#MNR: God’s Plan
“You keep waking up every morning, you gon be old one day too.”
Dennis Maull, my OG
“Wu Tang is for the children.”
“The Black man is God.”
Russell Ason Unique Jones
I’m certain that I’ve mentioned this in a prior blog or three, but until recently (within the past five years or so), I never envisioned growing old. I assumed some type of tragedy or me fucking around in the streets would have pulled my mortality card early in life, definitely before I reached 30. I’m from an era and a place where men die young. Some don’t even make it to adulthood. Luckily, Shareon got me out the jungle and transplanted me to the country where – the murder rate was the second highest in AMERICA in 1991. But, through the grace of God, I made it (Hali wasn’t bad at all if you played your position). Fast forward past all the dumb shit I did in my 20s; I’ve spoken on it extensively over the years. I cried the night of my 30th birthday. I cried tears of joy. I cried because I made it to 30. I lost quite a few homies before they reached three decades. There were no tears for my 40th a few years ago (just joy), but there was heavy thanks to the Lord for keeping me amongst the living. My medical condition almost two years ago and subsequent recovery forced me to be even more mindful of the possibility of growing old. Before my brush with death and before I was blessed with Brandi, I really couldn’t say whether I cared if I lived or if I died. Having to lay my mother to rest damn near soured me to the point that making CNN in infamy was a viable ending in my formerly jaded and warped mind. But God delivered me from the murky depths of my think tank. He placed me in an area of mental comfort, allowing me to appreciate every second of life. Nowadays, I ponder growing old quite often. Shit, I’m 43 years of age. Science says my journey is more than 50% complete. Black life says I’m damn near 70% or better. Candidly, I’m cool with that (the 50, not the 70+). I still feel fairly young in spirit. Not 19 young, but a galaxy away from wearing Depends and waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 on the daily. So, after a couple of decades of living my life on the edge, I’m now staring old age in the face. Quite honestly, it’s frightening. But not for the reasons you’re probably thinking.
I am a fervent believer in Christ. I live my life the way a man of God should live, for the most part. I help others whenever I can. I tithe EVERY Sunday. I treat others the way I want to be treated. I know my name is already written in the Book of Life. Death doesn’t scare me. At all. It’s the getting old part that terrifies me. More concisely, it’s the process of getting old and then being old. I was in my barber shop Saturday. I had an 11:30 appointment, but JP asked me to let an older gentleman go ahead of me. I obliged (of course). Not a problem. JP let me know that the cut was a quick job. JP always treats every customer with respect, young to old. This isn’t any type of slight toward my barber of almost 25 years. This is a blunt examination of reality. I know how some of the older gentlemen tend to act in the shop. They’re impatient as fuck; if they’re not immediately up next in the chair they ask a bunch of needless questions and at times begin to pester JP. He knows, as well as I, that it’s nothing nefarious from the old men. It’s just how it is. He grits his teeth, smiles, and begrudgingly obliges the old men as best he can. I’ve always been the type of person that doesn’t want to bother or inconvenience anyone. I damn sure don’t want to be THAT GUY in the barber shop or anywhere else. You know, the type that folk wish was in-and-out ASAP. The type that makes his barber grimace as soon as he enters the shop. I don’t want to take all day walking to and getting in the chair. I don’t want to be the old man in the shop asking my barber 50-11 random questions, most rooted in impatience. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, especially Brandi. Last, I don’t want to be the object of anyone’s pity. I felt sorry for the old man, of how dependent he was of his cane and how slow his steps were. I think that man would have struck me with his cane if he knew how I viewed him. If he’s anything like my grandfathers Dornal Thompson Sr. and AG Warren Sr. were, he’s a proud old man. He’s lived a full and productive life. I’m sure the last thing he would want is to know that I or anyone is looking at him from a standpoint of pity, but I can’t help it. I hate to see anyone who’s alone, and seeing old folk alone especially troubles me. Seeing an old person eating alone in a restaurant ALWAYS hurts my soul. I want to go over and eat with them. I guess it’s in direct correlation to growing old…alone. I’ve spent most of my life alone. My sister died before she got a chance at life. I grew up an only child. I’m blessed to have a queen to grow old with. I pray that old age is kind to us. I can speak for Brandi in saying neither of us want to be a burden to Riyan, Riyel, or anyone else. I just want us to grow old together, gracefully…
Lord knows we’ve lost too many rappers to early deaths. There’s definitely a long list of dearly departed, too many to list in this blog. But there are a few that consistently come to [my] mind: Prodigy, Heavy D., Sean Price, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Ason Unique). I really miss those gentlemen. I came up listening to all four. It is no coincidence that ODB has been on my mind, as the second season of Wu Tang: An American Saga is in full swing. Now, before you treat me like sliced bread and assume that I don’t know that the show embellishes from time to time, please know that I do [dickhead]. I don’t think that Ason took a cocked sawed-off shotgun out of a man’s hands, just before that man would have turned Dirty’s dome into a thousand-piece puzzle on the streets of Brooklyn. I’m not slow. I’m not focusing on particular moments from the show. We already know that a lot of the shit we’ve seen thus far never took place. But the one thing we are consistently seeing that we know to be true is the portrayal of character traits amongst the various members of the Clan. When it comes to Dirty IRL, we were blessed with years of unforgettable moments, from his legendary limo ride to cash his welfare check to the insanity that was Mariah’s “Fantasy” video shoot (lmfao) to that one particular night he temporarily shut the Grammys down (again, lmfao). Ason was truly unique. I love the way his character is portrayed. TJ Atoms has the spirit of ODB down pact. I take a nostalgic trip down memory lane every Wednesday night. Dirty was not the cliched “one of a kind.” He was truly one of a kind, which is the definition of unique. I miss you Ason. I’ve been banging Return to the 36 Chambers all week.
Autumn is here, in full effect. It’s dark AF around 19:00. I love it. It’s my favorite time of year (I’m an equinox type of guy). This is the time for hoodies and pullovers and light jackets. Tims are coming out of the closet. It’s the time of year when you can best show the versatility of your wardrobe. It’s the time of year when damn near every sport is in full swing. I love it. But it’s also close to election time. As a retired street nigga, I can attest that this is also the trickiest time of year. I lived about four consecutive nervous autumns. With elections only a month away, incumbent politicians are trying to drive points home and look good to prospective voters. That means there will be increased police presence and activity. Expect a few indictments to touch down in a hood near you. For all my young niggas in the streets – be especially careful. Both New York and New Jersey gubernatorial elections are in a month. NYC has a mayoral election. Expect the streets to get especially messy. This is the time when I tell you that I hope that I’m wrong. I am. But I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve seen and lived it. Stay dangerous young niggas. Keep all three eyes wide open.
Enjoy every day of your life. Only puff what’s right; leave the poison alone. Drink plenty of water. Stay the fuck up out those cop cars. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good and merciful. Build. Never destroy, unless the time calls for it. I love y’all. Until next Monday…
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