Monday, January 4, 2010
Bingo-Long Ago, And The Not So Long Ago, All-Star
The All-Stars were there, but it wasn't legal. I was there, but I wasn't one of the All-Stars. I was a 12 years old boy who's father thought he was at the local baseball park. Not me, I was in the neighborhood movie house that doubled as a bingo parlor. It was an old rat infested movie theater. The old Jew that ran the joint said the old building, once was, the jewel of the city, but I never could find a single soul that ever saw it in that condition. Nope, it was a left-over piece of a structure. Come on, hand-me-downs has always been our bridge to a brighter day. Smelly toilets aside, it was BINGO BABY.
Bingo night, and there I was standing 20 feet above the crowd. I was important, I was in the front of the audience. I was the Bingo Number boy. Picture a small time version of the movie Harlem Nights, with less glitz and glamour. There I was, Sugar's boy, Carey. Not Eddie Murphy, CareyCarey. I was paying my dues and learning the game. All the pimps and players were present, along with an assortment of working Joe's, winos and ladies of the night. There I was, smack in the middle of the action. Well, actually, I was standing on a pile of old dusty raggedy movie chairs, that formed my stage. That was my perch to do my thang. I was the star, in my own mind... the "Bingo Number Boy".
To some degree, this small job was a gateway to my future crime involvement. I loved everything about the excitement and the suspense of living just outside the law. Bingo was not legal in those days, certainly not for money, and although I was just the numbers boy, I played a larger role -- a secret role -- in the nights proceedings. Prizes and money were awarded to the lucky bingo winners, but luck had nothing to do with who would win, nor, what prizes they would receive. I had a hand in that mischief.
But this post is not about me. It's about a 61 year old man that had never been to a multiplex Cinema. Amplified surround sound and 3D special affects had not been part of his world. For years, he had been lost in a world of drug addiction. I accompanied this man and another friend to see the movie Sherlock Holmes. His description of the last movie house that he could remember, was exactly as the one I attended as the bingo boy, a melting pot of all things wrong.
The Two Thousand Nine Calender Blocks The Real View:
Many people are lamenting about the year gone by. They can be heard discussing their mistakes of the year that has long gone. In doing so, it's possible they are playing a game of Pigeon Drop or 3 card Monte. The Pigeon Drop is a con game in which the unsuspecting mark thinks they are holding a wallet or a bag full of money, only to discover they are actually holding a bag full of empty dreams.
The practitioner of the 3 Card Monte, tells his suckers to keep their eyes on the payoff card, while he masterfully manipulates that card away from their focus.
In both examples, although this seemingly impossible parallax, confused and astonished the naive yet well-meaning person, they again tried to change the impossible, because they just didn't know any better.
2010 may be a new year, but for many, it's been a long life. It's my belief that if the focus is merely on the mistakes of last year, it's a good chance that history will repeat itself. If I am going to be honest to myself and others, I've found a valuable tool in looking for the deeper issues of my problems. The least of which will be found in last years garbage. Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying we shouldn't look back, but for many, while looking back, they shouldn't stop at the one year mark. Besides, what fool said January 1st is the dividing line, and why did we follow him? Isn't a life filled with thousand's of days? Have we been hoodwinked into thinking we should or could start over on the first of January. That's some Pigeon Drop type shit. Sounds like commercialism to me. I've never liked being pimp slapped.
That old man told me he has never celebrated New Years. He said it was foolish to celebrate the passing of a year when his life's downward spiral didn't start the year before. Nor, in the past, had he made any real commitments/convictions of the years to come.
As I sat listening to this man, he didn't have to mention his new found joy, it was written all over his face. His words exuded gratefulness. I am reminded of the scripture... "The race is not given to the swift, but to those that can endure until the end"
For all of us, the end is closer than the beginning. If I am to believe that I have less time left on this earth than I've already used, which is highly possible, maybe my focus should be based in reality. That focus should not be on last years calender. Maybe I should move away from my shell game. Trying to find the evasive and elusive Black Star, could be an act of futility - a con game. Who's the dealer and who's the mark?
How much time until my end? How much time until your end? Say it right! Say it like Dr King said it... "NOT LONG"... How long? "NOT LONG!"
I know the final years of my life could be filled with loneliness and lost dreams. My physical ability to move around will be lessened. That's a basic fact for all humans. So it's incumbent upon me to say "What About A Time Called Now?"
Yesterday that older gentlemen went to Chicago to visit his daughter, a daughter he has not seen in 10 years. He plans on asking for forgiveness and talking about tomorrow, not 2009.