Ait/Planet Lar, An Elk's Run Review and The Jacking of Strings

Monday, March 07, 2005

Well, I think my pimp for today goes out to Larry Young and Ait/Planet Lar. Now, I’m a fan of Larry’s books and Larry as a person, I’ve always seen him as an amazing publisher. Some people can write, some can illustrate, some can do both. Few people can publish really well, and Larry is exceptional in that respect. So check him out, buy his books and say hey to him. The reason why I’m pimping him today is because he digs my blog enough to give me a front page pimp (check his March 4th posting) and I’m returning the favor, although I think it’s safe to say I’ll send fewer people his way than he sends mine. Also, check out the great review fellow blogger Sean Maher wrote for Elk’s Run, just to sort of add to the anticipation.

So, now I have an increase of people coming. This is sweeps week for me, time to bust out some of my A-material. I think this week I’ll sprinkle some Junior High in the mix, starting with today’s story.

I gave a primer to Junior High a couple of weeks ago, gives some good insight the whole thing. But, just as a refresher, my Junior High was nestled between an all-white neighborhood and an all-Hispanic/black neighborhood and I was a white kid with a Hispanic last name that was in the smart class to boot.

Back in the early 90s NYC was feeling the first Bush’s deficit pretty hard. Nobody had money. Now, at the same time, hip-hop was evolving, the culture becoming more violent and obsessing more on material status and respect. It was a dangerous, dangerous combination.

People at my school stole EVERYTHING. My friends and I were easy targets for theft, and one of us got jacked up at least once a week. Throughout my two years in Junior High I had two Starter hats, a Jansport and a pair of Jordans jacked. In addition I got mugged for money several times and my locker was broken into many a time as well. But these are all stories in and of themselves, Monday’s are lighthearted so I want to talk about the most ridiculous trend growing up and how it resulted in some of the stupidest jacks in jacking history.

Not the Jansport. Jansport strings, the colorful strings that hang from the zippers.

You see, you really only need one Jansport. So once they steal your Jansport, there really isn’t any point to steal another one. Jansport strings became a symbol of power, whoever had the most strings was king shit. The thing is, we didn’t give a fuck if someone took our stings, we were happy to give them up. IT’S A FUCKING STRING. But, no, it wouldn’t be a jacking with a good ole fashioned punch to the face or a nice throw against the wall.

This may not sound funny, but it is. If you’re not laughing and if instead you’re saying, “how cruel” you’re really not getting the joke. You see, here’s the joke.

IT WAS A FUCKING STRING.

We used to stand on the bus and someone would be sitting behind us, taking the strings off our back packs. We wouldn’t care. At all. It was a fucking string. We would just keep talking as if nothing was happening. Once our string were stripped, the snickering behind us dying down, they would always follow it up with the ever-funny, “Yo, son, I was gonna jack your strings but you ain’t got none. Give me some loot so I can go buy some.” That’s my favorite logic, by the way. We can’t steal something off you so give me money to buy it. Like I was a fucking birthday card. “We don’t know what game you wanted so buy one for yourself. Love, Grandma.” I should have gotten a handful of twenty-five cent gift cards from Modell's and handed them out to every thug that pulled the “You ain’t got no strings” routine. I have to imagine they would have at least laughed.

Anyway, one day my friend actually decided to make a stand for his Jansport strings. We all make stands at least once. My nose was broken when I refused to run my San Antonio Spurs Starter hat; I know first hand that we each had that moment. But this guy was the first (and only) to ever do it for Jansport strings.

Anyway, he refused to give them up. I sort of whispered to him “they’re just strings” and took a few steps back; the crazy fuck was on his own.

I wish I had this one tape.

There was an “ohhh” that ran through the audience. The thug kind of look at my friend (down, I should say, because there was about a foot and a half height distance), winds up, and delivers a KARATE CHOP TO THE FUCKING THROAT.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a karate chop in my life aside from kung-fu movies. Honestly, I don’t even know if it was a bonafide karate chop, I wouldn’t know the proper technique. But up until that point, I always thought a slap was the most disrespect one man can bestow upon another. I changed my mind that day; there is nothing more embarrassing than a karate chop to the throat. My friend dropped to his knees instantly, they took the strings and left.

And here’s the punch line: IT WAS FOR A FUCKING STRING.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: F.U. Don't Take it Personal

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