Monthly Archives: February 2012
It’s one of those what came first, the chicken or the egg kind of deals. I don’t know if people back in the 80s and 90s saw how well the youth adapted to selling drugs and decided to exploit it or if they were trying to teach us salesmanship and inadvertently created drug dealers. Either way, why is it that every adult tried to use us to peddle things back in the day? I’m speaking of fundraisers.
Girl Scouts are the only, I repeat, ONLY group of children that people are happy to buy things from. Everyone else can go to hell as far as adults are concerned, nonetheless parents, teachers, churches and athletic groups sent us out on candy and wrapping paper runs like drug mules.
It’s sad when your own relatives won’t buy your wrapping paper. Everyone in my family got theirs from the Dollar Store. My neighbors would sometimes buy it, but never enough for me to get the cool prizes like a mini TV which required you to sell $17,000 worth. I ended up with the crappy prizes:
No one likes this crap either:
I remember being given these little bricks to push around the neighborhood. Some kids just walked around with a milk crate full of tasteless, Dollar Store looking, stale Valentine’s Day candy. My group tried to be “upscale” and sell these overpriced wannabe Snickers. Then adults would say, “Why don’t y’all just sell real candy?”
So someone got a bright idea:
These sold way easier, but now there was a problem: Everybody was selling these. You’d be on the subway and two little kids would get on with their junior high school basketball jerseys. At first you’d think they were about to rob the train. “EXCUSE ME EVERYBODY! We go to Martin Luther King Malcom X JJ Walker Let the Good Times Roll Public Charter School and we’re trying to get new jerseys.” Why is it that the first thing every black team needs is jerseys and a ride to nationals? How did you pay your coach?
In the end, you just went with the default and had your mother sell it at work. Not sure why they even involved the kids in the first place.
PS…Did anyone else have their mother almost crash the car to buy these from kids selling them at the intersection?
Here’s a fun tale of friendship and adventure:
One day 13 year old me was walking home from school with three of my “friends.” Even though they don’t deserve it, I’ll protect their little reputation and call them Ike, Spike and Mike.
3 Friends + Me= 4 people
Four is the number of the day so write it down somewhere.
The four of us are walking down the street when the afternoon turns into an episode of The Fresh Prince. When a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood. I got in one little fight…
My father had just given me a Polo jacket. In DC the rule is that you only wear nice clothes if you have a gang of people with you. What was the number of the day? That’s right, four. There were four of us. So imagine how I felt when we approach these three dudes at the bus stop who yell out, Hey cuz, come up out that coat.
They were about eighteen and looked like they’d probably dropped outta school years ago, so not the brightest minds in DC. I tried to play it off like I thought they were joking. I chuckled and kept walking. Yeah it would make me look like a punk, but it would also stop an immediate fight. They’d have time to use their fingers and toes to count and realize there were more of us than them. I’m proud to say that I haven’t been in that many fights in my life. People from DC don’t fight. They have pre-shootout fights. Kind of like a good cardio warm up to get the trigger finger loose, but nobody just fights and lets it go. So, yeah I tried to play it off.
That’s when they got in our faces. Nigga I ain’t playing. Gimme that coat. So now we’ve gone from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to the standoff scene in Bad between Michael Jackson and Wesley Snipes. You’re doing wrong! Better watch your mouth boy! So we’re just staring each other down waiting for someone to make a move and all the while I’m thinking to myself, Thank God I didn’t walk down here by myself like usual.
That’s when I notice Ike out of the corner of my eye. One minute he was beside me. I blinked and he was down the damned street. You know how cartoons run so fast that you don’t see their feet, just a blur? That’s what happened. I tried to keep my game face on though. There were still three of us. And then there weren’t.
Spike yells out, Yo Ike wait up! and he takes off running too. The sad thing is, he isn’t fast…at all. So picture the scene in your head. Three people (originally four) staring down three other people with a menacing look on their faces and then you see some bumbling idiot “mallwalk” away at what he thinks is top speed across and then down the street. The dude I’m staring at has the mean mug like Treach from Naughty By Nature and then he breaks his stare at me to slowly follow with his eyes this fool running away.
So now there are two of us. Ike and Spike lived in the neighborhood. The pressure got to be too much, they got scared and they realized that their houses were just two blocks away so they ran. Mike is from Southeast along with me. Even if he wanted to run, there is nowhere he can go. We catch the same 90 bus to Anacostia. We’re now outnumbered, but at least we’ll fight this together.
