Courtesy of Ricardo Pitts-Wiley
The Silver Sun like the phoenix
Rose from the fire
And promised me the chance
To find myself again
Find myself and somebody I used to know
Who got lost so long ago
Out of the fire on phoenix wings
Rose the Silver Sun
Out of the fire on phoenix wings
Rose the Silver Sun
And it brought me back into the world
And it brought me back into the world
Life perpetually inspires wonder. Peace to that.
Penultimate Thought: I’m curently 0 for about 4 on the job search.
Final Thought: My being fattish is getting less funny by the day.
So, in news that the events at Virginia Tech make infinitely less humorous, David Light, Yale ’09, was recently arrested for a bunch of–or what the pretentious would call “a cache”–of guns at the frat house he was living in (Sidebar 1: For anybody in the Yale know, chalk that up to one more shady thing that went down at Beta. I’m just saying). I mean, if the guy hadda had nine glocks, that would have been more than ample reason to throw the bracelets on him, but he was well-prepared for any possible scenario in which he’d need to pull a Kurt Russell and escape from the Elm City. We’re talking an AR-15, an AK, some other Russian rifle that I’m sure does damage and a shotgun with the accompanying four to five thousands rounds of ammunition. And that’s just the stuff you need two hands to hold. Of course, what weapons possession charges would be complete without the discovery of hazardous chemicals? Mr. Light definitely covered all his bases.
Now, the popular and easy thing to do is call this guy a psycho. I find that to be a little too easy; sure, the guy had weapons, some of which were illegal. But if we go on the logic that this man–as far as the law is concerned– who had his guns discovered after acting like a reallllllllllll asshole in his house must be crazy, I find myself wondering who should have guns in their possession. Am I saying the guy did the responsible thing? No, he was, at the very least, acting like a drunken idiot, and while he should be prosecuted for illegal possession of weapons that does not mean he is clearly insane or was bent on shooting up Yale. Honestly, I’d say he was a dumbass with some of the world’s worst judgment and timing.
But let’s get back to my basic question. Who should be allowed to have guns? Who isn’t crazy if it’s found out they are gun enthusiasts? When I think about it, I can’t think of too many people who I feel comfortable having guns, cops included. And that has nothing to do with the police brutality angle and everything to do with the fact that, for the most part, those cats cannot shoot and don’t have the discipline to discriminate and keep their heads when the shit goes down. Gun enthusiast plus terrible decision does not automatically equal crazy person. Sometimes it just equals stupid.
While I find it extremely plausible that this dude is a perfectly well-adjusted person that did something reaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyyy reckless and uncalled for, I am right now going to completely reverse field in order to make a point. This guy could have been a complete pyscho just waiting for the streets being full during Camp Yale so that he could take some target practice at innocent people from an elevated position. And with weapons store like he had, it would be a minute before that situation got neutralized. If I recall, the kid at Va Tech only had two handguns and he did a gruesome amount of damage. And let us not forget that Mr. Light, a science enthusiast, had some hazardous chemicals in his possession for who knows what purpose. Even if he was completely harmless as a person, the scenario makes him completely dangerous. Possession of illegal weapons is just not a good look. And you know who’d probably agree with me? Everyone who knew and didn’t say boo about it.
The thing that nobody seems to be discussing but that I find the most troubling is that multiple people knew about these weapons and didn’t say shit, not until he started acting crazy. Granted, I don’t expect everyone to have a working knowledge of Connecticut statutes, but I’m willing to bet that any state that has Blue Laws probably doesn’t allow guerrilla revolutionary items in their midst. I just have my doubts. No; people knew about this and didn’t say anything because he was an involved guy who didn’t make his love of weapons a secret and was a “top notch” student. If he was nuts, all he had to do was hide in plain sight because nobody wants to be the one to point the finger.
Believe it or not, we live in an extremely polite society. Unless the decision to say something is easy, people will remain silent. Indeed, “Stop Snitchin’” is nothing new. Reading the Yale Daily article on it was extremely illuminating in that regard. Consider:
* The guy who eventually called the cops knew about the guns several days earlier. He was a a visitor, and you can probably make the argument that he did more than anyone considering, after hearing gun shots and seeing Light withe gun–which Light said was filled with blanks, he attempted to go the polite route and talk the situation out privately before alerting the authorities. All things considered, I don’t think that’s so terrible.
* Another student, who didn’t know Light like that, saw him walking up the stairs of the house with two rifles and saw another high-powered rifle which he felt were suspicious. Did he say anything to anybody at all? No.
* A guy who lived above him freshman year had heard about the guns from Light’s suitemates. He apparently kept the collection in his dorm room. Just for clarification, it should be mentioned that guns aren’t exactly allowed at all on the university premises.
