Everybody’s Talking – Some are up too Close and Personal

There is an ‘old Negro saying’ that reads like this, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Well, maybe it’s not an ‘old Negro saying’ because my father was not an old Negro when I first heard him say it. I can’t tell you exactly how old he was or when I first heard him say it. He might have gotten it from the slang of the time or some old friend. It was a favorite phrasing of my fathers, who repeated it continuously to anyone who didn’t quite know how to put a particular thought into words. It also made one correct an outright lie.

We know how people talk in the hood. If you go to any function, there is always some black person going through a nonstop rant about something or the other. However, sooner or later, there will be a short pause. That’s when you know they add or spin their story version.

Daddy used the phrase often when counseling me, especially when I’d done something wrong. There I was, trying to figure out how to put into words an excuse for why I did it. He’d patiently wait as if to say, “Let me see what he is going to say about this.” He knew there was no excuse. Yet I kept trying to justify why I did something I knew was wrong. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking to the man who oversaw punishing or counseling me for that error in judgment. Immaturely, I always felt that the punishment would be light if I could justify it. If I could make him laugh about it, I may even get off with a warning. At least, it was a nice thought. Let me tell you, those mental games I tried to play with my father? If I had succeeded once, I don’t remember it. I always thought, even today, that old man had a master’s degree in life itself.

Back in those days, black people felt that sending their kids to a Catholic school would ensure their children would get a good education. I remember thinking while walking to and from Milwaukee’s St Benedict de Moor. I wanted to go to the same school as my father. Why? Because that man knew something about everything. And another thing, he was no fool. That was another one of his favorite sayings. He would say, “I ain’t no fool, so don’t play me cheap.” I never did understand how the words’ fool’ and ‘cheap’ related to each other. But I and most people around him got the message and agreed with his statement.

The other day, I thought about my dad while watching a commercial of Donald Trump selling two-dollar bills with his mug picture. It made you wonder who would buy such a foolish thing. Then, I realized many of his MAGA followers would stock up on those bills. I can’t wait to see some of them wearing his $ 400-style tennis shoes. Wow, it’s unreal as to where some people’s heads are in this country these days.

As they always do, the thoughts stir up those memories of growing up in a household where ninety percent of the people who came into your house were relatives, and another five percent were your play cousins. I’m telling you, up until I was approaching thirteen years of age, I thought half the black people, a few Puerto Ricans, and a couple of white people in Milwaukee were related to me in some way.

They taught us sound values as children. Our parents, originally farmland country folk, may not have had a high school diploma. In the late forties and fifties, they moved north, west, and east to escape the segregated South. They arrived in places like California, New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee, looking for jobs and a place to raise a family. My mother and father left Arkansas, heading for Milwaukee four months after I was born.

They knew how to make ends meet. We never felt poor or were never hungry as kids growing up. No, we were not rich with dollars but with community and love. And there were rules in that community, no matter what adult a kid was talking to. You didn’t lie to an adult, you didn’t say bad words, you didn’t steal. And one that will probably make today’s young parents wish for those old days. You didn’t speak while grown people spoke. After the initial hello to a visitor, the kids didn’t stay in the same room, sitting on Auntie’s lap listening to grown folk conversations.

Back then, people didn’t use many unnecessary or phony descriptive words during their conversation. Most were short and to the point. There was no room for misinterpreting what was meant by someone. And usually, if you were dealing with a down-home person, as they used to call themselves, they meant what they were saying. If they said they were going to slap the mess out of you, you better duck or get hit.

Nowadays, there is a lot of talk. Everybody is talking. The children are talking. The teenagers are talking. The grown-ups are talking. The people on TV, in the grocery store, at the bank, at the gas station, the President, and other seemingly nonstop politicians’ ads or in person. Commentators and analysts on the radio. Sports reporters on ESPN, CNN, ABC, CBS, you name it, everybody has something to say. At least, they think they do.

Everybody’s mouth is moving. Words are spoken, but mostly, they have no real thought or meaning except for self-promotion. Some folks talk while knowing there is no purpose or clarity in their conversation. They are just talking because they think that is what they are supposed to do. There are times when you can interrupt a speaker to ask a question. There is just no telling what kind of response you get. They may try to make you look like a fool. Or they answer you with technical jargon that does not affect the conversation.

As noted, many of these people show up on our TVs as experts or supposedly speaking the truth. They are like carnival barkers. Unfortunately, some innocent folks base their decisions on what they hear instead of checking for the truth. Often, they are just trying to sell something, either a product or themselves. And even worse, they’re spouting some political line they know is false. Just think about it. If there were some truth litmus test before people started talking, we would all be better off in a more silent world.

We live in a ‘Get all up in your face’ society. Some want you to know and remember them. They’re taking their cues from the late Michal Jackson record. That is “They’re Bad.” I saw a guy on the news the other day punching another passenger while they were flying in a plane. What would happen if one of them threw something that broke the window? That behavior is one reason I no longer like to fly in an airplane. Some of these passengers on the place are crazy. And I am not talking about terrorists.

Too many people are carrying guns, concealed or in the open, depending upon the laws in your state. There is another saying from back in the day. If you carry a gun, somebody or something will make you use it. A newscaster commented the other day that up to this point, there were more mass shootings in the US this year than days on the calendar. That number would be forty-eight. Yet the NRA and Republics in some states are advocating that we arm the teachers. They want everyone to be able to carry a gun openly. Kids are already afraid to go to school. Their parents are worried from the time they leave home until they return.

When will we wise up and take our country in a new direction? Where is the politician, in a JFK, MLK, or BHO mode, that can lead this country on a democratic journey to self-assurance? A place where our children see growth and a bright future. Remember, this is our country, not the Republicans, MAGA, or any right-wing organization. This is the year; we need to make our voices heard…vote.

Peace, blessings, stay healthy and be vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                          Author & Commentator

“The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp, Vol II” has been published. Check out my author webpage URL  https://outskirtspress.com/HampsEpisodicThoughtsVol2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Join us for our live or Internet broadcast of bi-monthly BTR R&B or Smooth Jazz Musical at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica. Or play the broadcast at your leisure.

Follow Hamp at our Parent Company/Sponsor CHIIA Group at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Leave a comment