Konnichiwa, dudes and dudettes! Today we are going to talk about valuable lessons learned. Not just any valuable lessons, but lessons that we can learn from living in the hood.
Many of you may not know that my toilet bowl was not always made of 14 karat gold. I know, I know. It may come as a shock to you, but I too, did not grow up with palm trees and rollerblades to get me from point A to point B on the boardwalk. In fact, my neighborhood was quite the opposite. But despite the bald patches in the lawns of my neighborhood’s less than grassy pastures, there are a heck of a lot of things that I’ve learned from living in the hood. And it’s time to pass on my knowledge to those who daringly turn their nose up to some of the world’s most seemingly tainted communities.
Pack your bags kids, because after seeing all that can be gained from living on the wrong side of the tracks, you may just be ready to plan your next trip to a neighborhood where your best bet is to double-bolt the locks on your doors!
Lesson #1 ~ The Value of Discipline and Respect
In any ‘hood’, one of the first two things that you learn is discipline and respect. Discipline begins with what your parents teach you at home and is usually supported by a thin switch pulled off the closest tree or any belt pulled from whatever pair of pants your daddy is wearing at the time. Both [the switch and the belt] are enough to keep your ass in check when they strike your behind like stray bullets. It may sound a little harsh, but it’s a consequence most misbehaved kids have to endure for being disrespectful to their elders…aw hell, being disrespectful PERIOD. Things like stealing, sassing and lying are most common reasons for getting that ass tapped. Also getting caught making out in the basement with no adult supervision anywhere in the house (every kid on the planet knows they aren’t supposed to have company while their parents aren’t home) or sparking up a fat blunt are sure ways to reserve a one way trip to WHOOPING WORLD. KIDS, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU. Luckily, getting back-handed in the lips is what most parents go for today, just to remind their kids of what is to come next.
NOTE: When daddy’s belt is unleashed, run for your life! When grandma’s switch is swinging, bob and weave. Only be sure to get hit on purpose at least once. The more granny misses with that switch, the angrier she becomes and the worse the whooping is. FYI, if your parents send you out to pick out your own switch, just keep on going. Don’t bother going back in the house. Pack a PB&J sandwich and run-away. Don’t come back until you think your parents have forgotten they owe an ass whooping. PS, good luck with that. Parents don’t forget something as important as hopping on that behind!
Keep in mind, though, that in the hood, it’s not just your parents that have all the fun of whooping your tail. It’s also the neighbors. There’s a little saying that I grew up with that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” which to me says everyone in that village has a right to spank you when you’ve screwed up. Having said that, respecting the rules and knowing your place as a child are the keys for not getting popped. As you become an adult, you’ll quickly remember the sting of whelps the next time you want to get out of line and disrespect someone.
…AND in case you didn’t know, children are not the only ones susceptible to a spanking. Adults can get out of line and say some slick shit, too. When they do, they should watch out. You never know when you’re going to open your mouth and your daddy steps out, reaching for whatever belt you’re wearing at the time. #PutUpYourDukes
Lesson #2 ~ Appreciation for the Simple Things in Life
Let’s be real. Most people live in the hood or the projects because they just can’t afford a better grade of land. It’s not a bad thing. The hood has the best parties – that is before the cops arrive to break up the fight that almost always inevitably causes the party to go awry. But because most [or let me speak of my own personal experience] project dwellers do not have much, appreciation for the simple things is imminent. Things like:
- Kool-Aid, the least expensive beverage on the planet…next to tap water, of course;
- Oodles & Noodles, the cheapest, easiest and most popular dinner choice of all the little greedy kids that selfishly grub on noodle juice at the playground;
- Cable TV, because it saves money on aluminum foil. How does it save money on aluminum foil? Simple. Thanks to cable TV, aluminum foil is now only used for kitchen duty and no longer for getting a better reception when wrapped around a television antenna.
- The final piece of appreciation is beer. On almost every street corner in the hood there’s a liquor store. Beer is the cheapest of alcoholic beverages and probably the most easiest to get. As you become old enough to stop sneaking sips of the malt beverage or slick enough to stop paying random dumb adults to purchase your booze for you, you save money on your spirits when you’ve finally graduated to a higher class of associates who like to hang out in nightclubs and local bars. While they’re spending loads of cash on their gin & tonics and long island iced-teas, you’re saving your Benjamins on bumbers, 24oz and 40oz sized Steele Reserves and Budweisers, leaving you plenty of cash in your pocket to load up on the economy size family pack of oodles & noodles, which will come in handy when you’ve blown all of your money on something completely worthless. Not referring to beer of course. Beer is not worthless. Beer is a culture of the hood.
Lesson #3 ~ The Appreciation of Music
One can’t deny that music is a big part of living in the hood. Granted, you may not hear Mozart, but it is very easy to be reminded of the tribal drums of Africa, thanks to the sounds of particularly loud bass echoing through the speakers of a pimped out ‘hoopty’, usually at the most disturbing hours of the night.
Lesson #4 ~ Social Interaction
Because there are all types of people and personalities in some of the city’s most questionable neighborhoods, we learn the value of diversity. As a result of living in these neighborhoods, we are able to gauge the best way to deal with some of the best and the worst people. For example; bullies, winos, hustlers, hoes, nosey neighbors, crooked cops and Jehovah’s witnesses.
You’d be surprised how these types of people integrate into today’s society and dress up their debatable personalities in the common workplace. Living in the hood gives you an advantage over when and how to run and duck for cover when you see these folks headed in your direction.
Lesson #5 ~ Fashion Awareness
Fashion is the final piece of hoodiology, because no matter what you don’t have [while living in some form of the projects] the one thing that everyone does have is a means to get a brand new outfit to wear to the club, even if that outfit consists only of a spanking white pair of tennis shoes, which nobody better step on if they don’t want to catch a beat down before the last call for alcohol.
So many people misconceive those who were raised on a little bit of nothing; who grew up on back alley streets; shadow-boxed and played street football because they couldn’t afford to attend stadium sporting events; whose credit is bad and who has criminal records longer than some of the wrap sheets of some of Hollywood’s most notable out of control young starlets. But the thing that they don’t know is that some of society’s most capable people are born and raised right in the crappiest of neighborhoods, where values and responsibility is surreptitiously at its highest peak and free fun reigns supreme.
Never forget where you come from or what you’ve learned from where you’ve been.
Quote of the week: “Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”