I find the third point to be the most appalling. Now, don’t let all this outrage about not speaking up fool you. I do still believe in keeping your mouth shut when appropriate. I’m gonna have to go ahead and say that bullet point three was not a shut mouth situation. Call me a snitch or whatever, but, if FRESHMAN YEAR a mufucka I don’t know like that has a weapons stockpile taking space where my shoes should go, I’m gonna holler at him (very, very nicely). If he didn’t remove the shit, I’d have to let the right people know because…I don’t have much of an interest in having my face shot. I like my face. And I’d rather not trust the fact that homeboy was just a “weapons enthusiast” and keep my face than trust it and one day find myself breathing out the back of my head.
You know what’s most frightening about the whole thing? Despite all of my teeth-gnashing, I find it utterly terrifying that any one of those people could have been me. I could have easily been the person who said, “Nah, Dave’s a good dude,” or “Shit, Dave’s my boy and none of my boys are crazy like that.” Granted, I probably would’ve suggested he not keep the guns in the crib, but, if he was personable enough, I probably would have left it at that. Would’ve thought it was a great story to tell other people. Tell ‘em this dude I know collects guns, even has a mufuckin’ AK. Of course I’d preface the story, assure people that he wasn’t some nut–’cause you know if he was or appeared to be, that’d make me a nut by association, then I’d launch into it, probably sprinkling in one of Dave’s rifle range stories for effect. Then, before moving on to some subject or another, we’d chuckleand say something like, “Man. Dave’s a wild boy.” Crazy, right? Peace to Edmund Burke.
Penultimate Thought: Michael Vick apparently doesn’t have an interest in playing professional football either.
Final Thought: I sort of miss not having a cell phone.
The other day while drinking in my slacks and hard bottoms, I received a phone call from my misses who was at a churchie wedding in Washington state. To be more accurate, this was a returned phone call, me having rung her hours previous to that moment (Sidebar 1: I don’t know why, but I’m not much of a voicemail leaver. I guess the way I see it, unless I’m calling to tell you something you need to know, I don’t have the patience to go through the message-leaving process. Some have you press one, others have weird pauses between the end of the voicemail and when you can start your message. I just don’t have time for that nonsense).
Getting back to the actual point, I received this call from a churchie wedding reception and after saying about five to seven words, I knew I was in some sort of trouble. I was in cross-country trouble. There was a palpable politeness on the phone that let me know I had done something wrong. Sensing doom, I did what any person who has ever dealt with a (Black) woman would do: I asked whether something was wrong, knowing full well that I most likely had something to do with it, but not actually knowing what.
Sensing that I sensed doom, young Shareef replied that nothing was the matter–of course–and that she was merely returning my call. Since the tone of voice was all wrong for her to be A) telling the truth or B) bothered by something other than me, I knew for certain I was getting set to go to Lump Town (which is like Pump Town, but with more anger and absolutely no sex whatsoever). Caring not to wake a sleeping giant, I said the requisite, “All right, I’ll talk to you later,” hung up the phone, returned to my drink on the couch and waited.
After having peed on the Trouble Test, the little blue plus sign came back about five minutes later via a text message. My transgression? Not having called back when I said I would. This is a particularly egregious repeat offense of mine, one that–thankfully–didn’t require rehashing at that moment in time. Indeed, it was of the swift “This is what you did, I’m heated about it, but I’m gonna sit at this wack reception across the country, get a little flavor–I’m gonna choose not to speak to you–recharge the batteries a little, shut down the engines and get back to neutral” ilk that any man worth his salt will come to appreciate with age.
Rehashing the event with Steve “Grey Goose” Biko the next morning, I sat befuddled. I wasn’t confused by why she was mad, I was more perplexed as to why that thing makes her mad. As Biko and I reasoned, it wasn’t like I had intentionally not called her back; I had legitimately forgotten and called back after the time that I said I would. Brainstorming, BIko and I realized that was precisely the problem.
Gestures–phone calls, letters, gifts–are, at their most basic, demonstrations of the respect between two people. There is an understanding on the most fundamental level that these gestures are saying, “Hey, I think you’re an alright cat.” Trouble, particularly in the realm of the phone call, seems to arise when those two people are of the opposite sex. Why? Because the scales of respect for men and women are different and disaster can strike when those schools of thought collide.
Between men, the respect is in the gesture. Unless a dude needs that other dude to call him back for a particular reason–you have my keys, I need XYZ phone number–the time at which he calls is irrelevant even if a time was set. If your boy says 3 and calls at 4:47, you don’t really trip because he’s your boy and your happy he called. Shit, a guy can be days late on a call and it’s OK.
