Tuesday I at dinner at Galatoires restaurant for the first time. I had a great time. My work colleagues treated me to say thanks for all my hard work. I had no problem accepting the free dinner at such a great restaurant because I believe in people showing appreciation to another. I also believe in working hard and free food so it was a winning situation all the way around for me. Our dinner engagement was the day after Halloween when there was a shootout and killings that gave the city another negative story for people to take in. Despite being all dressed up to eat I was in a sad mood all day because I believe in community, and personal responsibility. I also believe in the potential in young black men from New Orleans to do great things and when they make the decision to kill one another and bring the community down it’s draining to me. It’s like a slap in the face to everything I try to project as a man. I get upset about these things like there was something I could have done to stop it and didn’t.
That afternoon I was sitting at my desk and I started thinking about my own life and wondered if I was cheating myself out of the satisfaction for my own accomplishments. The truth of the matter is that I haven’t done anything to contribute to the problem we are having. I’ve never sold drugs, owned a gun or been arrested. Outside of a few times when I had no choice but to defend myself I’ve never really had a thought about harming another man. I hate to see people fighting in the streets especially women because I believe their behavior and character set the tone for everyone else. I’m trying to teach the kids the same thing but I also have to be realistic about where we live and also let them know that you may have to fight your way out of a bad situation.
I wish I could reprogram myself to be more self absorbed and ignore things I see around me as long as I am doing well. Then every time I see something horrible in the news or someone tells me how much they are going through I can look at my vehicles or my big TV and sleep like a baby with no cares in the world. Things would seem a lot less bleak if I could just stop feeling like we have so much untapped potential and could take care of ourselves and our children without anyone telling us what to do. I want to be one of the people who judge the quality of life by how many days they can go out to the club and gauge my city’s health on the number of second lines we have. If I was in that state of mind it wouldn’t matter who was the governor or the mayor.
I wouldn’t have any concern for the murder rate or black male image. I really wouldn’t care about the education of any children outside of my own and I wouldn’t be so concerned that some of these charter schools are experimenting with our kids like lab rats. I wouldn’t even say “our kids” because their future doesn’t have anything to do with me. It wouldn’t be my fault their mama made the wrong choice. Hell, rename or demolish everybody’s alma mater like our tradition and history doesn’t mean anything. My school is still standing. I may even start making excuses for politicians. It’s going to be great if that day ever comes. Until then I’ll just keep shaking my head and hoping for the best.