Saturday, February 27, 2010
I Feel Your Pain
Other than Everybody Hates Chris, few television shows present a positive role model for Black male fathers (or even Black male surrogate fathers).
But I'm not Julius - I have more of a Bernie Mac situation to deal with.
Initially, I thought I'd be able to blog about theoretical issues, about esoteric concepts, about art and science.
I'm still waiting to open the package that contains a $65 Gurdjieff book that I long to read.
I still have blank canvases on which to paint.
I still have a few women whom I'd like to "date".
But things change and we must adapt.
My interests shifted from trying to solve the problems of (once) complete strangers to trying to solve the problems of my cousins, their families and their friends.
Recently, I had an occasion to receive gifts and accolades from my friends, family and those whom I help.
One of my gifts was a box set of the old Little Rascal films.
(Yeah... I also received a few more pairs of Shox.)
I like the Rascals, I can identify with the Rascals.
Styme is my man.
The Rascals weren't bad kids - they were just being kids.
And at one time, I was a kid.
This realization helps me cope with some bad-ass little Niglets and their almost useless family members.
As a kid, anything could could be turned into some sort of game or activity.
During the rainy days of an El Nino season - our surrounding hillside neighborhood streets would flood with the runoff from the local hills.
This gave us a chance to try to ride our Boogie Boards down the asphalt streets.
Sure, it sounded fun at the time - but the water wasn't as deep as we'd anticipated and we ended up bruised and broken.
But still - we'd walk back up the hill for another fun ride.
El Nino was also good for generating large waves.
During our weekly beach trips we would always decide to play Chicken with the crashing waves which pounded against the jetty that separates Corona Del Mar from The Wedge.
Even after we almost lost a kid to the rocks below - this was a fun activity for youthful boys.
During the hot summer nights, we kids would buy a large block of ice and ride it down the driving range of our local golf course.
This was know as "Ice Blocking".
A towel placed on the ice block would act as a seat of this warm weather sled.
Yeah... it was a fun ride - but we never managed to learn a proper dismount.
Even though my cul-de-sac had two pools and we had our own in our backyard - we kids would often swim in the local irrigation canals that wound through the surrounding orange groves.
The water was clean and cool - but after an hour long drift, we'd have to walk the five or so miles back home.
The hillsides proved the perfect setting for kids playing Cowboys and Indians with B-B guns.
With refreshments stolen from their parents liquor cabinets many boys were impervious to pain.
I didn't drink so that game ended up hurting more than I'd liked.
We decided to dig a small cavern in one of the hillsides.
After a summer of digging, we had our own "Bat Cave".
As the city workers noted the danger of collapse - the cave was quickly imploded.
While reciting these youthful games to my young cousins, "You were baaad!" seemed a strange statement to come from their mouths..
I was just being a kid.
These childhood dalliances help me to catch my cousins when they try to get over on me.
My childhood mistakes are those I wish for my young cousins to avoid.
But sometimes these bad-ass little boys get on my nerves.
When I warned a couple of cousins that, "You'd better run" if they got caught by me doing something bad - one occasion lead most of them to take off running down the block when I caught them drinking liquor from my bar.
I had to laugh at the sight, but a couple of kids failed to take head to the warning.
"Be here when I get back", I said as I searched for a belt.
When I returned, only my most favored little niece remained.
When I asked why she didn't run, "You said 'Be here when I get back'. And besides, I didn't do anything wrong.".
I had to laugh at her, but she was right.
She had just been watching her older cousins getting drunk.
She was just doing what I had said to do.
It's odd, this blog has gone from my attempt to figure out theoretical problems to that of trying to figure out my personal problems.
This blog has turned into those Bernie Mac "Talking to America" asides.
Where I'd love to be able to "talk" to erudite adults about esoteric concepts (I need the mental exercise) - I now have to ask questions on the best ways to teach an unlearned generation the best ways to prepare for their futures.
I guess I still have the reruns in syndication - but Bernie, I feel your pain.