Friday, August 29, 2008

The New 20

I had to take the time out of our regularly scheduled programming today to make a quick dedication. This one goes out to a man that I consider a great man, a great friend, and someone I am privileged to have in my life. On Monday September 1st my brother will be turning 30 years old. Having grown up with him it's hard to imagine that the day is coming. I mean I can sit back and remember him turning ages like 10 and 20, but 30 always seemed like such a long way away. Well that is until now. You have officially made it to age 30. So, I want to take the time out to say Happy 30th Birthday to my one and only brother.

When I started to think of three decades worth of living I didn't just reflect on the good old days and good times. However, I started to reflect on just some of the things we did as kids and as adults that could have prevented us/you from reaching this 30th Milestone. That's right I'm referring to the dumb shit that could have killed us/you. So, I've taken a bit of time to outline a few of those things. They're in no particular order.

I know Lupe Fiasco's first single was Kick Push which we all realize now is talking about skateboarding. However, my brother and I regard ourselves as the original black skateboarders. When we were living in California in the early 90's skateboarding was the thing to do. So of course we had to have skateboards as well. When our parents finally got us some we were all over the place on those things including places we shouldn't have been. Not to mention doing plenty of things we shouldn't have been doing. But I guess as they say boys will be boys, and boy oh boy did we prove that statement true. Most of the friends we hung out with and skateboarded with were white. And let's just say that back then we were too young to really realize that white people are the let's just say the "adventurous" type. So, that along with some peer pressure we were introduced to some things we normally wouldn't have done. Well somehow we were talked into riding a skateboard down a hill such as the one you see in the image on your left. Not standing up but laying down on the board as if one is really less dangerous than the other. But as if it's not bad enough to simply ride down the hill as you can see at the bottom of the hill there is a traffic light. So we would ride down the hill through the intersection using only the soles of our shoes as brakes. I remember my brother got in trouble for tearing up a pair of dress shoes this way. LoL. Needless to say we should have/could have died doing this.

As a kid peer pressure is a Mutha. Here is another example of peer pressure. This had to be like 1988 or 1989. But as me, my brother, and a friend of ours were walking home from the local arcade we were walking over a bridge similar to the one in the picture to the left. Below the bridge was like a basin so when it rained it filled with water. But on this particular day it was empty and exposed it's solid concrete. Well our friend decided to dare my brother to walk on the outside of the overpass. It may have even been a bet I don't exactly recall. All I know is that my brother makes the decision to take this dare or bet. So, as he proceeds to climb over the railing and walk on the outside of the railing across the bridge. As he's holding on tight to the railing and moving across the bridge I was on the other side quickly becoming hysterical. This walk may have taken a minute tops but to me it seemed like an eternity. I attempted to talk him into stopping and come back on the other side. However, I was doing mostly crying and yelling for him to do this. In hindsight that may not have been the best thing to do while he was concentrating on walking and not losing his balance. Yes I know I would make a great hostage negotiator. LoL. Yes so what I bitched up. LoL. But I was like 8 and thought my brother was going to fall to his death at any moment. So what would you expect? Well of course he made it across but it gave me a mild heart attack in the process. Once again another stupid move. LoL.
My brother and I didn't learn how to swim until probably after age 10. One particular day we were hanging with friends in their apartment complex that had a swimming pool. Well some of our friends had been swimming. They all knew we didn't know how to swim. However, one of them decided it would be funny to push my brother in the swimming pool. Now this swimming pool was designed as most are where it starts shallow and as you go further the water level gets deeper. Well he was pushed into the shallow end, which is maybe 4 Feet of water at most. Although he wasn't that tall at that time he was definitely taller than 4 Feet. Although as my grandfather always says, you can drown even in as little as a thimble of water (this is probably the one fact of his I still haven't fully accepted. LoL). But as he was pushed in feet first, his head never went under the water. But I guess just the thought of being in water and not knowing how to swim is enough to panic anyone. So once he began to panic he was flapping his arms all over the place while trying to reach out for the edge of the pool. Although I should have been scared and hysterical as in the story above, I was not. I was quite the opposite. I was actually laughing. To see him with his head above water essentially standing up within a fingers reach of the edge screaming I'm drowning was funny to me. Because I was sitting there thinking in my head like "your ass is nowhere near drowning kill the drama." LoL. But one of our friends went ahead and jumped in and saved him by guided him back to the edge. Although, it wasn't really a near death experience I'm sure my brother felt like it was. Also, not too long after this incident we decided to learn to swim.

