Gotta keep it real, son! Mama Sharon didn't raise no punks! I was taught to stand up for myself, be a man and don't take anything from anyone plus, I got my boys to back me up.

To make a long story short, I am glad I was blessed with speed and agility because I surely needed it that day. I still didn't show any weakness though and I'm proud of that (even though my pride almost resorted in a major ass kickin'). I also earned respect. (Although I lost it when I started screaming for help, but that's beside the point).

With that being said, I implore all of you stop the coddling of these youth.

Parents, it starts with you.

Stop naming your children names that will get their asses beat.

For example, Little Blaine might sound adorable on the birth certificate - but it's an open invitation for Atomic Wedgies for the remainder of his scholastic career. Don't let him suffer the beat down of his humanity.

Be like me: name your children intimidating names. All of my offspring will have names like Rock, Concrete, Granite, etc. No one will EVER punk them, unless they are lame (but that's a story for another day). Heed my advice and we won't have to worry about spending time learning about what a triple axle is.

That's my time.

*Joe - a term for any younger Black person (usually male) in the city of Chicago. For the record, no one really knows who in the hell Joe really is.
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