The going thought is that school sucks. A pretty popular thought, really. I can understand why it would be, if you were a social outcast, too popular for no fucking reason, or too nerdy to interact with anyone. Me personally, I don’t fuck with anyone and I don’t let anyone fuck with me.
We’re not deep in the hood, but we’re deep enough where the hood cats come to our school before they flunk out and go back to the streets to do whatever in the hell they do. A lot of the kids have parents at work most of the time and who still seem to give a shit. A couple of em wanna go to college. A few wanna work on cars, some wanna be nurses...just a big difference in what everyone wants to do and what they think they can do.
Teacher-wise, they care...and they don’t. I’m sure they go back to their houses wherever they are and pop them a drink and forget all about us. While they’re here, though, some seem interested, some seem scared, and I have no idea why. We’re not in the hood, and we don’t have a lot of hood problems, but maybe our rep is bad in the teachers’ lounge. I dunno.
Me and B went through the usual first week of school stuff; the reunions, catching up on gossip. This chick got a scholarship to college, two others got pregnant. One dude got killed, seven joined this or that gang. Quite a few kids’ folks lost their job and had to go one welfare, a couple kids’ parents got promoted or something and moved out of the hood. You know, shit like that.
What I enjoyed most about school, besides the girls who, when we left em in June, come back in September with fat asses and mommy-bags. I loved to talk shit with the fellas who thought they knew something. I used to look up to some of these dudes, now I was becoming the man. Of course, not playing ball or being exactly that popular didn’t make me the muthafucking Man, but, in the circles I moved in, I thought people were cool with me, and that’s all I needed.
Luckily, my clique wasn’t all about keeping it real, as I was viewed as a sellout nigga by more than one group of kids, usually the wannabes. I didn't bust gats, didn't bang bitches (although I really, really wanted to), and didn’t start shit for no reason. I read comic books. I listened to rap, but listened to the R&B shit that got women hot (and actually LIKED some of it). I wrote shit down. Actually, that’s what prevented me from getting jumped by the wannabes; I’d fucking DESTROY them in a battle. They couldn’t get beyond the usual pitch-bitch-switch-rich rhyme structure, which amused me. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to read? I didn’t want to read Shakespeare or that old dead white dude shit more than anyone else, but everyone acted as if it was surprising we read fucking ANYTHING thicker than a XXL or King magazine. Hell, no one READS them shits, especially King. The womenfolks in there makes it like a black man’s Playboy, without the articles. And I read Playboy for the articles, on the real.
But I’d read, and look words up, and figure out what they mean. It wasn’t that big a deal to me, but a lot of dudes gave me shit about doing that. I didn’t get it. Why not learn some shit? Mom and Pops, when they were around, encouraged me to get my learn on. I ain’t the smartest dude around, but damn. SOme of these dudes are just fucking stupid.
I’ve met some smart bangers - smart as they can be, considering the career choices they’ve made - and they’ve been cool with me and how I get down. In case I do an album, I have two or three artists lined up to do the cover, a couple people nice with the beats, and maybe one or two guests who don’t sound like gangsta rap clones. Who knows, I might need their kind of help one day. Mom loves to recollect the story in the Bible of when Jesus was hanging with the hoes, the thieves, all the bad muthafuckas, because he didn’t see them as less than anyone else. They were still people, and I think Mom is a realist about what me and Ang and B and my other friends see out here while she’s at work.
But what kills me about this is that the folks in charge, the teachers, the administration, all the big-time adults, act like it’s such a big deal when someone is reading, or gets a scholarship, or wins some award, like its really amazing. Now, if one of these wannabe bangers won some shit, I say we should have a fucking parade, dumb as these fucks act, but most of the rest of us is doing our thing. SOme get caught up in bullshit, some just sink to the bottom; that’s just the way shit goes. But it almost seems like they’re expecting all of us to fuck up, you know? Then, a couple “get away” and manage to do some good shit, and every adult breathes a sigh of relief.
Speaking of a sigh of relief, I have one at lunch the first week of school when I notice a commotion at the entrance to the lunchroom. B, who had been running his yap, notices first and actually stands on the table to see across the cavernous assembly hall/lunchroom. There are people pushing and shoving and pointing and laughing, and I can’t see without getting up on a table myself, but, as I told B later, I have home training, which gets me a pop in my shoulder and a fuck you. B says that she was like a pulling guard, a large object that had been urged to move by some force and couldn’t stop without plowing a few people underfoot. That large object plowed through the mass of humanity and rolled to a stop at our table.
“WHAT!” Christine Hughes bellowed, and smiled at me.