Then that 90 bus I mentioned pulled up to the stop. Then like some wannabe knight from the round table, Mike says, This isn’t my fight man. And he runs and gets on the bus. It was like something out of a movie. The camera is facing us from the right side like they do the two boxers staring off before a match. In the background a bus pulls up, my wingman runs to get on, the doors close and the bus pulls off and now it’s just me and three other dudes who wanna beat my ass for a coat.
I could’ve run with Ike and Spike. I could’ve gotten on the bus with Mike. I could’ve just easily handed them my coat, but I something inside me wouldn’t let me do it. I didn’t give a damn about the coat or my pride. I cared about the fact that if I gave them that coat or if I ran, I’d be doing that shit every day. Someone pulls a gun on you in DC, you give em whatever they want. Chances are you’ll never see them again and you keep a bullet out your ass. Someone just walks up and demands your property in DC without brandishing a weapon…you don’t give it to them. That labels you a punk and punks get picked on and bullied every damn day. Take my shit with a weapon. Take my shit by force but you will not take my shit just because you huff and puff. So the scene started back up.
What you gonna do now nigga? Your friends left you. I looked him in his face and said just as calmly. Do what you gotta do. They proceeded to kick the shit out of me. I didn’t fight back because there was no point. I couldn’t fight all three of them, but I didn’t take it off. They pulled on it, punched me, kicked me, threw shit at me and did their best to tackle me to the ground, but I would not go down and I would not take that damn coat off. They tried their best to rip it off me but I gotta hand it to Ralph Lauren, he makes some durable shit. After about three or four minutes, something surprising happened.
The dude said, “Man keep your bamma ass coat, bitch!” And they walked away. I sat there at the bus stop, lip bleeding, and I kept thinking three things as I waited for the bus:
1) I’m gonna beat the shit outta Ike, Spike and Mike. They better not say shit to me ever again.
2) This isn’t my fight? What the fuck?
3) What the hell is this coat made out of? Why didn’t it rip?
I’ve written about this before on my Facebook page but the problem seems to have spread to Maryland now so it bears repeating:
Dear cashiers at all major grocery stores,
If you see me walk up to the register with fifty two cans of tunafish, twelve jars of Miracle Whip, seventy four packs of butter, thirty apples and a box of Cap’n Crunch and you see me put all of that on the belt then there should be a mechanism that flips in your brain that prevents you from saying the dumbest phrase in all mankind…
“Do you need a bag?”
How else do you expect me to get all of that home? Juggle?
Now I could understand if you saw me carrying a backpack, duffel bag or pushing one of those grandma carts but I’m empty handed wearing shorts and a wifebeater. Where else will I put it? Then when I tell you I need some you continue down the path of the dark side with…
“You know they cost five cents, right?”
Oh for real? Well in that case let me just put this shit back. I can eat tomorrow. It’s a nickel. There are twenty of those in every dollar. Just give me the damn bags.
When you tell them you’re aware of it they then go into super duper silly mode.
“Do you want your milk in a bag too?”
I understand what they think their logic is. They see a little handle on the milk and assume you can just carry that. Well if I had seventeen other bags and I’ve already told you I don’t need parking validation then that should trigger some common sense. I don’t have a car, yet I probably need about ten bags for the stuff you’ve rang up already. How big do you think my hands are that I can carry ten bags AND that thick ass handle on the milk?
So I finally get them to bag everything and after paying I go to collect my stuff and realize that they have somehow forgotten that these are PLASTIC bags, not titanium. Just because we now have to pay for them does not mean they’ve somehow gone up in quality. Why did you put sixteen cans in one bag?
Excuse me, can you separate some of this stuff and double bag?
“You know they’re five cents EACH right?”
So yesterday I told you about me, now let me tell you a little about my wife. She’s a baaaad chick. Behind the veneer of a friendly disposition is a woman who has endured some of the worst hardships in life, carried on her shoulders the burdens of a series of other people’s mistakes and dreams deferred and like some type of damn Brita stress filter she transforms all of the shit that life has thrown at her into an almost constant goddamn smile on her face. If spirit is strength then she can pick up the weight of the world in one hand and write down the names of the asses she’s kicking with the other. She’s so bad that if I wasn’t me, I’d be her.
Every year she wants to get me a Valentine’s Day gift and every year I say no because the idea of a man getting a gift is just odd to me. Nonetheless we reached a compromise this year. She wouldn’t get me a Valentine’s Day gift, she’d get me a Black History Month gift or as I like to call it “We Have Overcome (WHO) Month.” So on Saturday we went out under the auspice of going to get her a cupcake in Georgetown.
