“I can’t find it.”
“Can’t find what?”
“Damn son of a bitch, my shit’s missing.”
“Don’t start this shit, Ron. It’s time to go.”
“My eye patch. Where the hell is my eye patch?”
“What eye patch, Ron?”
“My eye patch, mother fucker. I had an eye patch with my shit. Now it’s gone.”
“Ron, everything you came in with is in this bag, so cut the shit.”
“Not my eye patch. The shit’s not here.”
“Why the hell do you have an eye patch for?”
“Cause I do.”
“Come on, Ron, it’s time to go. You’ve been here all night, we’ve let you sleep, now you have to go. Stop stalling.”
“I ain’t stalling, I want my patch. Hell, you probably stole my shit.”
“Me? Me? Ron, I have two functioning eyes. Why the hell would I steal an eye patch?”
“Cause you’re a dirty, no good thief.”
“Ron, you have two functioning eyes, so why the hell do you have an eye patch anyway?”
“Cause I do, asshole. Now give it here and I’ll be on my way.”
“Alright, Ron. Enough. Get out, or I’ll call security to get you out.”
“You’re one rotten mother fucker. Alright. Alright. I’m leaving. But if I see you on the street with my patch, I’m whipping your ass.”
“Good enough, Ron. I’ll take that chance.”
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I was a bizarre kid with a lot of weird ideas when I was growing up. And lately for some odd reason, I’ve been revisiting a lot of memories from my childhood and having a good laugh in the process.
I mean, the crazy shit that I used to think up. Most of it was based almost entirely on my own imagination, some of it was based on observations my young mind would make, but almost all of it–now that I look back as an adult–was hilarious.
Take, for example, my take on some of the differences between white folks and brown folks. I can remember clearly, at the age of seven or eight, believing that white people did not feel cold the same way brown people felt it.
I was convinced that white people didn’t feel cold on their legs or arms.
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, it was simple, really. We’d be in my dad’s car, driving down the street, and I’d see a white person, jogging, with shorts, a t-shirt and gloves and a skull cap on. In the middle of winter. Just bare arms and bare legs.
I saw this repeatedly. So I formed an opinion: White people’s arms and legs don’t get cold.
Or take for example my belief that, as a young, nine-year-old little league baseball player, if I were transported back to the twenties or thirties, I would be as good, if not better than the pro ball players of that era.
The Babe and all those old timers? I’d show them how to knock it out of the park. I’d run faster, hit harder, throw missiles from any position on the field–they’d have to rewrite the history books about this young Puerto Rican kid phenom who was killing the league.
How would I be able to do these things at the tender age of nine? Well clearly (in my mind) the human body had progressed so much in the intervening six or so decades, that a nine-year-old in the early nineties, was much stronger and a more capable athlete than someone from the twenties or thirties.
If only I could’ve gotten a fully-functioning time machine. I would’ve been a star.
The funny thing about all this is that I don’t remember at what age I stop believing these things or what it was that finally made me understand that things didn’t quite work that way.
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-Did you sleep last night?
-What do you mean did I sleep last night?
-I mean did you sleep alright?
-I woke up in the middle of the night, in the country side of Ireland, to an aggressive ass sheep, bahing like motherfucker.
-I didn’t hear anything.
-You didn’t hear the sheep, bahing like a belligerent asshole?
-No, I guess I slept through it.
-Slept through it… I’m pretty sure that sheep was being fucked last night and you slept through that?
-There are sheep across the road, they make noise at night.
-Well, there aren’t any sheep in Chicago, or Puerto Rico, so no, I didn’t sleep through the sheep getting fucked last night. That’s the type of thing that’ll wake me up.
-Alright, alright, so you didn’t sleep, stop being a baby about it. And, yes, you’re in Ireland, and there are sheep in the country side, deal with it. You’re here for the next week.
-I know I am. Doesn’t mean it isn’t weird for me.
-You flew all the way to Ireland to propose to me, don’t be an ass and freak out about a couple sheep out in the country. Embrace it.