As I stated, growing up we had many white friends. Well I remember we were maybe 12 and 14 respectively. Me, my brother, and our friend Mary (she's white) were walking to another friend's house. It was night time and sort of late maybe 9pm. Well we were walking down some residential streets and it was pretty dark on those streets. All of a sudden we hear someone yelling out. "Get away from her!!" But we thought nothing of it and continued walking. Then we hear it again "I told you to get the hell away from her!!" Then we finally look back and we notice this white man a ways behind us yelling. We then realized that he was yelling at us. And by her he meant our friend Mary. We keep walking but the man doesn't stop. He continues to yell then the racial slurs began to come. "Get away from her niggers." The man appeared to be intoxicated, and he began to increase his speed almost as he was running towards us. Well as I mentioned in my last blog about fight or flight one of the 2 will take over when your adrenaline is pumping. Well when you're 12 and a drunk white man is running at you spewing racial slurs guess what? You're going to run!! Which is exactly what we did. We all took off running. The only thing was that our friend Mary didn't quite have the speed we had. My brother and I ran so fast that we ended up leaving her behind. She was yelling "wait up for me!!" However, we figured he's after us and he was trying to save you so we're not going to stop to wait for you and get killed by some drunk KKK member. Well we lost him. And we proceeded to our friend's house. We had no clue what happen to Mary though. Back in those days we didn't have cell phones to call or text each other. All we had were pagers and had to locate a phone to even be able to page someone. Eventually we ran into her and all walked to the other friends house safely. We're still friends with Mary and she did forgive us for leaving her like that. LoL.

As they say what happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. Well my brother recently introduced me to Las Vegas on my 26th Birthday in 2006. Ever since that first trip I try to get back to Vegas whenever I possibly can. However, there should be a disclaimer on the Las Vegas brochure and I don't mean that what happens in Vegas slogan. I mean it should tell you something like "if you gamble the alcohol is on us and you will get F**ked up." LoL. That first trip to Vegas is memorable for a few reasons. This is the short version of the story. One, we were so intoxicated that while playing Keno I filled out a ticket and gave it to my brother to play. Well he played it but didn't play the right game. So next thing we know as the numbers start coming in all damn 7 of my numbers hit. Please keep in mind that I don't recall any of this but this is how the story was told back to me, I was that intoxicated. So as my brother goes to redeem what should have been my $7,000 winning ticket they tell him he played the wrong game. He attempted to argue but the most they would give him was the $1 back it cost to play.

Well next thing I know (this is the part where my memory comes back) I'm walking through the casino parking structure and cars are honking at me to move out of the way. I tried to call my brother but my phone was dead. So I tried to find the car. Well I did but my brother had the keys. Well I was smart enough to leave a note for him on the car. I have no clue what it said but I'm sure it made no sense at all. But I was lost. My brother later told my mom that this was the first time in 26 years of being a big brother that he's lost me. LoL. Well next I decided to walk back in the casino and look around for my brother more. But as I'm walking in guess who I bump into? Yep my brother. So we were both like "where have you been?" and then we started laughing and he proceeded to tell me the story about the money. I was livid to say the least. But the fact I had no recollection of any of it kept me from being upset with him. So we hopped in the car and I chose to drive for whatever reason. As I stated in previous blogs one should never drive intoxicated and here is a good example of why.

So, I get behind the wheel and my brother tells me which way to go and we hit the highway. Our destination was Primm, Nevada. According to Google Maps this is a 43.8 mile trip on Highway 15 that should take approximately 40 minutes to drive in decent traffic. Well those estimations are made with a sober person in mind. When I hit the highway I decided to turn into Lead Foot Larry and put the pedal to the metal. So we're flying down Highway 15 in a rental car made by Mazda doing 100 plus miles an hour just talking like it's nothing. I guess what they say about God looking out for babies and fools is correct. Because he's the only reason why we didn't either wrecked out or get pulled over and jailed. But we made it to Prim in what seemed to be 15-20 minutes max. The funny thing is that once we got to Primm we stopped at another casino and guess what we did? Yep we sat down gambled some more and no sooner than we sat down there came the cocktail waitresses with the short skirts on serving us more alcohol. It's free what was I supposed to do refuse it? LoL

Well I'm sure we've survived death even more times than the 5 that I recalled here. And I'm sure that God willing we'll survive plenty more to come. The first 30 years have been a blast. I appreciate the opportunity to have been able to share them with you. And I look forward to another 30 plus some. All I can say is embrace 30 I hear it's not as bad as they say it is. But let me know how it's going as you know I will be joining you within the next 2 years. But we all know your life is just beginning again so make sure you hit the ground running come September 1st. Plus as Jay-Z said 30's the new 20. LoL

Love you Man.


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