Monday, February 07, 2005

The wood steering wheel and Respect


The wood steering wheel for my 71 Thunderbird. I sold my Merc in December and I picked up a new car, this 71 Thunderbird. This will be the second oldest car I have owned. I had a 67 Plymoth Valient about fifteen years ago, but the Cady is a 72, and most the other cars and bikes have been mid 70s. I have always wanted a car with a wood steering wheel. My dad used to have a 70 Pontiac GTO and it had a wood steering wheel. That wood steering wheel was fire. Fire is a new word I am incorporating into my vocabulary that I picked up from the kids. The new bird, or Bird with a beak, is the second Ford product I have owned. I am really branching out. I am still very interested in getting a Pontiac or a Lincoln. I think I may sell this bird later in the spring and pick up a late 70s Mark series Lincoln or perhaps a Grand Prix. Those are just hot. I need to get a picture up of this T-Bird. It is an interesting looking ride. It looks like an arch villian car. I should be robbing banks now.

Speaking of which, I think Clayton is the worst and most dangerous neighborhood in town. If I use the same logic that many use, this would be very true. I just closed on a loan for a business deal I am working on, and the title company I was collecting my money from went into receivership and is now being investigated for fraud. Great. This is a lot of money. A lot. These dirtbags have stolen far more from me than any sort of petty crime I have been a victim of. Now if I put the same standards in terms of monetary damage, this is thirty times worse than when I got my car stolen out in Kirkwood. Legitimized theft is what these guys do. I am going to get it worked out, but not without a whole lot of bulldog on my end.

I was talkin' with a young fella I know last week, I will call him Cappy, and he was complimenting me on my work with the kids. Yeah yeah, it is good. They are good kids and it is not that hard. Then he started going an odd direction. Then moves his head to the left and right to look over his shoulders "I mean, you know with black kids it is either they are going to become good or they are going to be bad."

I don't respond.

"It is great what you do with the kids, but often the black kids don't show respect. It is like the military. You either have good black guys, or bad black guys. If the military still gave out discipline it would be good for all of them."

I still don't respond. I want to listen.

"You still have them at an age where they can become good."

I don't say anything. These kids are not exactly on the road to hell. They are very smart. They just need a few of the right opportunities, exposed to good people, and a few good nudges and proper backing and they wil be fine. But it is not like they are just one thing or another. I wonder if Cappy knows a lot of kids.

"My wife, it is not like she was mugged by an Irish guy twice."

No response. I can only think to myself about how I have just been robbed. I can guarantee it wasn't a black guy. And then I think about the old "good n" and "bad n" terms. I would rather hear it from the guy. What classic statements. These are kids. Is Cappy a good white guy, or a bad white guy? Is it that simple? What makes someone good?

I remember one half time coach coming in the first night a jumping the kids for nothing when he came in. Sort of like a drill sargeant on the first day, but he was entering a class of experienced soldiers. He was being old school I guess. The kids show me mad respect. I earned it. They also tease me too, and I tease them. They say "Steve, your breath is triflin'!" And we all laugh. I say to one kid in particular "I can't understand a thing you said, you sound like a squeaky mouse!" And we all laugh.

I show them the same respect, but I also very much know they are kids too and show them the proper respect that one should give kids. I don't kid myself either. I don't have any false visions of kids. That half time coach hasn't won any respect from the kids, and after the way he treated them, I don't demand that the kids treat him with any more respect than is proper for an adult. The half time coach will have to earn the respect that a coach has. The half time coach hasn't been back.

Respect is a two way street.

I need to write a bit about some fella from west county who was trying to get his "woman" out of the Spinks fight and nearly started a brawl for he was feeling uncomfortable. Geez.

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