The other week, one of my boys sent a few friends a YouTube link. He introduced the clip by telling us that it incensed him, but knowing how frequently this particular friend often worships at the temple of hyperbole, I was prepared to be interested but not necessarily agitated.
I was wrong.
The clip is called “Recognize Bloody Loco ASAP” and it’s little over a minute of what some might call male posturing, some might call pure fuckery, and others might call just another day on the New York City subway. All of the above are correct, by the way. I suggest that you watch it, but in the event that you don’t want to risk going banana nut apeshit on the next fool that throws you the hairy eyeball as a delayed response, I’ll kindly summarize it for you.
Basically, the whole thing consists of a menacingly(?) monikered youth named Bloody Loco loudly informing a thirtysomething man we’ll call “Sweater Guy” of his complete lack of fear, his desire to engage in fisticuffs and above all else, his utter devotion to ensuring that everyone on that train recognizes his name …”ASAP!”
Throughout Mr. Loco’s rant, Sweater Guy remains calm and collected, occasionally tossing in an ironic comment or two, but obviously doing his best to tune out the aural rapist confronting him. This is an impossible feat, of course, since Bloody’s incessant barking is well…incessant. Seriously, I’d rather have two hungry babies with diarrhea and chicken pox duct taped to my head all day than listen to this poster boy for lead poisoning for 20 minutes.
What is this crap all about? Why the need to hoot, holler and pound one’s chest? Why is obnoxiousness of this sort equated with masculinity? Sigh…
Actually, I don’t have time to go into the effects that a lack of positive male role models, glorification of criminality and internalization of stereotypes has had on poor, urban youth. If I did that, then I’d have to get into brainstorming possible solutions and whatnot, and let’s face it: y’all fools got acute ADHD. So, let’s just acknowledge that the issue exists and that there are some good reasons for it. Having done that, the question becomes how am I, as a grown ass man striving for consciousness, supposed to react when faced with a situation like the above?
From where I sit, I’d say that Sweater Guy pretty much had it right. No matter how much somebody like that is pressing on your last nerve, it really doesn’t pay to respond in like manner. For one, it might escalate the situation beyond a battle of words. Y’all remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, right? Nobody really wants to get bombed, but some idiot might just go nuclear if he feels backed into a corner.
Plus, if a cat is proud enough of his immaturity to be actin’ a damn fool in public like that, it stands to reason that he probably has a lot less to lose than you do. Maybe he ain’t scared of going to jail. Maybe he knows his boys are chillin’ on the next block and Big Mook just looooves to jump periwinkle-wearing muphuckas like you. Maybe he’s too much of a punk to swang them thangs and as soon as you beat his ass, he’ll go pop the trunk. Regardless, none of these outcomes are good for you, my urban professional friend with a wife, two kids and a mistress who’s blackmailing him. Unless it’s unavoidable, just don’t do it.
By the way, I practice what I preach. The other day, I was out on a date and I got up from my seat to find someone to take our order. (Already a bad sign.) There were no dividers on the bench, so as I walked away, some dude decides he’s gonna take my seat…despite the fact that he saw me get up and was now sitting right next to my date.
After coming back to the table, the lady asked me if I wanted to stay or leave. I told her that it was entirely up to her, knowing that if she decided to stay, I might find myself on a collision course with Fuckhead Johnson and the Underachievers. I wasn’t about to huff and puff, but dude had made a physical incursion into my space, so he would have to answer for that.
But what do you know? Babygirl just slid me a reassuring smile, elegantly rose from her seat, and elected to bounce. There are a few takeaways from that experience.
First, when someone “tests” you, think of it as a test of discipline and not a test of manhood. My emotions would likely have led to broken glass and maybe broken jaws instead of what turned out to be a really nice evening. Second, having well-grounded people by your side solves like 90% of the equation. If my date was one of those women that wanted a little “thug” in her man, she might have actually encouraged the stupidity. Booooo. Finally, certain contexts just attract knuckleheaded idiots. If you go to spots frequented by assholes, expect shitty situations.
So remember these words the next time some punk tries to flex on you: You owe it to yourself to let it go…unless you know you can beat his ass and get away with it.