She drives down the street like she’s trying to test out the flux capacitor. It scares the hell out of me and she, as if annoyed by my constant breath holding and eyes closing, pulls over and tells me to get out. I happily oblige and proceed to start thanking baby Jesus that I’m alive. She hands me an envelope through the window, gives me this Batman-ish “I’ll find you” and then drives away like she’s going to catch the Joker. The envelope says “Happy W.H.O Month.” I open it and find a card inside that has an address and a time on it. My wife is now playing Mission Impossible with me.
I go to the address and find that she’s sent me to a spa. I was kinda pissed because I thought she was leading me to Bobby’s Burger Palace and the idea of a straight man going into a spa just seems silly. I’m not paying a woman for a massage or any other service (that’s what my charm is for). Anyway, I went in because she went to so much trouble. Fast forward an hour and I now know what it felt like to have slaves back in the Egyptian days. From the time they put me in that fancy robe, had one of their servants bring me some cucumber water and wine and then had another slave girl take me to the back and give me what can only be described as just “one step away from adultery” I was hooked. If I have to sell dummy rocks on the corner made out of old baby formula to support my new massage habit then I’ll do that.
My wife picked me up drove me a few blocks and then pulled over again. She opened my door, handed me my bookbag and my daughter’s diaper bag and gave me another envelope. After that massage she could’ve asked me to stand on the corner and turn tricks and I would’ve said yes. So I followed the address in the envelope and it led me to a hotel. I thought she had the wrong address. It was one of those fancy historic hotels in DC. The bell hop asked me if I was lost. I told him my wife sent me on a scavenger hunt. I went inside and she’d reserved an executive room for me. The concierge gave me a glass of champagne and two slaves asked to take my bags.
I went upstairs and opened up my bags. Now this is where you know you have a good woman. A normal woman, a nymph, would’ve just packed a change of clothes, BUT a goddess…(single tear rolling down my face) she packs your Xbox 360, your games, a box of Cheez-Its, reese cups, skittles, whoppers, water, your laptop and ten bucks for wifi. (Hallelujah!) Oh, and for those who haven’t caught on…she wasn’t coming. That’s a person without kids’ fantasy…to have the wife meet you in a nice hotel. An overworked, stay at home dad who raises the seed of Chucky just wants a night to himself.
The only thing I needed now was dinner and that’s when I saw two more envelopes. The “open at 6pm” one led me to my reservation at Morton’s Steakhouse where I was instructed to buy “a real steak” instead of those cheap paper thin ones that I get from the grocery store all the time. I tore that damn porterhouse up and had some cheesecake for dessert. I went back to the room, actually took a bath in my huge marble tiled bathroom. I even put on a damn robe. Before I passed out for the night on my king size bed that was toddler free, I read my last card which told me I had a free breakfast in their fancy restaurant downstairs.
The next morning I had breakfast in a place where two waiters/servants/slaves stand by your table and refill your coffee every time it gets to half way. They had smoked salmon on the breakfast buffet bar. I walked outta there with the feeling you get when you find money on the ground. Finally she and the child came and picked me up, I clicked my heels three times and now I’m back home. I feel like a king, and this is just one weekend with this woman. Imagine what nine years does to you.
Hi, I’m Ordale. I’m a househusband and stay at home dad. Those job titles are as stressful as they are emasculating.
There’s a double standard in society. If a man works and his wife stays at home then he’s a good provider. If, however, that same man complains to his stay at home wife about dishes in the sink or dinner not being ready at six then he is an insensitive bastard because staying home with a kid is difficult work. Now turn around and make that man stay home and send the woman out and all of a sudden the guy is lazy because watching kids becomes easy the minute you no longer have a vagina.
Ask any of the old women who sneer at me when they see me pushing a stroller and they’ll tell you that men are supposed to work. I’m supposed to grab a spear and head out into the urban jungle to hunt squirrels and pigeons to feed my family. Never mind that I get up at seven each morning to begin a day of servitude for a small human who is both the reason behind every smile I’ll ever have for the rest of my life and simultaneously the inspiration for every movie about exorcisms.
This shit aint easy. I grocery shop, cook everything from scratch, do laundry, doctor visits, diaper changes, tantrum negotiations, field trips, library story times and actually do daycare lessons in house everyday. I’m on the job 24-7 and besides that time I was rushed to the hospital for kidney failure, I haven’t missed a single day. And even then my daughter docked my pay for an unscheduled absence. By 5 months she could crawl, 9 months she could walk, 10 months she made the switch to English from whatever elf language they speak in Middle Earth and by 18 months she knew the ABCs, could count to 20, navigate an iPad and the doctors said she was at a two year old level.
