MNR: SOMBER THOUGHTS/BETTER DAYS
“You gotta take the time to thank God you made it.”
Some days are better than others, but every day spent above ground is a blessing. I’m usually reticent and taciturn when it comes to speaking on my issues because I realize that everyone has a laundry list of their own. Please forgive me for the blog’s delay, but I had a medical procedure yesterday that had my mind in a labyrinth all week. I lacked the concentration necessary to lock in and prepare a blog. I’m pleased to report that the results were favorable. God is the greatest. Now, let’s get to it.
Once upon a time I was so ignorant that I ignored my health because I was convinced that I couldn’t afford to pay for it. In retrospect, I was damn near right. Healthcare is expensive AF (even with most insurance), but your health is priceless. I’d much rather pay down on a medical bill than miss a diagnosis and be terminal when I find out about my condition, learning that early diagnosis would have saved my life. I have a good friend who lost his father because he refused to go to the doctor. For years I felt the same. I was a macho Negro male. I was too hard to go to the doctor. Then I got public school health benefits. I went to the doctor often. I even saw a cardiologist and a podiatrist (the agony of the feet). Then my position was outsourced. No more benefits. I felt betrayed by my employer, and out of defiance and self-pity, I used the excuse that I couldn’t afford Obamacare to avoid going to the doctor. My lapse in judgment almost killed me. Never again. If you’re like the old me, please take your stubborn ass to the doctor. It’s a matter of life and death. Take it from your fly-ness.
“And just cool out – cool out and listen to her.”
“Iz Us” by Aphex Twins is my throwback song of the week. Retro electronic music can be quite relaxing in times of peril.
I’ve heard a few Nas/Olu Dara (Nas’ dad, a blues artist) stories over the past quarter century. My favorite will always be the “Life’s a Bitch” story. Olu played the trumpet toward the end of the classic track. Pop asked his son what he wanted him to accomplish on the track. His son told him to play something that reminded him of when his two boys were kids. Olu Dara’s trumpet notes still captivate my imagination to this very day. My most fond memories in life are the times that Shareon and I spent together out and about in the streets of New York, away from the abuse and tyranny of Tyrone. That’s why ‘80s R&B (the WBLS era, as I call it) will always be the greatest to me. After that it’s the soundtrack to my high school and university eras – Nas, Mobb, the BIG fella, Mary J., Faith, SWV, Jodeci, etc. After that is anything that serves as the catalyst for escapism.
“All you see – is crime in the city.”
I had an interesting conversation with my Uber driver earlier, an African brother a bit younger than I. He outlined three distinct problems that America faces: college tuition debt, lack of universal healthcare, and gun violence. The first two are harrowing, to say the least. But irrespective of who’s talking, gun violence is usually at the top of everyone’s list. We are being bombarded by two types of gun violence: urban warfare and mass shootings. Guns are seemingly easier to access than an abortion these days. Nowadays a gun can be made from a kit or 3-D printer (ghost guns). They aren’t traceable. Naturally, this already exacerbates an ongoing crisis. There are more guns in the hands of criminals than ever before. New York City reminds me daily of the perils of inner-city gun violence. The South Bronx is a war zone. So is Chicago. Both are trailing Philly. In essence, it doesn’t matter what the city in question is. Damn near every big city in America is being overwhelmed by gun violence. My cousin in #BXNYC expressed her anxiety to me the other day. She has a 20-year-old daughter and a twelve-year-old son. It’s sad that she has to worry about whether or not her babies will make it home safely each day. Her anxiety extends to places where fear shouldn’t even come into play. She can’t even enjoy a trip to the mall without utter fear that MF may start shooting out of nowhere. Shit, suburban ass Bergen County felt the sting of a mall shooting recently. It damn near makes people not want to go out in public and enjoy themselves, which is a tragedy within itself. This wasn’t even a concern a generation ago. Times have changed.
Mass shootings are so common nowadays that no one even pays attention unless it’s a deranged MF shooting up a school or targeting people by race. I said it before on a #MNR blog. It’s to the point that we don’t even bat an eye until it directly hits home. America continues to beg congress to enact change and congress continues to turn its back. Like the brother driving the Uber said – there’s so much money going into the pockets of politicians that they’ll never acquiesce and pass tough legislation. With that being said, this will never end. All we can do is pray for the best. I’m like Styles P. I’m still talmbout we gon make it, but I pity the odds.
I didn’t have any new hot or pressing topics to speak about this week. I’m usually impervious to the usual fuckery that exists, but shit hit home a bit more amidst me thinking about my own vitality. I think about the little ones, from Rhino to Zari to Ace to Chayse to Phy to Wookie and I pray that they all get the opportunity to live long and strong. I pray that none of them face what too many of their peers in America face these days. All I can do is watch and pray. May God bring better days.
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