Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Today, I found myself in the precarious position of having to scold a neighborhood kid for acting foolish. If you know me in the slightest bit, you know that I have no problem with correcting the misguided, especially if they aren’t old enough to make the adjustments on their own. I’m pretty sure that’s one of my communal functions – as a man – anyway. In fact, I don’t even attempt to correct adults these days. I merely suggest, & if need be, discuss. Kids, on the other hand, need all the assistance (other than public) that they can get, but that’s neither here nor there.
The boy – who I’ve known all his 9 years on earth – was dragging a smaller kid down the street on it’s bike, chanting what sounded like, “C’mon you fucker!” to the kid as he dredged forward. Until I saw it was a kid I knew, I wrote off the voice as someone’s badass miscreant who – in essence – isn’t my problem. However, my opinion soon changed when I realized I knew exactly who it was. I walked out onto the porch & barked for a moment or two, until he bowed his head & walked away in shame. (Or shame’s often deceitful cousin “Fuck you, old man.“)
The boy turned the corner, & I chuckled as I walked back in the house.
This scenario somehow reminded me of all the times I’d ride with my Mother to her old neighborhood, where her Mother still lived, where some old bastard who I didn’t know personally felt a need to treat me like we grew up in the same crackhouse. The exception in my case, though, was that this particular boy’s mother & I have been good friends for roughly 13 years, & if anything, I was like a neighborhood big brother to him. Therefore, if I felt a need to remind him what he may have momentarily forgotten, so be it. I’ve had that authority for years. & the same goes for all the other kids I watched grow up.
Back to my mom’s old neighborhood, though.
As a kid, I couldn’t give a shit less about any of those old fools that my mom knew, but as I grew & began to learn how life works, I realized that these were all men who, at one point or another, were panting & clawing at my mother. After all, my mom being my mom was a coincidence. She’s a woman, first & foremost. Now, as a man, I can look back & see what dudes chased after her to no avail, because every time she visits, they visit, & I can tell which ones were legitimately boyfriends or friends with benefits or however you choose to phrase it. The point is that they boned my mom.
Men spend most of their childhood bagging on other kids’ mom’s while defending their own, but not until certain maturity hits does it dawn on us that our moms weren’t moms until she started being a mother. Until that point, the sky was the limit & we have no idea where the starting point could have possibly been.
When the neighborhood kid passed by the house again, he was chill. My job, for the brief, unimportant moment, was done. I’m pretty sure that one day, when he’s a man, he’ll put two & two together & realize that back in the day, I boned his mom. He may not want to except it at first, but time marches onward.
& the circle of life continues…
Words by Tony Grands