San Francisco Days

Colin Kapernick

Sadly, I think that the whole Colin Kaepernick saga is very indicative of the overall status of race relations and police culture in our society. It is, I am sad to say, a large indication that we’re moving backwards at an alarming rate.

Look, I don’t know all that much about this kid, but it’s obvious that of late he has come around to stay woke. And that’s his prerogative. I’m not judging him. I think there are more constructive things he can do to fix issues, but let’s not dismiss that he’s getting people talking. The problem, of course, is how different sides are seeing this. Unsurprisingly, a lot of white people are againnit. Some woman went on a whole diatribe about how Kaepernick’s protest is killing our troops or something (honestly, my eyes glazed over before I finished reading this. But still). But then again, a lot of white people think if black people just kept their heads down, everything will be just peachy, right? Well, we know that’s not the case.

Even scarier is the way that the police have reacted to the whole thing. Did you hear that the Santa Clara Police union has threatened to boycott their job of security at the 49ers stadium because of this? Can we talk about fucked up? Of everything, this is the clearest example of the problem.

Police have always viewed themselves at something of an elite level. That’s not entirely unearned. We’re talking about people who voluntarily go into the face of danger to keep the rest of us safe. This is not under dispute, nor does anyone have an issue with this, I think. The issue is that the police also act like they’re more infallible than the Pope. Plus, after 9/11, we are supposed to elevate police to some super human elite status of hero worship. The side effect of this is that cops start to think and act like they’re super men and above the law. It’s a bad fucking mix. Kill some black kid in the hood? It’s OK, we’re the motherfucking police. That fucker deserved it. Who is going to say or do anything? Oh, and those Black Lives Matter people? They’re just inciting violence against us. It’s no wonder we’re in a virtual powder keg that might go off at any moment.

So back to Mr. Football Player. He may make a lot of money, but I’m sure he still looks around nervously if 5-0 rolls by. And maybe he was oblivious for a long time. But then maybe you wake up and see the world around you in a different light. And good for him on that.  It’s too bad that he even needs to do this, and that so many people are still so aghast about it all. Maybe, just maybe, we will have a day when this isn’t the case.

My Baby You

lizzy

So a funny thing happened on the way to my life last year. I became a father. That’s my daughter in the picture up there. As of this writing, she is 10 months old, and it’s hard to believe she’s gotten so big so fast. That’s cliche, I’m sure, but so is most everything else you hear about becoming a father. Except, it’s all so true.

Like, that deer in the headlights dazed and confused feeling that you get when your significant other tells you that she’s pregnant? Yup, that happened to me. I don’t even entirely remember the sequence of events when Nadine told me. It’s kind of a blur. There was a lot of shock, and even some awe. It took a while to get my head wrapped around the idea, especially because it was not expected. We were not trying to have a kid. It just kind of happened.

Then there is the requisite freakout when the baby is born. Yup, it happened to me too. I really am just a cliche machine.

You know that whole cliche thing about how you can fall totally in love with your baby just looking at them? That’s so true it’s almost sickening. From the moment I first looked at her, and held her, it was game over for me. Understand, I can be a sardonic, misanthropic asshole in this world, but this little girl melts my heart in ways I didn’t think possible. The way her face lights up when she sees me come into a room, or after she’s just woken up, is almost indescribable. Seriously, I did not know it was possible to love someone that much. That’s cliche too, but so true it hurts.

Anyway, I’m going to stop before I get all verklpempt, but when you think about it, sometimes the most cliche things in life turn out to be the most true. Who knew.

Aside time: I almost titled this post “With Arms Wide Open”, because it is a song all about finding out that you’re going to be a father. This is what having a kid does to you. You’ll take the scorn and ridicule of going with a Creed song because the stupid lyrics match up with your feelings a little too well. But, can we talk about Creed? Can we talk about how amazing of a run they had from 1997 to early 2001? Can we talk about how every goddamn song from their second album made it onto K-Rock in 2000? That’s absurd! Now Scott Stapp is just a punchline. Proof that fame is fleeting, I guess.

The Rising

Tribute In Lights

I wrote this three years ago for an earlier version of D6. I don’t think I could ever sum this up as eloquently as I did then. This is still one of the pieces of writing I’m most proud of.

I was sound asleep. I was a 20 year old college student on that Tuesday morning, still living at home. I didn’t have class until that afternoon. I didn’t work that day. So I was in bed like a normal 20 year old college kid. I remember being woken up because I heard my mother in the house. She was crying. To this day, I will never forget coming downstairs, asking her what was wrong, and the total feeling of disbelief that engulfed me when she told me what happened. I remember the surreal feeling that set in the rest of the day just watching TV as a rescue operation turned into a salvage operation turned into a smoldering, smoking wound in the heart of our city. After that Tuesday, I will always understand what people mean when they say they always remember exactly where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed or John F. Kennedy was shot.

I’d only been to the World Trade Center once, way back in 1997, with my grandparents and my uncle. I remember going on the roof and how you could see so far out to everywhere. I think I took a whole roll’s worth of pictures that day. I wish I knew where they are today. That view was utterly breathtaking.

There’s a point when you’re driving up Rt 1-9 northbound between Woodbridge and Rahway, just when you cross over the NJ Coast railroad tracks where, on a clear day, you could always see the twin towers standing tall over the NYC skyline. I always remember that from driving through there growing up with my family, and later with just myself. After the attacks, that view was… empty, devoid of its centerpiece. It sat like that for years. Tonight, as we were driving home over that very same stretch of road, we could see the annual tribute in lights shining into the night’s sky, right next to the gleaming phoenix of the new 1WTC tower, finally rising defiantly to reclaim the southern Manhattan sky.

Photo Credit: quintanomedia on Flickr with a CC by 2.0 license.