...we was young, and we was dumb but we had heart,
and in the dark would we survive through the bad parts?
--Tupac/Biggie "Runnin"

Just got back in from liming with a couple of my friends, including Scratchie and Dr. D. at Cuddy'z. Trust me, the place was pretty nice still. Had a very interesting waitress, and the conversation was excellent! Much laughter and liquor to be had (note, I only had Smirnoff Ice, and in my book 5.5% is just soda, so I haven't broken my resolution!).

Anyhow, got back home, talked to my dawg Rocky. Much business ideas running through our minds, so this must be pursued in much depth later on in the month, but that's another story.

Decided to invade the office and listen to a few tracks on Launch and came across the jam named Runnin' with 2Pac and Biggie. Anyhow, listening to the lyrics and began to think about the peeps I used to roll with back in the day. I wouldn't say I was a thug or a rude bwoy still, but some of them were some bad a$$ nig*s for real. People used to think that I'd never make it to 20--sorry to disappoint y'all, but I'm still here!

So, I'm thinking about people and times passed, but a couple of them stick out in my mind. Used to roll with a dawg named Mario who was the definition of "ruffneck". Seen this cat beat down more than his fair share of punks back in the day; no mercy, no fear, no conscience...that was Mario. His trademark was an 8" long scar across his neck, a present he'd gotten when he was in primary school. Saw him a couple years ago, all cleaned up and respectable, working as a teacher at some school. He'd somehow managed to get his act together and found God. Good for him, except that the sins of the past sometimes come back to collect their due when you least expect it. A gunshot wound to the chest and head in front of your woman and kid, that ain't no way for a thug to go out.

Remember one night when I was rolling thru New Kingston with some cats from Barbican that my boy Val and I had linked up with one Saturday night. Buses were on strike because someone had stabbed a conducter earlier that night and the only way for me and Val to get home was to walk. Turns out that I run into my dawg Booker from high school and he tells me that he and his boys were headed to Liguanea by way of New Kingston...didn't have anything to do still, so we said aight and went. Somewhere at Stanton Terrace we ran into a bunch of hos (prostitutes) and one of the cats in the crew decided to josh her, but when she told him about his mother, he got pissed and threw an empty beer which had been lying on the ground. The bottle hit the pavement and shattered, cutting her legs in the process.

In a flash, we heard safetys being released from guns and about 6 dudes jumped out of the nearby bushes with mad heat! So me and Val split, thank God a taxi was just coming around the corner when we came out. He was drunk as shit, but better get driven home by a drunk than get a cap busted in your ass. Yeah, me and Val had some adventures yo. He died about two or three years ago from an aneurism.

A couple years after graduating from JC, my boys and I decided to go to the Stadium for Boys Champs. On the way to the ticket booth, we ran into some punk-ass scalper that was trying to sell us some fake tickets. He got pissed because we walked right by him and lay down a few insults. My boys all ignored him, but I took it personal and went back to beat him down. My boys saved him from me beating the shit out of him. We got in to the stadium and headed toward the section designated for JC. Didn't know that this bitch had followed me in to the stadium and was about to stab me in the kidney, had it not been for my old schoolmate Isiah pulling his gun when he did, I wouldn't have been here typing this monologue today. Isiah had left school a year eariler because he needed to sell narcs, but he enjoyed things like Boys Champs and the high school vibe, so he still did his thing. Don't know what happened to him, whether his alive or dead, but I owe him still.

My family all realized that I was runnin' wild in JA and something needed to be done to curb my lifestyle, so my Dad was pretty happy to get me off the rock so that I could stand a fighting chance. The day before I left for Jamaica to go to the US to study, I was on a #27 bus headed to New Kingston from Mountain View and a little voice in the back of my head told me to stand at the front of the bus, even though the vehicle was practically empty. There were two suspicious cats roaming around the bus and moving from seat to seat. Suddenly, I heard someone scream out "thief!" and I realized why they were moving from seat to seat. They were busy walking down the line jacking people.

I turned around suddenly and saw the two cats running down the bus aisle with their knives out and pointed in my direction, so I jump off the moving bus, since I really wasn't about to get stabbed a day before I left home! Anyhow, I survived again, thank God.

Looking back, I'm really glad that I survived this long and got this far in my life, God really has a purpose for me after all. In a way, I'm glad to have had these experiences because they've helped to ground me and see the dark side of the human experience. These things made an upper-middle class boy from St. Andrew understand and appreciate people from all walks of life and be able to relate to the reality of their world on their level. Perhaps that's all the world needs, understanding between everyone.


Jdid said…
reminds me of these lines by A.Z which I always feel could be applied to my life.

'I'm destined to live this dream for all my peeps who didnt make it
cause yea we were beginners in the hood as 5 percenters but something musta got in us cause all of us turn to sinners
now some resting in pieces others sitting in san quintin
others such as myself are trying to carry on tradition
keeping that real raw street ghetto essence inside us
cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us
Anonymous said…
Well, I have no rapper tunes to put my ideas to but I agree with your sentiment.

I must say that prior to attending STGC my life was pretty sheltered as well..upper St. Andrew 'brown skin' or 'red' bwoy! Having attended the ONLY side of North Street (that was for any of the ruffians from KC) :-), it made me flex with yutes from all walks of life and I'm better off for it today.

Though it is good to be street wise, it is also good to know the difference between right and wrong. As you have mentioned in the post, for many the wrong way eventually ends up haunting you and young lives can be terminated in a flash...such a waste.

Was good to link you while you were here. Safe travel back to the chill box! :-))) Dr. D.
Abeni said…
Call them the trials of growing up.All of them help to mould you though.And now you can write stories to entertain us:)
Scratchie said…
I think my education at high school taught more than book work. With the location came shootings, robbery, drugs, gangs, donmanship etc. It was a rounded education.
Bus rides home were an even greater teacher. The key is to survive and end up a better person because of or in spite of it.
Communication is key.
Sunshine said…
Hi Angry Dog-Sorry I missed you previous bloggs. WOW-what a dangerous life you've lead and thank God you're around to tell us about it.
Soak up all that warm weather.
Melody said…
We never stop growin' (sometimes findin' ourselves, definin' ourselves, redefinin' ourselves), but hopefully wi all grow to appreciate our own value, identity, and purpose in life--stripped ov society's superficial labels. Ah fink it's great that yu survived all ov that.
Anonymous said…
The dawg used to live ruff, bwoy. Interesting little tale still...

Mad Bull
Stu said…
OK, we used to live on Stanton Terrace. I'll have to ask my dad if it is frequented by prostitutes at night now and what's up with that. We used to also take the #27 bus from Half-Way tree after leaving St. Cecelia to get home.

Lastly, I went to JC as well, only for First Form and a few weeks of second form before we moved to Florida. I guess I was there in 1975/76 since we moved to Florida in September of 76.

Our Home Room teacher was some old woman from Scotland we used to call her "Maddy". Not sure why, that is just what everone called her.
All I can say is "Damn!.. Great blog man..