Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lessons from a Flintstone

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "You can say you are from Detroit and you can say you are from Flint. When you say you from Flint even the guy from Detroit gives you respect." - Isiah Thomas

Flintstones take a certain weird pride in our hometown's "down and dirty" reputation. We believe, by virtue of being born here, that we are somehow more street-wise and tougher than you.

As I've mentioned before, I didn't exactly grow up on the mean streets of Flint. In the south end, the only crack I was exposed to were those in the sidewalks of my paper route. However, even those of us Flintoids who were somewhat sheltered growing up in a middle-class neighborhood and attending Catholic schools, we couldn't help but eventually learning some hard life's lessons Flint had to offer.

For those of you not from here, I'd like to offer a few survival skills I learned the hard way.

Yes, I really was thrown out of the back window of a school bus by an upper-classman because I ran out of jokes. Ain't that tough enough? Have you ever heard of this happening anywhere else? I didn't think so.

I learned the hard way that conflicts rarely escalate slowly and deliberately. Prior to the face cast, I always thought a fight couldn't break out until each combatant expressed their intentions. Maybe first there would be a volley of "yo mama" insults, as each sized up the other. This process would allow for numerous exits for the perceived weaker combatant to yield. After all, a bruised honor never requires plastic surgery. Imagine my surprise when I learned that all those steps could be ignored with one unannounced sucker punch, and that one second you could be running across the field playing keep-away during 8th grade recess at Holy Redeemer, and the next instant finding yourself coming to and staring up at the face of a terrified nun.

It was then that I decided to try and avoid fighting as I didn't enjoy hospitals nor vomiting blood. However, if it was going to come to fisticuffs, I would throw the first punch next time. It was a strategy I employed to my benefit a few years later, ending my fisticuffs career (hopefully) with a record of 3-2.

NOTE (regarding exception to rule 2): 2X4s are actually 1.5 inches wide and typically spaced every 16 inches in the framework of walls, taking up about 8% of the total space behind the drywall. Therefore, a randomly hammered nail has a 92% chance of finding hollow wall. If you use an electronic stud-finder and clearly mark the stud's location, I've found the odds of my next nail finding said stud is about 90% (10% less than a random right cross).

Before you ask the obvious, my job required my presence in the projects. I kept that faux-$20 in my desk to remind myself the cost of being gullible. When my job required delivering an open route in the projects, I learned to take a couple extra packs of smokes with me. I would paste an idiotic smile on my face and pass out single cigarretes to anyone who looked at me cross-eyed as I hurriedly made the rounds. Hey, it worked!

Those were some of the lessons I learned the hard way. I'm from Flint... so RESPECT, yo!


  1. I grew up in the north end in Beecher People actually lived there then). I did learn a lot that helped with my job now. I work in an inner city ER and take care of the same people, just a different city, that I grew up with.

  2. I grew up in Manhattan. Early on, I learned how to duck from urine being tossed out the second floor bathroom window.

    Early on, I learned how to fight off a boy armed with a wooden plank studded with nails while I was armed only with a plastic jump rope. Cue the Star Trek fight theme.

    There were many more incidents. Luckily, I managed to survive them all. I think it made me a stronger person.

  3. You can't blame yourself for the drywall incident-it's genetic. I remember C-Mo sporting a similar cast a couple of years ago after he "sucker punched" a wall.

  4. lol luv the post and will never mess with ya..I

  5. we don't fight much in the LA suburbs! (or we didn't then!)

    Isn't MIchael Moore from FLINT? There's a guy I'd like to see thrown out the rear window of a school bus, if he'd FIT :-)

  6. "In the south end, the only crack I was exposed to were those in the sidewalks of my paper route."

    Obviously, you never had plumbing problems in your house.