Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

How Young Can You Die of Old Age?

In Hip Hop, Humor on September 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm

So you’re 49 years old and about to release yet another installment in your mix tape series. You’ve wanted to be a rapper ever since you saw Kool Moe Dee in concert in the mid 80‘s and you have been trying ever since. You feel like the 54th time is the charm and this particular mixtape, “My Prostate’s Trying to Kill Me Son” is just what the streets have been waiting for. After all, how can you go wrong with with hot lyrics like:

When I first pooped on myself I was inconsolable
now my bowels are moving like my vowels, uncontrollable
I spit and shit hot flames
I dookie stain your membrane with the shit that I be sayin
I used to walk rocking to Kane now my cane is on my rocker
at least I think that’s where I left it, I better take my beta blockers
I used to pop E, now I’m poppin’ A thru Z
from Avodart to Zoladex, all because of frequent pee

After reveling in your own lyrical wonderment, you think to call the wife to share in your excitement but remember that she left you five years ago for the audio engineer who worked on your 37th mix tape titled “My Engineer is Auto-tuning my Wife Son”. You then think to call your best friend but recall that he immediately gave his life to Jesus and disavowed hip hop after hearing your 25th mix tape, “My Best Friend Needs to Disavow Hip Hop and Give His Life to Jesus…Son”. Since all your industry contacts have passed away and no one in your immediate circle cares, who are you to share the lyrical stylings of MC Aged with?
When is it time to throw in the towel and decree “No Mas!”? For anyone pursuant of any dream, successful or not, that issue will come into question at some point in your excursion. Most have, or are still struggling with this quagmire. For those who have achieved, the issue is maintaining success while keeping your craft interesting. For those who haven’t achieved their desired level of success, the issue remains becoming successful while keeping the naysayers off your back (yourself being the primary naysayer most often). Successful or not, the common denominator for most of the decision making is typically age.

Ageism is indistinguishably ingrained in societal fabrics and polyester blends. The age yardstick supersedes letter grades, financial achievements, etc… We use it to measure virtually everything. You should be successful at a projected point in time or your matrix clearly requires a glitch correcting agent. Although age barriers are broken down time and again, we consistently view those instances as exceptions to the status quo. Has anyone ever bother to ask just how many times one can go against the quo before it should no longer be considered status?

Detractors of dream chasing are most often friends and family concerned with the financial stability of the chaser, and rightfully so. It is reasonable to expect and want financial freedoms for your loved ones, especially if they are pursuing their dreams and using your electricity to do so. Any dream chaser should always have a source of income until the dream pays off however, regardless of what stage they occupy. Do whatever is necessary to retain financial sustenance. It is unconscionable to you and those around you to place all your eggs in one mothership yet to arrive. Besides, occupation of starving artist status, although romanticized, is never a romantic affair, especially if you enjoy amenities like food, sex, heat, and argument free environments. The only desired aspect of being a starving artist is reflecting on when you were one.

As cliche as cliche’s can be (and they can be quite cliche), a sense of purpose is truly what makes, say it with me children, “life worth living”. The minute you have nothing to live for, you may probably stop living. I remember learning sonnets from some guy named Langston who babbled on about holding on to dreams, flightless handicapped birds, barren fields and things of the like. The relevance of that message was clearly lost on a fourth grader whose primary concern at that juncture was the after school cartoon lineup (“I can’t believe they moved Tom and Jerry to 3:30!”).

So when should you stop doing something that you love to do? The answer is simple; when you no longer love to do it. Chances are if you really do respect and love the craft, you would care enough to not write rhymes like those listed above or any comparable variation thereof in whatever your respected field of dreams. It would also help to clearly define what success means for you. As for your support system (spouses, family, friends, etc…), who may present more obtrusions that aqueducts at times, it is almost a certainty that those suggesting you not pursue your passion are just concerned for your well being…or they may just be stank ass hater’s . Either way, forgive them and forage on for they know not what they say. It is merely misguided concern. Rock on!

Peace and I’m outty 5000 home slice!! Rrrra

SideBar: There is no such thing as a 40 year old rapper…. until there is such a thing as a 40 year old rapper. SideBar Complete.

Act Like a Man a.k.a Insert the World’s Smallest Violin Here

In Did You Notice?, Humor, Self Help on March 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I think I was about 15 years old when I received my first and most important “man law”. There was a party being thrown by a classmate of mine and due to my academic shortcomings, I was told that I need not prepare an Oscar outfit for I would not be in attendance. I wasn’t aware at that point that even if I were a straight A student, I probably still wouldn’t have been allowed to attend but I had managed to arm my folks with the gift of bad grades as grounds for their latch key aspirations. So as I began to cry like a punk biotch, my dad sternly instructed me that “Men don’t cry!” Ok. Fair enough. I’ll suck the snot back up. What Pops failed to do however was to alert me as to what alternative and acceptable means of emoting was officially sanctioned by the male code of ethics.