-I’m good here, I’m just saying, it’s a little weird.
-It’s green and beautiful and we’re here together with my family, isn’t that what you wanted?
-Good. So tomorrow night, when you hear the sheep fucking, do like the rest of us country side Irish, and mind your own business and go to sleep.
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It’s 4 a.m. and I’m on psych patient watch in the ER. I’m in the middle of a four stretch of 12-hour shifts and I haven’t slept in 30 plus hours. And I’m sitting, watching this guy, who just a couple hours ago, tried to punch me in the head for some unknown reason.
Fuck this guy.
I’m tired. He’s not. He starts in on me again.
“You know what, man? You ain’t shit.”
“Mr. Franklin, go to sleep already.”
“Fuck you, you stupid King.”
I don’t know why, but he insists on calling me “King.”
“Mr. Franklin, screaming at me isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
“You know what, King, fuck you I want my medicine to help me sleep.”
“We gave you enough meds to put down an elephant, try closing your eyes.”
“You supposed to be my brotha, King. That’s how you treat your brotha?”
You ain’t my brotha, I think, as I once again try my previously failed strategy of ignoring him.
I watch a couple videos, play a couple rounds of chess on my phone, all the while he’s screaming shit at me. Pure shit coming from his deranged mouth. The lack of sleep and constant verbal abuse has me feeling a little deranged myself.
What time is it?
It’s Saturday morning, right?
Fuck, I’m so tired.
Shit, I forgot to eat tonight. When was the last time I had something to eat? I can’t remember. I’m not hungry, though.
I have to fucking piss and there’s not a person in sight to relieve me at my post.
They don’t pay me enough for this shit.
“And another thing, you know what, King?”
“What Mr. Franklin?”
“You ain’t shit, on a stick.”
“Out of all the crazy shit you’ve been hurling my way, what the fuck does that mean?”
“It means you ain’t shit, on a stick, King. If there was a stick, you wouldn’t be shit on it.”
I’m practically out of my mind by this point, I should let it go, write it off as the ramblings of a crazy man and keep ignoring him, but I don’t. I decide to fight crazy, with crazy.
“Well, Mr. Franklin, I’ll have you know that, in fact, I am shit, on a stick.”
“No you ain’t. I’ve seen shit, on a stick, and you ain’t it, mother fucka.”
“Well I’m telling you that you’re looking at the finest example of shit, on a stick there is to see.”
“King, I’ve been on this earth long enough to be your daddy, believe me, you ain’t it.”
“Oh, I beg to differ.”
“You can beg to who ever you like.”
“This is it, Mr. Franklin.”
“No it ain’t.”
“Well I’m not trying to have this argument with you.”
“Well I ain’t either.”
“Well fine, then. Let’s leave it be.”
“Well consider it left, mother fucka.”
I sit in the first silence shared between us the entire night. Did I do it? Has fighting crazy with crazy somehow work? He has his eyes closed and looks to be sleeping. A few minutes pass and I see one of my fellow techs and I quietly summon him over.
“Hey, I got to piss, take over for me for a sec. He’s been quiet for the last 10 mins, don’t wake him up.”
“Alright, bro, hurry back.”
I make my way to the bathroom down the hall and hear: “Hey, say, brotha, you know that stupid King thinks he’s shit, on a stick? Someone done told that brotha wrong. Cause he ain’t shit on a stick, he ain’t shit, on a stick. You know what I’m talking about…”
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-You won’t believe who I saw the either day.
-Frankie, like Frankie Hustle from the old hood?
-Yeah, saw the mother fucker out in front of Jimmy ‘s slanging some bull shit
-That mother fucker is still out there hustling?
-Yup, same old hustle too.
-Is he still slanging stolen gift cards?
-Three for 30 or five for 50. Still has the packaging on them and everything.
-The math on that isn’t even a deal. And he still doesn’t know that they don’t have any cash on them until you load them?
-You know Frankie, that poor bastard never had any sense.