So everytime I see these old women staring at me or someone’s mother speaks out of turn I tell myself that they aren’t making those faces because they’re looking down on me. They’re looking at me because they haven’t seen me before. I’m a goddamned superman, a centaur, a mythical creature you’d find in Narnia: A Black man that takes care of his kid. I’m a big foot with big shoes and I cast a big shadow. And all it costs me to do this job is pride. I can live with that because I’m repaid for it everyday when she does something new.
And if you think I’m bad…wait until tomorrow when I tell you about my wife.
So I’m walking to the grocery store yesterday when I had a racially perplexing moment. While pushing my daughter’s stroller across the street, a Camry pulled up to the two-way stop sign and then slowly proceeded to block the crosswalk and ramp. The driver was an older Middle Eastern woman who clearly wasn’t paying attention to us. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to position herself to back into a parking space or trying to get a better view so that she could speed across the busy six-lane street. Since I didn’t know what her plans were I couldn’t decide whether or not to go in front or behind her car.
On the other side of the street I see this old White guy on the corner and he starts yelling at her. Move the goddamn car back! I thought he was mad because she was blocking him from crossing, but she was actually his ride and he was telling her (in a really evil, “I used to be a wife beater” way) that she was blocking our way. I crossed in front of her car and kept on walking and as he’s opening the car door to get in I catch a part of their conversation.
Her: What did you say?
Him: I said move the goddamn car back!
Her: I was waiting for you to get in.
Him: You were in the middle of the fucking crosswalk.
Him: You were blocking people’s way.
Now at this point I’m like, Well that was nice of him to point that out to her. I don’t think he had to curse her out like that, but whatever.
Then I hear the next part…
Her: What people?
Him: You didn’t see that nigger right there trying to cross the street?
My brain: Wait a minute…what just happened?
There are so many things wrong with that conversation, but what stands out to me is that this old White guy got in a car with a Middle Eastern woman who I think was his wife. He scolded her for being inconsiderate and blocking my way. Then he referred to me as a nigger. Is this like a racist brain teaser or something? My brain couldn’t come up with a suitable response other than to just keep walking. I’m certain of what he said, I just don’t understand what he said.
What do these three things have in common:
Wait for it….
I only knew one little kid who actually had a real He-Man sword. Everybody else just grabbed a broom handle, umbrella or yardstick, put the joint down the back of your shirt and then waited for that scene in the show. Uh oh, some shit’s ’bout to go down. C’mon Adam, show em what you about! You stand up on top of the bed or couch and then pull the sword out your back and yell
BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL, I HAVE THE POWEEEER!
Then your mama comes outta nowhere and yells back
Stop jumping on my goddamned couch!
My imagination was great as a kid. My favorite show was Ghostbusters.
I wanted a proton pack so bad but I didn’t think they made them and my parents seemed to live by the unwritten rule of “If the kid doesn’t know the toy exists then don’t tell him.” Since I didn’t know they existed in real life, I applied the He-Man broomstick factor and made my own.
I took an umbrella, my backpack, an old phone cord and a Happy Meal box and made myself a proton pack. No pictures of this fine example of childish determination exists so let me describe it to you. I tied one end of the phone cord to the umbrella, ran it through the straps of my backpack and then took the other end of the phone cord and tied it to the handle of the happy meal box. I then folded the Happy Meal box up into a neat little square and put it in my pocket along with the excess phone cord. The umbrella was one of those old cheap black “automatic” umbrellas with a hook on it so I just hooked it onto the little loop on the top of my backpack.
I am now a Ghostbuster. My porch is our fire station. What Janine, we have a call? Let me jump down the porch steps because in my head that is the equivalent of sliding down the fire station pole. The ghosts will be expecting me in Ecto-1 (the car) or Ecto-2 (the helicopter) so I’m going to surprise them and show up in Ecto-3 (my big wheel).
I have now arrived at the tree near the alley. Lucky for me the ghost is by this tree because this is as far as my grandmother will let me go down the street. Let me recite the famous Ghostbuster mantra as seen in the movie:
Grab your stick. Holdin it! (pulls umbrella off backpack)
Heat em up! Smokin! (Grasps umbrella lookin serious)
Aiming pod! Ready! (Getting in my stance)
Let’s show this prehistoric “B” how we do things downtown. (Pushes button on umbrella to make it extend and pretends to be shooting a hard to control proton pack while making a constipated face and rocking left to right.)