Men, and especially African American/Latino men are emotionally crippled. Since we are disproportionately afflicted by all other societal ailments, yada yada yada,,, Not sure where it originates but social conditioning and fictitious male archetypes tend to dictate acceptable means of emoting. We look to the toughest of tough guys for emotional guidance,both on the block and in our blockbusters. The best part of every action movie is when our hero fights through some sort of unimaginable emotional (“you killed my father!”) and physical injury. Nothing says MAN” like dispensing of an adversary while a 30-inch blade dangles from the puncture wound in your upper chest. I don’t know about you but if you shove a blade through my sternum, you can label me whatever size vagina you like as I am most certainly hitting the floor while yelping like a new born calf as I clutch my chest and question the universe a la Nancy Kerrigan (“Why? Why?”).

Unfortunately, society also champions gratuitous bravado in reality. Even after long and illustrious careers (6-7 years) professional athletes barely allow themselves to cry upon retirement. Said sports hero must suck it up, pause, forgive himself for having emotions, pause again, hold their hat, shirt or clipboard in front of their face, then preface his crying with the statement, “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry”. It is no secret that men are not supposed to exude any sort of emotion that is not marred in seriousness. A little humor is ok but not too much. Unless your last name ends in Pryor, Murphy or Rock, no one appreciates all that mirth and glee.

Even our true masters (women) prefer the strong silent type. Unbeknownst to them, women are ultimately requesting the strong serial killer type but who am I to question preference?

For the record, men are allowed to cry when A) An extremely close relative dies & B) An extremely close relative dies. And even then, no facial expression must be shown. A stiff upper lip with an occasional tear begrudgingly streaming down a man’s cheek is enough to alert the world that he is dying inside. After the funeral however, he is on his own. I am no way calling for a nation of blubbering brothers but the alternative seems to be an inability to deal with common, everyday stresses, and it is killing us.

When you don’t present someone with healthy emotional options, they will find new and imaginative ways of dealing. Most internalize or resort to Jack Daniels and Mary Jane abuse but some will surly resort to extreme forms of “Man crying” a.k.a punching holes in walls, throwing things and eventually, throwing people. Stress induced heart attacks and the prison industrial complex are the end destinations for many emotionally maladjusted males. Too many are hell bent on keeping it real, not realizing that their version of reality bites. We all know what happens when keeping it real goes wrong so It’s way beyond time we figured out how to deal. Real talk.

*Sidebar- Acknowledging that most stresses are self-inflicted is Advanced Emotion 102 so let’s just stick with the basics for now. Sidebar complete

Man to English Dictionary: What he says vs. what he really means:

“I need to go to the gym” – “I need to get some of this aggression out before I kill somebody.”

“I’m going out with the fellas.” – “I need to tell someone who I almost killed this week.”

Silence. – “I’m about to kill somebody”

“Leave me alone.”– “I’m about to kill you”

“Nah, I’m good.” – “I already killed somebody.. Sell my stuff and tell the kids I love ‘em.”

24/7 Behind the Tussle for the Texas Instrument Pt. 5 – Larry’s Final Thought

In Humor on October 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

How do you know when talk is no longer effective and the time to roll up one’s sleeves and politely ask someone to dance is in order? I am a peace loving man and have never been one to actively seek out violence, even when threatened. Part of it is fear. Part of it is just not wanting to be bothered with the fighting process. The punching of the faces, the scraping of the knees, and the bruising of the egos. It’s just not my cup of tea. The one thing I cannot tolerate however is injustice as I see it, and especially directed at me. Not privately and definitely not in any public arena like high school (population 3,000 plus on any given day). It was just a calculator after all. Had I been sliced in the throat, would it have been worth it then? Had I stabbed him and been arrested, as I most certainly would’ve been, then what? What set of principles are truly worth risking one’s life for? I don’t have children but I can’t imagine telling my kids to fight to the death for a calculator. I also can’t tell my kids not to stand up for themselves. I guess all I will be able to do is create an environment where they don’t feel like they don’t ever have any options or that they can’t come to me with issues. But why should I even wait for my unborn children to start creating that kind of environment?

