From 1973 through the year of 2001, I lived life as if there was an expiration date on my ass beside the tattoo that reads in calligraphy "Exit only". I come from a loving two parent home in the suburbs, grew up on a healthy diet of everything from Run D.M.C to John Cougar Mellencamp, I even rode a skateboard for Christs sake! - but some of my violent tendencies have mistakenly led people to believe that my childhood residence happened to be "666 Hardship Boulevard" with no male figure in my life, where I spent my spare time getting beaten with tire iron's from my mother's alcoholic boyfriends. My sister sometimes jokes around with my mother and claims that I'm crazier than cat-shit because of her drinking too much wine while she was pregnant with me, or my behavior is a result of a very scary tumble that I took down a flight of cement stairs when I was a small child - but quiet as kept, I think there is some truth beneath her playful jabs at her baby brother. I mean, I come from a city that makes your average ghetto seem like Beirut - how do you explain me attempting to fight a man that I knew before-hand had a gun on his person, back-handing him into oblivion while saying "Pull out your gun you Charles Bronson, come on!!!" As far as I know my family doesn't have a history of mental illness, I'm not counting that one time that my old man requested that I buy him that fucking "Who let the dogs loose?" record either - but to this day I couldn't tell you what compelled me to drive one of my friend's old cars into the lake to see whether I could escape a submerged car or not. From fighting three bikers at a bar as if they were the ones who were over-matched, beating this asshole named A.J senseless in his own residence for disrespecting my girl in front of a few of his roommates.. My life is littered with tales of retarded machismo like that, episodes that should have prompted my mother to wear her best black dress as some Jesus pimp that never fucking met me hurls complimentary sentiments towards my corpse.
Around 2000 I was beginning to think that I was indeed nuttier than squirrel turds, even I knew that continuously risking my life unnecessarily wasn't in the least bit normal - besides, outside of Mike Tyson, who else walks around thinking that they can whup everybody? But there were a couple of incidents, starting in 2001 with the death of my father, that made me face my own mortality and stop taking life for granted.
The Death of My Father: It was January of 2001 and I found myself in my father's hospital room, looking at what seemed as only a skeletal resemblance of my old man - the cancer ravaging his body to the point that I could lift him over my if I wanted to, I couldn't say the same thing three years prior when he was somewhere north of 270 pounds. Even though our relationship was horrible, I feel comfortable saying that 75% of the words exchanged between us were argumentative in nature - there I was clutching my father's trembling hand, smiling to comfort the old man on what I thought might have been his final moments on this earth. I'm ashamed to admit this but even at that very moment I found the irony of him acting as if I was the prodigal son finally returning home, despite how often he told me that I'd never be shit - a thought that made me feel shame and immediately attempt to think of something else. What made me become aware of my own mortality had nothing to do with a man I thought could catch bullets when I was a kid rapidly wither away, it wasn't even the instance that I realized that he had submitted to cancer when he chuckled and said "I won't be here that long!" after I talked to him about an upcoming Super-Bowl - it had everything to do with those God-Damned prayer cards.
See, the one thing that my father and I shared was a healthy disdain for religion - we believed in god so to speak, but anything church-related we were vocally skeptical about the same way you might be about a local magician or some shit. I'll tell you, when he knew that the Grim Reaper was knocking with all his might, and he had me reading those fucking prayer card to him as if doing so would guarantee his jhoureny to th great beyond - that absolutely broke my heart man, and it abruptly put my own mortality into perspective.
The Passing of Buddy: My best friend Buddy was gunned down in a nightclub 3 years ago and I've been conflicted about his passing ever since - see, I was supposed to be there with him, so a part of me thinks that I could have stopped it and then there's the reality of me being there and being snatched out of my mortal coil right alongside Buddy. I don't have many friends, truthfully I'm not particularly a big fan of people - but Buddy was not only a guy who consistently had my back regardless of the situation, but I could talk to him about some girl breaking my heart and not feeling the need to embarrassingly preface it with "I know this is going to sound gay, but.." Besides Buddy was a lot crazier than I am, throwing make-shift Molotov cocktails inside of a drug dealers house once, dragging motherfuckers out of their houses as if it was an Olympic sport - I can't tell you how many times I had already resolved an argument at a club only for Buddy to come along and break a chair over the dude's head while quoting Ice Cube: "Some people are heaven-sent, but 'Self-Destruction' don't pay the fucking rent!!"
I miss that dude, and now I find most of the good times that we had together edged out by the memory of his funeral - me trying to indiscreetly scratch my crotch in a monkey suit, his inconsolable parents, pews amongst pews of black folks reciting bible verses that I didn't know and was too distraught to utter anyways. But the one thing that hit me most of all was the closed casket via the execution style murder that he was in the business end of - I knew that I had enough enemies for me to go out the exactly same way.