Almost Infamous - Views from a Black Intelligentleman

Observations on a Monday Eve

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These are just some random musings and observations I've had over the last few days. Some people call it train of thought or stream of consciousness; I call it what it is: mind spew, brain drippings, mental rambling from a somewhat insane man. Enjoy! Observation #1: Horse racing is cool as hell. Went to Lone Star Park in Grand Prarie over the weekend to check out the horseraces. I had never been to a horse race before, and truthfully, I didn't give a damn about going this time either. But it was Dollar Day at the park, and anyone who knows me knows I can't resist a deal. Hell, I'd buy fresh air if it was on sale that day. I once bought a Pioneer 6 cassette changer because it was on sale. You read that correctly. Not a CD changer, a cassette changer. In 1991. Me am smart. Anyway, so we roll out there, with me fully expecting to hate it and be the only chocolate chip in the cookie (translation: I'd be the only person of my complexion there. Yes, it's something black people consider when deciding to go somewhere that is presumably predominately caucasian. White churches are fine, for example; a NASCAR race after dark, however, is a strict no-no.) I was pleasantly surprised - first by not getting lynched immediately, and second by the sheer number of people there, brothas included. The place was jumpin'! Thousands of people had gathered to throw hard-earned money away on equestrian feats of speed. There were activities for kids, cheap beer and hot dogs, a mediocre-but-nice-enough cover band playing (they completely butchered Kelly Clarkson. She should sue for defamation of cover song), and lots of legal gambling. The gambling is the thing. See, I had never gambled before that day. I know I have an addictive personality. If I like something, I really like something, and I want more more more more more of it. With gambling, I was never afraid of losing - I was afraid of winning. Winning would make me like it, and make me wanna gamble till all I had left was my left shoe and my boxer-briefs, and the briefs would be completely negotiable. So, I avoided it. No Vegas, no Atlantic City, no sporting events (the NCAA basketball tournament hardly counts as "gambling". It's more like "wishful thinking" or "hahahaha, dumbass!"). But on Saturday, the bug bit me. I had to gamble. I HAD to. And I did. No worries, there's no dramatic ending to this. I bet roughly $50, and won about $32. Not too shabby for the first time. There will be a second time. The people outside watching the races were your normal, average folks who liked to convene with nature and their fellow man, all while drinking $1 beer and basically burning their paychecks. However, there's a whole 'nother class of people that stay inside. These people frightened me. Rather than go to where the actual race was being run, they watched it all on their own personal video monitors. They didn't look up; they ate where they sat; they didn't communicate with each other in any way outside of gutteral grunts and the occasional raised eyebrow. The outside folks were sunny...the insiders were smoky. The Outsiders laughed...the Insiders dropped grilled chicken sandwich crumbs on their newspapers while they watched 3 races simultaneously. The Outsiders said "Aw, shucks" if they didn't win...the Insiders looked like they would cut you for $10 and your Seiko watch if they didn't win. I came to fear and loathe these naked mole rats. They were the professionals. My amateur ass was just happy to be there. I called my best friend Duke on the celly and had this exchange: Me: "Duke, I'm at the horse track, man!" Duke: "Say what?" Me: "The HORSE TRACK! Man, you got to do this sometime! I'm all about it!" (Pause) Duke: "You're still black, right?" Me: "Man, quit playin'. I'm here, I'm betting, and I'm winning!" Duke: "You know, I haven't tried that before..." (Sound of crowd going crazy as the horses run past) Duke: "When I come out there, we're doing that. For real." Duke is my boy. Observation #2: It's never good to have your home town featured on "City Confidential". Late Saturday evening I was up, watching the TV and debating on whether to watch "She Spies" or play "Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction" on the PS2. Don't front - those chicks on "She Spies" are the hottest damn ex-cons ever thought up in a Hollywood meeting. They should be awarded the Medal of Honor. As I was making my final sweep through the channels, I paused to see what was on "City Confidential". This show is on A&E, and basically it discusses a crime (typically a murder) and shows how the entire town is affected by it. And you guessed it: Saturday night's show was about my hometown, a small town in South Carolina. Seems that this guy I knew in high school decided it was a great idea to rape, murder, and mutilate a girl we went to high school with. Nice. Needless to say, this story freaked me the fuck out. Were it not nearly 1am, I would've called everyone I knew from my home town and told them to turn on A&E. Those who didn't have cable would've been told to go pirate it from a neighbor. My hometown isn't big. It basically sits in the armpit of Myrtle Beach, a bustling resort town that I've grown to dislike more than Ryan Seacrest. Drugs are a huge problem on the Beach, a problem that's as old as the resort town itself. Conway has its share of troubles too - I once watched the Ku Klux Klan marching in a parade, in full sheets and hoods, in broad daylight, right down Main Street - but this type of thing is very unusual. Prior to this, the biggest thing that had happened there was a race riot due to my cousin Carlos, an All-America candidate, getting demoted to 2nd string QB so that the coach's son (of obvious lesser athletic ability) could be the starter. The whole town fractured. My father (R.I.P.) was among the leaders of the black faction. It was a total mess. We made Sports Illustrated. This thing, though, just freaked me. Seeing my town, my mom's personal attorney, this guy I knew in high school, hearing the details of his horrible was a bit much. But hey, for the town, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Right? Right? Peace.


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