My tale is not extreme by any stretch of the imagination. It pales in comparison to many war stories from other’s who grew up in that era and who attended schools much much worse. I’m sure it pales in comparison to Palestinian, Haitian, or any other teenager’s plight growing up in first world countries with third world circumstances. I am not oblivious to the world around me but I do reside in a select part of that world for which I posses a territorial allegiance. Although I am quick to yell “Brooklyn, “Queens”, “NY”, and state my loyalties to any other slab of real estate I call home, I have yet to accept any social responsibility for that jurisdiction. Judging by the rash of recently publicized incidents in and around urban neighborhoods, I would say circumstances haven’t gotten much better than when I grew up. What is crazy to me is that random violence still takes place and that the value we place on our lives remain readily exchanged for material goods. What’s crazy to me is that some of us that have made it out, literally left and never looked back. We wanted to get as far away from that environment as possible and who can blame us? What’s crazy to me is that no one even considers that to be crazy anymore.

Sidebar; No one should have to evolve in the midst of chaos and certainly no one in their right mind would choose to remain in dire conditions after gaining the ability to select otherwise. Fearing for your safety constantly is not normal. It may be the norm, but it is not normal. Not realizing the after effects and attitudes towards yourself and community as a result of your upbringing is also not healthy however. When fear is your motivator, you learn to operate only under duress. If there is no strife, you will either manufacture it or cease to function with a heightened degree of effectiveness. For those of us that haven’t graduated to confidence as a primary catalyst for governance but have removed ourselves from harms way, there could be sense of emptiness in our accomplishments for they are no longer a matter of life or death. The thrill is gone so to speak. I wonder if we should put some of those fears to good use and concern ourselves with the well being of others? Who knows how many fights, deaths, jail sentences, and long-winded blogs could have been averted if there were more after school programs or mentorships in place? Sidebar complete.

24/7 Behind the Tussle for the Texas Instrument Pt. 4

In Humor on October 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm

It was starting to look really bad for him. I am not beating him handily but I am connecting more than he is and even the haymakers he manages to block are sending him reeling into parked cars (ok, one parked car). Like I said I am heavy handed and lord knows what kind of adrenaline is flowing at this point. It is the same adrenaline that allowed me to feel no pain during the fight but wore off the following morning and begged me to ask the questions “ Why do my eyelashes hurt?” and “I don’t remember being punched in the navel. Why is it swollen?” Adrenaline is a hell of a drug!! I am being punched in the face intermittently by the way and he is actually calling out the shots after they connect (“Got ‘em”). A few more jabs to the grill and wouldn’t you know it, his sneaker comes off again. This time, I did my best Adam Vinatieri impression and launched his Jordan bouncing and skipping about 20 feet down the street (must’ve been a bitch getting those scuff marks out.) After kicking his kicks down this road , I stood there and let him retrieve his sneaker, once again, to the amazement of everyone. As he is walking down the block (on the good foot) to retrieve his battered Nike, his boys are starting to laugh at him. He was losing the fight physically but that wasn’t what was causing the most damage. The extraneous shenanigans surrounding the melee was giving his ego a public beating and the fact that I am still giving him a fair shot is not helping. He retrieved his sneaker, squared up and we went at it again.

A couple more punches exchange and a couple more connect. Then I think one really connects because this is when he stumbles and falls back into the aforementioned-parked car. I don’t know why I’m being coy about this so I will call it what it was. I believe I punched him in his f*ucking face!! As he ricochets and recovers, he pauses for a second and I think I almost see the words “to hell with this” flash across his forehead. He then reaches into his pocket and pulls out the concealed weapon of choice at that era in street crimes, your friend and mine, the box cutter, affectionately know as the “shank”. Oh shit! Wasn’t ready for that one. So I took a few quick steps back and I am scared shitless but I don’t run. Can’t do that anymore. As ignorant as it was, I would’ve rather gotten stabbed. One of my boys calls out my name as if he is Obi Won Kenobi and readily tosses a distreesed Luke Skywalker his light saber i.e. his butterfly knife. So we are even again, only this time, it’s a knife fight. Now in my mind I felt like I caught the knife in one sweeping motion and unraveled it like a professional Stabologist. Thank goodness for selective retention. As I was recently reminded, it was more of an “oh shit, what the hell do I do with this?” juggling kind of motion. How did I end up starring in the off Broadway rendition of West Side Story anyway?

All that was missing was some tight jeans, a pack of Kools rolled up in my shirt sleeve and some dancing Marias and we were good to go (Jazz hands.)