It is now time to put the ghost in the trap. I shall reach into my pocket, pull out the trap (Happy Meal Box) and throw it under the ghost. (The Happy Meal box slightly unfolds on the ground which is close enough to the trap opening.) I then pretend to shield my eyes as the trap closes (Box never refolds) and then pick it up and walk back to my big wheel with pride singing the Ghostbuster theme song.
After being repeatedly embarrassed at the sight of me doing this, my father bought me the actual proton pack toy for my 6th birthday. I never saw the backpack version again.
One day I’ll sire a son and when he’s old enough he’ll come to me and ask about women. What makes them tick? How do you impress one of them. I’ll tell him this story.
Many years ago I went to an amusement park with a bunch of friends from school. Like most guys, I didn’t have my heart set on a particular girl. Any one of the cute ones would have done. I was ready to be brave when it came time for the roller coaster and herculean when it came time to win a prize, and I was especially ready to be a typical man and enjoy their water park attire. What I was not prepared for was to be asked to get in the water myself.
It’s been documented several times that I don’t mess with water. In my eyes a wave pool carries the same destructive potential as Hurricane Katrina, but when you’re a man you make stupid decisions whenever women are involved. On this particular occasion three of the finest of the fine wanted to get on a water slide.
Note: I still suffer from some of the trauma of this experience so I may be slightly off in my description of the slide.
It was a massive beast that ascended the heavens one hundred stories into the air. You had to walk up a staircase of broken glass to get to it and you went through a series of turns at breakneck speed which culminated with a free fall of about 25 feet into an alligator-filled lagoon.
Okay I’m lying. There were no alligators. So anyway, we went up and the whole time I’m writing out my will in my head. I eyed that the red slide in the corner seemed to be the slowest and safest one of the four so when it came time I’d just go down that one. Naturally we get to the top and one of these heifers gets scared and asks if we can switch. Being stupid I said, duh okay.
It started off fine. Nice and slow ride. Not bad for my first time on a slide. I kept my feet crossed and head back. Things were going well. It was one of those enclosed slides that looks more like a giant pipe. Well inside this pipe there were places along the way where streams of water would pour down from the top. I went under one such stream. Maybe that’s normal, but for someone who has never been on a damn slide before it felt like I was being waterboarded. I instinctively sat up but the pipe wasn’t made to be sat up in so I hit my damn head on the top of it. Then came another stream of waterboarding.
I’m choking, chlorinated water is in my eyes so I can’t see and I’m disoriented from banging my head. Al Qaeda was winning. My vision finally clears in time for me to see this bright ass light. The noonday sun! Apparently I’d reached the end of the interrogation tunnel, and was now blinded from looking directly up at the sun after being in a dark place. I tried to look down at my feet to get an idea of how close I was to the end of the slide. I was partially blind and concussed by this point so all I could make out was something blue.
Is that water?
That’s when the slide disappeared from underneath me and I was flung into a free fall into the pool of water below. Son of a (choking on water)! I start kicking and trying to get to the surface. It isn’t working. I’m trying to float on my back, but I keep going under. I’m trying to right myself, but I’m still hazy from the tunnel of love. I see a lifeguard in my view. Help! I can’t swim! I see her rushing over but not jumping in. Help goddammit! She’s yelling out to me but I can’t hear her b/c I’m under water. I’m ready to give up and drown but I start thinking about to the heifer that got me in this situation. I can’t die without cursing her out first. Help! And that’s when I finally piece together what the lifeguard was saying.
That’s an odd thing to say to someone drowning.
The water isn’t deep. Stand up.
What the hell is she talking about? Wait is that the ground? I stop fighting and realize that my butt is touching the bottom of the pool. I stand up and the water is at my knees. I look over and see the two girls staring at me like I’m special.
So son, the moral of this story is be yourself. Don’t try to impress women, because you’ll always fail at it. Oh, and find a woman who can’t swim.
I’m gonna open up my own Black cab company. They say that if you see a need you should create a business to fill it. Well, after watching this Black guy stand out on the corner trying to hail a cab to no avail, I’m going into business. It’s not that I have anything against cab drivers in this city. The way they’ve been robbing, shooting and killing cab drivers, I can’t blame them for being afraid. When I open up my company I plan to racially profile too, but I’m going to do it right.
First and foremost, I’m gonna do just like Dominos used to do back in the day.