Between women, the respect is in the details. The thinking seems to be this: Anybody can call them, but a friend calls when they say they will. If a girlfriend says they’re going to call and they don’t, regardless of whether or not the issue entails something of import, there will be at least a mild sucking of teeth by the offended party. They expect other females to be on the same wavelength. It’s not to say that every female goes overboard, but it is to say that it is a noticed offense.
Even the matters of exception differ between the sexes. For women, there are maybe 1-2 slots reserved for trifling friends that are exempt from teeth-sucking unless it is a matter of import and extreme triflocity on the friend’s part. For the fellas, there’s vague commendation and praise for “mufuckas that call back when they say they will” which is actually greatly overshadowed by the black list of “mufuckas it’s not practical to call when it’s time to get down to business.”
Working separately, these philosophies peacefully coexist, but intermingled, they are a hotbed of catastrophe in which the males get in trouble and the women get worried about.
When a man doesn’t call back at a time he said he would, it’s not necessarily that he is careless; rather, he is operating (to his peril) under the male gesture system (clearly we are excluded situations where he doesn’t call back on purpose, which can’t really be ascribed to males exclusively anyway). He may be focused on something else, busy doing this, that or the other and a call that isn’t part of that focus gets lost by the wayside. Understand, I am not saying that this excuses the action, I’m merely putting forth a possible explanation. I mean, let’s be honest, since any woman worth being around is probably the boss any damn way, you and I both know that when a man neglects to remember the female gesture system, he’s gonna get his ass busted, so excuses aren’t worth a damn anyway.
When a woman doesn’t call back at a time she said she would, more often than not something happened. Women (and I’m excluding flaky broads here) sweat the details. 4 o’clock means that hour before 5. So for a guy not being called back by a girl, there is a multi-step thought process. First, we find it peculiar that home girl hasn’t called yet; second, we get a little pissed because we consistently get cracked to the white meat for doing the same thing; third, we get worried because, unless you date a floozy, a callback is a matter of detail that would not be generally overlooked by a woman. Though I don’t have any imperical evidence to support the following, I’m still very willing to bet that missing persons reports are filed for women more quickly than they are for men.
Women can barely get their ass busted for the non-callback (unless they’re dating an Ike Turner-type, which, on multiple levels, is just too problematic an exception to spend time on here). If they call within step one, a guy doesn’t even notice. If she calls within step two, a dude can try and get buck only to have her remind him of EVERY SINGLE TIME he didn’t call when he said he would (and who needs that aggravation?), and if a woman calls during step three, a guy is just relieved she’s alright and can only muster a half-disappointed “Please don’t do that to me again, you had me worried sick” sort of thing that couldn’t really be considered a reprimand.
(Sidebar 2: In the above steps, you can possibly put step 2A which involves thinking your women is stepping out on you, but that lack of trust/jealousy is best reserved for people Richboy would term “fuckniggas”)
(Sidebar 3: Don’t think for a second that I don’t think women are capable of such a thing [see TLC's 'Creep'] but I’m of the belief that you don’t need to go there unless you need to go there, ya dig?)
These differing philosophies–much like the clitoris not being close to the vagina–are a cruel trick of fate. I cannot and will never be able to tell you why men find respect in the gesture and women find it in the details. Maybe a combination of the two is what one could call perfection and maybe that’s what the relationships between men and women are about (though I still find perpetuation of the species to be fairly compelling). Or better yet, perhaps they are merely matters of sick amusement that someone, somewhere threw into the mix to add humor and drama to this folliful three-legged race we call man, woman, chaos. Peace to the Night Rider.
Penultimate Thought: The New York Times: Fox News for the liberal elite.
Final Thought: I can’t enjoy a meal if I have to pee.
So, seeing as I can’t travel without some disaster big or small befalling me, I had the good fortune to arrive in the Crabcake State without incident, only to exit the metro, look around and realize that I had left my bookbag with what I consider to be my earthly possessions, namely my notebooks, on the metro. Generally, I like to start off one of these clever little journals with an anecdote and let that segue into some greater overall discussion, but as I sit here having just experienced the mediocrity that was the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I can only really say that I wish I had my bookbag and hopefully those Buddhist monks that make those intricate sand portraits (I’m not even sure portrait is the right word, but fuck it, I’m using it) are on to something. I suppose it is only just stuff.
