There was a guy in our neighborhood that we called “Crazy Ed”. In fact, we put the word “crazy” before a lot of people’s names. But Crazy Ed was really crazy and everyone knew it. In the summer, he would always wear a straw hat with the string pulled up tight under his chin, and when he looked at you, the look in his eyes said he was either looking through you or imagining how to dispose of your body. You know that look? The doorbell’s ringin’ but nobody’s home.
He used to say the rosary really loud in church and would also do the “Stations of the Cross” on his KNEES in the middle of the aisle leading up to the altar. This used to piss my dad off when there was a funeral because they would typically wheel the casket up the center aisle of the church, but when this weirdo was in the middle of the aisle on his knees, it would force them to go up one of the side aisles of the church. My dad didn’t like this and one time he got so pissed off that he told the guys wheeling the casket to run him over! One of the guys who worked for my dad looked at him and said “Uhhh, John you can’t do that.” My dad said, “Hit him with it and he’ll get out of the way.” He was serious too. My dad had a psycho side to him which I can elaborate on later, but in the end, they didn’t run crazy Ed over with the casket, but went up the side aisle.
So my parents and their odd circle of friends went to church a lot back in those days, I think on a daily basis. I couldn’t handle church once a week, let alone every day. Anyway, this one time, my parent’s friend, Betty, who later became my dad’s secretary, was seated next to crazy Ed in church. During mass and at the “sign of peace”, crazy Ed turned to Betty, and instead of saying, “Peace be with you”, he said “You’re the devil”. The funny thing is…she started to cry.
First of all, everyone knew he was crazy, so why the hell would you sit next to him or not move if he sat next to you? And why would you let this nut job upset you? Maybe it was all the permanent solution she had on her hair. She used to get these really kinky perms and wore tons of blue eye shadow. Perms and eye shadow were big back then. I know this because I had my fair share of bad perms, but I still love blue eye shadow. I wonder what would happen if I permed my hair now.
Speaking of perms, here’s something; once when I was about 12, I got a perm and it was really curly and this kid who lived on my street told me I looked like an “N” word. But he didn’t say “N” word…..oh yeah, he said it. I looked like a nigger. But with blonde hair? Beyonce wasn’t even around yet! Isn’t that weird, to call a white person a nigger? What’s weirder is that young white kids today think it’s cool to be called a nigger. But there’s this whole thing about it being okay if there’s an “A” on the end, like “nigga”. Does that make any sense to you? I truly believe that rap music has deeply confused the younger generation about this word. I wish everyone would just stop saying it altogether.
Sadly, there was a lot of racism in my neighborhood. People threw the “N” word around all the time, and we weren’t raised like that. My parents didn’t say that word, but other people did for sure. In fact, I used to get teased about my lips too. Yep, I got called “nigger lips.” I wonder if Angelina Jolie had the same problem? Funny thing is; I hated my lips growing up because I got teased, only to find when I moved to Hollywood that people were paying to get those kinds of lips. I remember being at Barney’s Beanery sitting at the bar, and some woman next to me asking me “Who does your lips?” I was fairly new to LA and really didn’t know what she meant. This was before all of Hollywood was having their lips injected on a regular basis. It’s funny how some of the things you get teased about when you’re young turn out to be a good thing.
So, in the words of James Brown, I’ll say it loud, “I’m black and I’m proud.”
This is the brilliance of Dave Chappelle. I consider this to be one of the smartest and funniest sketches ever.
Have a great weekend Niggaz! (that even felt wrong typing it)