You know, I thought to change the title of this post to something more politically correct. Like, “I Almost Had To Punch A Teenager In The Throat At The Library.” It didn’t have the same ring to it, though, and it’s not all that politically correct anyway. So I changed it back. Well, I added an asterisk. That’s as respectful as I am willing to be.
Now gather ’round, children, Michael’s got a story to share.
Lately I’ve been having trouble focusing, and given my bills have no time for fake ones, I’ve resorted to venturing out to the library lately to knock out some work. Yes, libraries still exist, and no, I didn’t realize they did either until about four weeks ago. Yo, their download speeds are awesome. I mean, not that I would know of such a thing.
Insert a shout of “2 Chainz” here.
Unfortunately, I had been going to the library nearest me — which is very much in the hood.
Sometimes I go in there and end up really pissed off at your cousins and my race.
Whenever I sit down, I immediately notice some lil’ bad ass Black kids running around like some damn fools. I constantly think to myself, “This is not indoor playground. Take your asses outside and melt for not wanting to read.”
I get that kids need to have fun, but the library isn’t the place for that kind of fun. Is the Reading Rainbow theme no longer the cut it used to be?
And you want to know what makes it worse? The fact that I consistently see Latino kids inside reading books. I may not hear English a whole bunch (no shade, it’s true), but they are in there stepping their educational cookies up.
More recently I’ve seen similar examples from those on the Black hand side of life, yet that other element remains dominant.
Two weeks ago I come in with my laptop and some books clearly intended on working. What do I find? A bunch of kids – some around 10 or 11, some teenagers – gathered around a table with a mini radio blasting.
How long would it take to dig Sally Jesse Raphael up from the 1990s and coerce her into sassing these bad ass kids before sending them to boot camp?
I am listening to this one child – the youngest one, of course – singing about how he’s riding around and getting it. I’m thinking to myself, “You’re going to end up bussing it and not being shit.”
I try to put on my headphones and drown them all out, but of course they’re too damn loud. I hear this same kid talk about when he’s going to get his first tattoo. He says 15 is the magic age and that his mama is perfectly fine with it. I bet.
I’m quite versed in ignorant lil’ fucks who try to do some chump shit to impress their friends. I can tell this child is circling me thinking he’s going to do something. I had to get up and move myself before I stomped out some minor, and as a result, wait outside to fight his parents.
Two weeks later and another person from that band of misfits approached me at my table at the library.
I am usually observant and aware of my surroundings, so I saw that big ass teenager pacing around the library doing everything but finding a book to read.
He approaches my table, grabs a chair, and proceeds to sit down.
I immediately looked at him like “What in the fuck do you want?”
“I-I-I’m sorry to disturb you, you look like you’re busy. B-b-b-but.”
He isn’t slow, just a horrible actor. Damn you Republicans and your slashing of school art department budgets. I also noticed that he was trying to talk in his “professional voice.”
Man. Sit down. Wait. You already are. Stand back up. Have another seat.
Now, I saw his bad ass two weeks ago so I already knew he wasn’t shit. What I saw of him before he came to me didn’t sway that opinion either. Yes, the children are our future and I pray for them, but the kinfolk works a juvenile probation officer. I know a past, present, and future person on papers when I see one.
I saw him look at my iPhone and my Macbook and pull each closer to me.
This big motherfucker doesn’t think I won’t run after him and stomp the living fuck out of him.
And if you’re wondering, he was like 17 in a 22-year-old’s weight class.
He couldn’t lie for shit considering how bad he was stumbling over his words. As soon as he got “to my mama died” I cut him off to say, “I don’t have any money.”
I wish I knew why people bum rush me asking for money all the time.
He looked as if he wanted to swing. So much for his grief. That sum’bitch’s mama ain’t dead, and I hope the thunder that was going on outside rattled the shit out of his heart for fake-killing her. I looked at him like “I will fuck you up if you even dare.”
I have been working very hard to cool my temper. My inbox is constantly cock-blocking those efforts. I don’t need this additional pressure.
Did I mention that I caught him terrorizing some people before he came out to my table? On some teasing shit. Some of the same bullshit I overheard him chirping the weeks prior. It reminded me of way too many people I grew up around. The fact that I was in that same area didn’t help much.
I understand Black teen unemployment rate is sky high, I know a lot of public programs have been slashed so kids don’t have as many places to go as they used to, but motherfucker, if you’re in a damn library, read a book.
Hell, shoot a reality show promo and upload it to YouTube. Do something productive.
I’m writing this post from the Starbucks in a much different era. I think it’s the best for me, and you know, the children.