I think hitting junior high fucked me up real bad. There was no specific incident, or brick wall in the face deserving mention, but I knew shit was gonna be real different from that point on. I went from being a mop headed little runt shielded by my parents, prior experiences, and societal programming, to being an observantly cautious (and devious) little bastard.
I immediately realized that my smart mouth wasn’t gonna fly too well in my new environs. I was in the racial minority at my new inner city school. There were fights almost every day. Girls brought razor blades to slash their enemies with. The dudes would trample muthafuckas with an 8:1 ration. I figured out pretty quick that I needed to operate well beneath the radar if I wanted to emerge unscathed.
I loathed every minute of my government mandated incarceration period that masqueraded as an education. The teachers didn’t give a shit, they were on auto-pilot to retirement. Between the brawls, the flying padlocks in the PE locker room, and the vacuous class/race/clique strata, I was there only in a physical form.
The hours after school, and my entire weekends, were spent shredding concrete on skateboards with my mates. I was a skater punk, and I couldn’t of been happier. In hindsight, it was a subconscious rejection of the social norms and customs that I had been socialized to embrace. Eventually, the desecration of public and private property, daily trespass offenses, and the police (and mayoral) bullying was not enough to satiate my inner demon(s).
Although I do not wish to go into too much detail (due to statue of limitation tolling periods), I embarked on a violent campaign to wreak havoc on other’s property and lives. This behavior culminated in my arrest and incarceration in the city’s youth facility.
After I was Mirandized, cuffed, and stuffed, I spent the next several harrowing hours being grilled by juvenile police detectives in the cavernous basement of the police station. Every statement I made was recorded, cross-examined, and scrutinized. I was a slab of meat on a cold steel forensic analyst table. I told them the truth, but they kept asking me why I did it. I didn’t have an answer then, and I do not have an answer now. The best I could muster at the time was, “I was bored.”
I was scared, real fucking scared. But whatever fear I felt at the time was exponentially reduced by what I found out next. I was gonna be locked up at the youth facility. From what I knew about that place, my future was was gonna be real bleak. The ride down in the back of the patrol car seemed like an eternity. I can trace the entire path in my mind.
I endured my first (but not last) strip search and institutionalized processing dehumanization procedure. I was given a set of scrubs and led to general population. From the movies and television, I knew the drill about having to prove yourself with an initiation beat down to demonstrate your testicular worth. Luckily, I did not have to go down that path.
When the steel door shut behind me, all eyes were directed at my emerging presence. A menacing cat inquired into the circumstances warranting my visit. Evidently, whatever I told him began to circulate around the room. Another bloke came up to me and remarked that they had heard about my exploits on the 6 o’clock news. I overheard a dude who said, “that’s that crazy White muthafucka we seen on TV.”
By the grace of Allah, I had earned a modicum of respect from my new violent offender and felonious peers (of which I shared the ignoble distinction). Of course, another maxim could have been at play – don’t fuck with an insane son of a bitch. From that point on, I made it my goal to project a sick and deranged personality profile.
Despite my extreme racial minority status, I managed to blend in well with my co-residents (primarily facilitated by my junior high school experience). We spent the days playing spades (a card game) and watching daytime television. Due to the varying personalities (many of which where predisposed to immediate violence), I felt it was time that I ushered forth a bit of alpha male display.
The opportunity came soon enough. A corpulent shaggy haired White punk thought it was in his best interest to jack my chair at the card game while I was away at the pisser. Upon returning to the table I kindly asked him to remove himself from my chair. He scoffed at my request and attempted to resume the game. I promptly yanked the seat out from under him and his cellulose-ridden backbone slammed onto the smooth concrete. He scurried away with a poorly disguised tear in his eye.