Frankly, the only reason I’m writing right now is because I have been taking a few days off to parlay with some illustrious Justice Leaguers in what the pretentious and elite call ‘The City.’ Even while we get older and begin to wear our baller training bras, it’s nice to know we can come back to the basics. Now, if you’re a dude and you’re lucky enough to have friends that are not the wack juice, then you’ll come to realize that a quality weekend should consist of the following. Feel free to print this out and put this in your wallet for future reference. OK, now for the necessities:
1. Discuss people you have had sex with: This doesn’t have to require names (though it can), but trips down mammary lane can be fantastic.
2. Discuss people you would like to have sex with: This does require names and an estimation of pumps before the dream is realized.
3. Discuss people you wish you had sex with but didn’t: This requires heckling and probably a stiff drink to boost morale.
4. Farting: It’s not important just to do it, you need to announce the fact and it’s probably better for you to cackle about the fact as you pump a fist.
5. Discuss your career paths and/or serious relationships with women (BRIEFLY): It’s not not all sex and farts, people.
6. Drink the booze you didn’t have the sense (read: money) to buy in school: But be careful, after too good a night with the grown-up juice, you might find yourself hailing a gypsy cab at 7 in the morning wearing a rusty wifebeater and wrinkled jeans.
7. Discuss the baddest celebrity white girls out: Jessica Biel doesn’t get the exposure she deserves.
8. Sit around all day after a rough night out and discuss the roughery: If your skin is ashy while doing so, that’s even better.
9. Rehash old jokes and classic one-liners: “ARE YOU LEGULLY MARRIED?” Yup. Still funny.
10. Watch a 90s Black film, discuss Nia Long and how she hasn’t changed: This might appeal to only a few of you, but really that’s only a matter of circumstance.
11. Ogle women like you have no sense: I mean, it’s not like you’re going to actually talk to them.
12. Rap along to songs you like while pre-gaming: It’s like white girls with Kelly Clarkson, but with more wave caps.
There you have it. A dirty little dozen to make your reunions full of heterosexual man appreciation and heathenry. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to be out of the office for a few days. Feel free to leave any pertinent messages with my secretary Janice. Peace to the Dalai Lama.
Penultimate Thought: I never mastered the figure-four leg lock.
Final Thought: I wish I had Scooter LIbby’s friends.
So, since I’m all about livejournal firsts to keep the people amazed and on their toes, I’ve elected to draft this journal after having had more than the lion’s share of the Goose and juice (trust). My night, which began with aspirations of going to a nightclub and drinking for free, has been reduced to getting burgers from a 24-hour diner while I watch Braveheart on AMC. Although watching Mel Gibson traipse about on horses stabbing people with various forms of sharp object is stellar, it wasn’t quite the evening I had lined up when I put the slacks and hard bottoms on (although watching Mel scream with blood and war paint on his face can still make me want to put on a kilt and strike people with blunt metal objects).
In an evening that was highlighted by the difficulties alcoholica of some pals, I still managed to find a lesson in it (besides the one that says don’t drink so much that you prevent other people from going to a club and drinking for free). Since I am beginning to develop my hangover right about now, I will resist the urge to stay loyal to my usually long-winded self. Indeed, the lesson learned had little to do with alcohol consumption and everything to do with a conversation I had with my teacher who gave me a ride to the train station that eventually brought me to the Big Apple and the drunkenness that would eventually make this revelation possible (which probably makes her an accomplice somehow whatever. I’m using an awful lot of parentheticals today by the by).
As I sit with plans that were accidentally diverted, I can only shrug at the circumstance. In the spirit of reunion and rediscovered irresponsible behavior among friends, this sort of thing happens from time to time. I can go to a club with females I can’t touch any time I want, but it is not often that I get to get with my people and talk about the people we would have sex with and the degree of difficulty of bar exams relative to the state. So if sometimes changes in plan arise, you can only stay up watching Braveheart, feeling weirdly blessed at having people to change plans for. To stop beating around the bush and get to the conversation I had with my teacher that ties into this post, we were discussing the changes of life all people go through, especially at this age, I said something about being willing to give up certain things to follow a dream. Without hesitation, my teacher countered with this: It’s not “what are you willing to give up?” but rather “how are you willing to adjust your grip?”
As I find myself at a fairly cliche yet terribly important crossroads, that question echoes in my mind. Curious as to what I’ll do next, what I’ll do in order to realize my dream , it has become clear that maybe I don’t have to chuck everything that I hold dear. Maybe sometimes it’s a matter of adjusting my grip on my friendships, cherishing our moments together as we begin to seek our destinies, even if that means watching Braveheart a friend sleeps it off. Peace to Jennifer B.
Penultimate Thought: The nicer the booze, the smoother it goes down.
Final Thought: Just because nice booze goes down smooth doesn’t mean you can’t get drunk.