As we assumed the position for slicing and dicing each other up, a mutual acquaintance of ours who had witnessed the entire debacle transpire literally stepped in between us and refused to let us continue. He seemed be the only one in attendance who believed that multiple stab wounds to the sternum was not a reasonable means of retrieving one’s calculator. We disbursed at that point but hung around school afterward to play ball illegally on the roof. About a half hour had passed and when I returned to the entrance of the school , wouldn’t you know it, he is standing right in front as everyone exited. Most students were oblivious that we had been fighting the period prior but they were all about to find out. I literally walk about 10 feet away from him and commence talking all kinds of shit “What’s up now? Why’d you pull a shank out on me?” I am carrying on but he doesn’t budge, he doesn’t answer. What makes it worse is at that point, a girlfriend to one of his boys makes her opinion publicly known and it is as equally audible as my tirade. She turns to him and says “You ain’t gonna fight him?” He is not moving, he is not speaking. At that point, I gave up all hopes of a rematch and entered the school, passing no more the 2 feet away as he leans on the gate. He is not moving, he is not speaking.

The next day arrives and he is no where to be seen. Word has spread as word often does in high school and I am receiving all kinds of congratulatory high fives from other students who don’t like these dudes but also from his own boys of all people and I am disgusted. How are you guys a crew but you are congratulating me for beating your boy’s ass? There is something to be said for the loyalties of teenagers. Correction, there is something to be said for loyalty period. A few more days pass and he is still no where to be seen. He has apparently transferred from the school and the legend of Crazed Afrykan is born. The story has taken on a life of it’s own. Like an old CB radio with shotty transmission, only certain bullet points are audible with each transmission ….”Sneaker came off….. kicked down the street. …. pulled out a shank…got his ass beat so bad he transferred….” Score one for nerds everywhere, almost. I still failed trigonometry and chemistry and the bastard still has my calculator but at least I now had street credibility that spanned approximately one street long (my cred expired the day I graduated fyi).

24/7 Behind the Tussle for the Texas Instrument Pt. 3

In Humor on October 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

After about a month of arbitration had passed, I grew weary of all the stories as to when the prodigal calculator would make its way back home. The next time I asked where my calculator was and got the “monkey in the middle” story, I peaceably decreed (and I may be paraphrasing) “I didn’t give it to them, I gave it to you. Where’s is my calculator?” He sensed my tone grew combative and agreed to give me the 15 dollars for the calculator instead, which of course was to be paid at a later date. So the role of the calculator will now be played by the 15 dollars and here we go again. Now this guy never has the money to pay me back but all the while, I am witnessing him gambling daily in plain site. I had had enough. You are telling me you don’t have my money but you are the number one customer at the makeshift Foxwoods in the back staircase AND I hear you hollering Seelo! At that point, I basically issued a warning through one of his other boys (and this time, I’m not paraphrasing), “Tell him to give me my money or I am going to fuck him up!” Of course now that I had called him out publicly, he couldn’t very well just pay me now could he? His ego wouldn’t let him submit to justice and I was hell bent on principalities so it looks like we’ll be meeting after school.

About four to five of my boys had assembled with me and he had equal if not more numbers on his side. My crew wasn’t a crew in the sense that we ran around town in matching jackets calling ourselves the Dancing Leopards or the Flying Mangos or anything of that nature. We were actual friends (until this day) and if you saw one of us, the rest weren’t that far behind. Albeit unspoken, we shared similar experiences regarding crews and bullies so no one was going to let the other get jumped. Plus these other dudes failed to realize that there was so much disdain and animosity toward them that all I was doing was presenting the perfect opportunity for my boys to settle three years of unresolved tension. So here we all were, standing outside the Academy Diner in broad daylight where many a police officer had retrieved their morning cruller. Before we commenced to fisticuffs, I asked one last time, “You gonna pay me?” I really didn’t want to fight and I was looking for any alternate but conscionable exit strategy but of course he said no so off we go!

“Let’s get ready to rumble!!!” The very first punch we both throw and one of his sneakers comes off (right foot I believe). We used to wear our sneakers or boots unlaced with the front of the pant leg tucked into the shoe. This was done to reveal as much of the sneaker as possible and highlight your footwear’s sexiness (plus it looked cool, at least to us). Since he had on the new red white and blue Olympic edition Air Jordans, rest assured, every part of his sneaker was dangling for all the world to see. When his shoe comes off, everyone just paused. This was clearly my opportunity to finish him as I had the advantage of having both sneakers. Conventional wisdom said I should’ve at least stomped on his pinky toe or something. As stated earlier however, I was still fighting fair so I backed off and let him put his sneaker back on, much to the amazement of everyone in attendance. No one could believe what they were seeing. It was appearing that I was so skilled that I needed no advantage. It would also appear that I was an asshole for not beating him down on the spot! Be that as it may, I let him put his sneaker on and off we went again. A couple more blows are thrown and my junior varsity basketball coach happens to walk by at that moment. He immediately breaks up the foolishness but all he really did was delay the proceedings. We took the fight one block down away from the watchful eye of faculty to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and continued the show there.