Yes, it’s my birthday, and yes, I’m celebrating the way any fun-loving, still actively social middle age man would – by eating Kettle Cooked potato chips, drinking Kool-Aid and watching “The Fugitive” at 2:30 in the morning.
Life is good.
34% implies that I plan to live to 100 – which I think is a pretty good goal, and not a morbid one, since most don’t make it to that milestone in health. I know I’m supposed to be nearing 40, which is the new 30, or something like that, and having some trepidation. I feel none of that. Just glad to have made it one year longer than Jesus did in His earthly time. Some may have wanted to crucify me before now and failed….and being a survivor is reward and gift enough.
Moving on, I just watched the debut of the mixed martial arts genre of fighting on CBS. For those not aware, Kimbo Slice is a homeless street fighter – turned – internet sensation, who now is considered the second coming of Mike Tyson. He is a hulk of a man, with a long bushy Middle Eastern type beard, a surprisingly soft spoken manner, but eyes and countenance of a caged animal when fighting. He barely beat the fellow he fought, a British man with more true fighting experience who used wrestling moves to tire out the older, brawling mauler from the streets of Miami. I was entranced and disgusted all at once. Yes, my son and I admired the fighting moves, the quick knockouts where the eyes of the opponent roll back and the knees turn to wet noodle. Of course, men of all times have been fighters – this is not a paean to non-violence or an attempt to de-cry the efforts of a man to use his one skill to escape poverty or to gain fame and notoriety. I’ve always admired Joe Louis, Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roy Jones, Jr., and other great pugilists.
What I found disturbing was the image of a black man as beast, the way the camera almost “king konged” his chest and face, the screaming of fans praying for the big black man to beat down the big white man for their entertainment. I know we surely have progressed from the days of the Great White Hope and the image of a Joe Johnson as a threat to decent society back in the early days of boxing. But something is still ingrained in our culture when it comes to African Americans and our violent outbursts. Would Kimbo Slice be celebrated if he hadn’t had the poverty stricken streets of Overtown to fall into fighting for money? I mean, take this fight from the TV and lights of Vegas to the school yard, and you have the Jena 6 or the LA riots on your hands. And isn’t the world that tolerates the conditions of gang violence and glorification of “thug life” simply patting itself on the back when a Kimbo emerges as a “great story”? I mean, why does the commentator of the fight need to remind us that Mr. Slice had to find anywhere he could to relieve himself while he was homeless? Is that really necessary, or does it reinforce the point that we can’t fathom that millions of people both in the US and else where live that transient life everyday?
Perhaps again, one example does not a movement make. But I hope Mr. Slice one day goes back to Overtown with his six figure boxing prizes, take off his gloves, and teaches a young black man to beat up the system that nearly claimed his own life – to become a champion over more than physical opponents, but over the mentality of “biggest boss”, “flossing”, and “stacks of cheddar”. To be able to overcome the stereotype that makes you successful is true independent success.
Time to sleep my three hours before my official birthday – and I must take a minute to thank my parents for not giving up either three hours before my birth, or the 34 years hence. Hopefully I’ve not been a disappointment. 🙂 Thanks to all that have made my life so rich through their interaction with me. If I named you all, I would have to change the blog’s name to “Long List Daddy”. Much love to all of you nonetheless.
Looking unto the Hills,