“Imma Straight Up G From The Hood… A Nice Hood With a Neighborhood Association and Low Crime Rates and Sh*t”
This weekend I watched Straight Outta Compton. Boy was it good . Start to finish, I had my eyes glued to the TV, while being washed away with memories from my early pre-teen and teenage years. I asked Amanda if she wanted me to wait for her, so we could watch it together, but she had no interest. Being that she grew up in Chattanooga, it was clear that to me that she had not spent that particular period of her youth wishing that she was an underprivileged African American rapper growing up on the streets of Compton California the way that I had. Isn’t that what every pudgy, buzzed headed, privileged white kid with married, loving parents who went to church every Sunday before enjoying Sunday a chicken dinner with extended family wanted in their life? Was I missing something? What is wrong with my Boo Boo? She didn’t want to be gangsta at some point in her life? I loved some NWA. Probably cause my parents hated them so much. My mom, just this week, recollected when my friend Chris Morgan and I were caught listening to Straight Outta Compton on our church’s youth confirmation trip. This was also right about the time of the Beastie Boys, “License To Ill” released, (I was King Adrock in case you were wondering). I was not allowed to listen to the tape, so I cleverly carried around a bright neon, dubbed copy with a disguised label. I literally carried it with me everywhere I went, like it was a handgun.
Prior to wanting to be Eazy E, I wanted to be The Lone Ranger. I would make Ted be Tonto, and I would run around with Kool Aid stained lips, and the fervor of a chrystal meth addict who just woke up from a 12 hour nap and getting primed for a 4 day weekend, acting as if I was chasing the bad guys. Eventually, as imagination and attention would run short, I would also run out of bad guys and decide that Tonto should be apprehended. I would bonk Ted in the head with my toy gun in an effort to deem him unconscious, so as to properly tie him up and turn him in for ransom. This period usually concluded with timeout and a spanking. During this time period, I also possessed a deep seeded desire to be Space Ghost, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, and most definitely THUNDERFOOT, Tony Carbognani. Thunderfoot played for the Memphis Americans and he was my greatest American hero. I once asked my mom and dad to buy me glitter puff paint to adorn my white tee shirt with a beautiful piece of art comprised of a soccer ball, some grass, a foot kicking said ball, and “Thunderfoot” written across the front. For a day, I was him. Well actually, it was about a half day before the glitterpaint started cracking off and I had written “T urd fot” across my chest, with a huge mustard stain, and dirt from where I fell down trying to kick a soccerball.
I wanted to be a break-dancer. I even had a cardboard box in the backyard for which to practice the elusive “helicopter”. I would crank up my jambox and let it rip; dressed from head to tow in parachute pants, with Michael Jackson glitter socks and a glitter glove. My ensemble was purchased from Goldsmith’s and my glitter glove/sock collection was made from wool and cheap ass Christmas tinsel. Then came Brian Bosworth, and I was all Boz, equipped with flat top, and paint in the hair to boot. Next up? That’s easy. SKATE OR DIE. My skater phase consisted of everything a poser needs, including the expensive skateboard, bad bangs with head tilted to the side (for attitude purposes…and to convey my notgiveafu*kness), Chuck Taylors, army jacket with skulls and sh*t drawn on it, and the mindset that “skaters live forever”. I was Tony Hawk, and I couldn’t be stopped. Only problem was, I couldn’t skate and would quickly be stopped. My dad HATED my skateboard, probably because I was incessantly interrupting his meetings with broken bones and skinned up body parts. He once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I exclaimed, “Tony Hawk”. To quote my father from the head of the dinner table, he exclaimed “Who the hell is Tony Hawk? The skateboarder? The guy is a bum. He will never make $10,000 in a year”. We laugh to this day every time we pass one his endorsements. I blame my dad entirely for my lack of Hawk-itude today.
I don’t know that I am really going anywhere with this, other than enjoying the memories of my youth, except for I do see a lifelong pattern. You see, all of my life I have wanted to be something other than who I was. When you are young it is one thing to pretend, but I carried these feelings into my adulthood. I wanted to be this guy or this guy, to be thought of like this, or look like that. Somewhere along the way there was a shift from imagination to envy. I actually wished that I was other people. With the envy, of course, comes jealousy. Through jealousy, it made it difficult for me to be happy for anyone else’s accomplishment. This can make for a difficult life. When you are constantly jealous of other people’s accomplishments, the only time you are happy is when you are the one being praised. This makes things all the more difficult when you seldom do anything praiseworthy. Who wants to be around that guy? I will tell you…no one. As my life has evolved, there have been some pretty drastic changes in my daily activities, and with these changes have come different relationships as well as different habits. These relationships have helped me see what being mentally healthy and generally positive can do to someone’s life. I have become comfortable in my own skin, and have discovered the difference in envy and admiration. I have a varying level of admiration for just about every person whom I come into contact with on a daily basis. What has helped my envy morph into admiration the most is that I become increasingly comfortable sharing what it is that I admire about a person with that actual person. Actually, I view it as an obligation. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to let someone know of the impact that they have on my life. I have seen how the actions of one can affect the lives of so many, and I want to do my best to encourage these actions, as so many people have encouraged me. There is no person whom I would rather be today than me. I have fu*ktons of work to do in order to become a better me, but today I am comfortable. I am aware of the things that I am, and the things that I am not. I am also aware of the reasons why I am not some of the things I admire about others (aside from the fact that we are all just naturally different in different areas…thank God). I do not spend time beating myself up because I am not a 4 hour marathon runner. The reason I am not is because I am not willing to put in the time and sacrifice to accomplish this, bottom line. I will not make it to the CrossFit Games. Sure, there is a degree of God given talent which I am lacking, but even still, the level of sacrifice and commitment required is much more willing than I am willing to invest. I am not a 190lb ripped up piece of machinery. The reason for this is because those guys work hard everyday, and pay close attention to everything that goes into their body (I pay attention to what goes AROUND my body, which should be couch cushions, and what goes IN my body, which should be made from cake) My point is that I use to get so frustrated when I did not perform at certain levels in various areas of my life, and instead of frustration, I have exchanged that for admiration for the people who put in the time and effort to accomplish these things. So my challenge is this, if someone possesses a quality that you find admirable, share it with that person. See how it makes you feel. Chances are that you will learn something positive about yourself. Worst case scenario, you improve someone’s life at least a little bit for this particular day. If they let it go to their head, as many will, let em have it. Give them the grace that so many people gave me, and know that life has a way of straightening out the di*kheads. Take it from a bona fide di*khead.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,