What address? Oh we don’t go over there.
Secondly, my entire cab will be bulletproof. From the run-flat tires to the bulletproof escape hatch I’m gonna install for my ejection seat (think: fighter jet), you’ll need a rocket launcher to put a dent in my cab. I’m going to install one of those bulletproof turnstiles like they have at all the ghetto Popeyes so that you can pay me. There will be no hopping out without paying either, because the doors won’t have handles and bulletproof windows don’t roll down. The only way to get out is to put your money in the door like a soda machine or something. I know that in case of an emergency that might not seem to be too safe, but then again neither is walking through the hood late at night, so choose your battles. I’m sorry that it has to come to this but I’m not gonna be a statistic. I could avoid the business altogether, but the people need it. Let me tell you a story:
Once upon a time I had heart surgery. Contrary to what you see on television, not all hospitals wheel you to the door and put you in a cab. I signed out and me and my wife went outside to catch a cab. It was around lunchtime on a workday so cabs were abundant. About ten passed us by. Finally this white guy walked up and stood about five feet from us and held out his arm. A cab on the other side of the street made a U-turn for him. He motioned for us to take it and the driver pulled off as we walked up. He said, Well that was rude, to which I responded, You aint seen nothing yet.
Another cab stopped and did the same thing. When the third one stopped, he opened the door and pretended he was getting in and then told us to come on. The driver pulled off with the door still open. The White guy said, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to do but I have to get to a meeting. We thanked him for trying and we got on the subway. Now imagine having heart surgery and then having to walk down the metro’s broken escalators to stand and wait ten minutes for a train, walking up the escalators at the other station and then walking a mile home from the station. That’s what I did and it hurt like hell the whole way home but not as bad as the feeling of a cab after cab blatantly refusing to even stop for you.
So yeah, my cab company’s gonna be different.
We were walking by the playground the other day and I found myself intrigued as I watched the little kids play. They had a soccer field, two basketball courts, a sand pit, some grassy area and then a big and little kid playground. I heard one of the kids say, “I’m bored.”
I would have killed for a playground back in the day. Do you know what we had over a Maury Elementary School back in the 80s? CONCRETE. We went outside for recess and for 45 minutes we ran around, literally. We played tag, freeze tag and team tag. You yelled “one, two three, not it” or you did “bubble gum bubble gum” with your feet in a circle and then you played. If the school got a donation or a new teacher who still cared about children then we had a kickball. The fat kid always played pitcher and you called out whether you wanted it bouncy or just a regular roll. Then you kicked the hell out of it and hoped it didn’t go up on the roof to die like the other ones.
I heard one of the little kids say, “I don’t wanna get on the swings. The swings are boring.”
Back in the day, swings were a goddamn anomaly. Going to a hood playground back in the day was like going on an archaeological dig in ancient Egypt. You’d see structures and make an educated guess about what USED to be there. I always saw two posts and the little hooks where a swing might have been back in the 60s or 70s, but we never had any. If you did find a playground with an intact swing that wasn’t wrapped around the top and rusted over because of some ignorant child then you had better play on it quick before the bad ass project kids came along and tore that shit up.
The same went for basketball courts. We had plenty of basketball posts, there just weren’t any hoops anywhere to be found. Back in the day a playground was two things: A place for kids to run around during the day and skid row at night. All kinds of shit went on inside those chain link fences after dark. Sometimes it was just grown men playing ball and ripping the hoops off the rim because they forgot this wasn’t built for their big asses to dunk on. Other times it was people shooting up, having sex and doing god knows what. The next day you’d find anything from condoms to needles to bullets on the playground but one thing you didn’t find were basketball rims.
Half the time it was too dangerous to go to the playground during the day, especially on the weekend, so you played in front of your house. There isn’t a lot of space on the sidewalk so you made up games. There was “O-U-T, Out” which was just dodgeball but with three chances. “High, low” where you tied a rope to someone’s fence and someone pulled the other end so you could all line up and see who could jump highest over the rope. There were always those sad looking lonely little girls who didn’t have enough friends so they tied one end of the rope to a fence, one girl turned the other end and the second girl jumped in the middle. The boys played “throwback” where you just threw a football into a crowd and whoever caught it and made it out scored a point. If you got really bored then you just played “How many steps can I jump down.”
All of this was done on concrete by kids who had little to no health insurance and we came out just fine. Sort of.
“Grandma, I fell outside and hit my head. I can’t feel some of my fingers.”
“I told you to keep your ass in here in the first place. Go in the room and lay down.”