-You remember that one time he went downtown and swiped those Starbucks cards and then tried to sell them back in the hood?
-Yup, not a damn Starbucks for miles around the old hood and this fool thinks he came up on a hustle.
-Then the asshole goes back to the same Starbucks after no one wanted to buy the cards from him and orders a shit ton of coffee and cakes and tries to pay with them and gets popped.
-He’s good people though.
-Dumb as all hell, but yeah he’s good people. So did you buy some gift cards then?
-The fuck I look like to you, a dumbass?
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There’s something about working the night shift in a trauma level 1 ER in downtown Chicago that’ll put things in their proper perspective.
There’s something else that working in that ER on Halloween, on a weekend, in downtown Chicago that takes it to another level, that takes you to a place, as a sober healthcare worker, trying to do a job and get the fuck home, that changes you.
Halloween 2015, I’m working the night shift wth a crew of seasoned night nurses, docs and techs. The night starts off alright enough.
Some of the ER staff are rocking ER appropriate costumes, a tech has mini mouse ears and a doc has a carved pumpkin badge on his stethoscope. The mood is light, and chill.
Then the clubs let out at around 2 a.m., and the shit hits the fan.
The Chicago Fire Department, and our ER, erupts with calls about, “A drunk female, found inside a dumpster.” Or, “A male, intoxicated, found in a gutter.” And, “Unknown, shirtless, with a mask, passed out in the back of a cab.” Or, “Found in a park, crying, hating the rain.”
The drunks and druggies start coming in faster than we can room them. I mean, the shit is getting crazy. Our 60 plus rooms are filled, and we got folks in the hallways, 40 more in the waiting room, and more and more coming in by ambulance.
Kids on drugs are trying to fight staff, residents are fighting crackheads, I’m just shy of a fist fight with one guy who took a bunch of God knows what, and is trying to punch me and the tech with the minnie mouse ears, unlucky for him she ain’t having it and puts him in his place.
It feels like we’re losing control of the place, the loonies are taking over, people are getting hurt. It doesn’t help that trauma after trauma is coming in.
I don’t remember when, but at some point, after many, many hours, we regained control.
To this day it still is a blur. After all this chaos, after all the fighting, the screaming, and drunken assholes, the only thing I can clearly remember is the 8 a.m. redline ride home, and getting to my apartment, and fucking crawling into my bed, and thinking, ‘on that devil’s holiday, even Jesus can’t save your ass.’ and that’s it….
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Editor’s note: Rolando is off getting wild with the rest of the Cubs fans after their second post season win against the Giants tonight. We thought we’d run an oldie of his on the Cubs while he’s running around Wrigleyville waiving the “W”. Bandwagon fan, anyone?
I’m a Chicago guy, born and raised. I love my city. I grew up in neighborhoods mainly on the northside of town, so that should automatically make me a Cubs fan. And for years, I played the role.
I attended games at Wrigley. I bought the hats, shirts and other Cubs gear. Hell, I even kept stats on my favorite Cubs players–Sandberg, Sosa, Woods, Lee, etc.
I even had my picture taken with the Chicago Cubs icon, Ronnie “Woo-Woo.”
I was a real Cubs fan, and no one could tell me otherwise. Shit, I even got into arguments with fans of the other team on why the Cubs were the best representative of Chicago folks like myself.
But about a year ago I came to a realization that I had been denying all long: I hate baseball.
I know, I know, it’s America’s past time. It got us through The Depression. Being a ball player is what countless little boys all over the country dream of becoming.
I get it.
But the damn game is so boring. I can’t stand it. It’s slow, there’s very little action and all there is to do at games to pass the time is get drunk.
True confession: I’ve never watched a baseball game in its entirety on t.v. Can’t do it. The shit’s too boring.
Now I know this isn’t going to sit well with some of the readers of this blog. But it’s true.
And as our moto reads, “We Rarely Lie to the American People.”
So I figured now was as good a time to go public with this info. Sorry Chicago, I hate baseball.
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