The Shirt Off Your Back

Never give the shirt off your back to someone because he doesn’t like the one that he has on.

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Shout

I used to love peanut brittle. I haven’t had it in years but it was my favorite snack in college. See’s Candies has always had the best but it wasn’t always convenient for me to purchase. I also liked Sophie Mae and it was much easier to find. When I was 19 years old, I was hoping to find some when I walked into a major drug store. I went to where it would be if the store had any in stock. I was out of luck. As I exited the store, a police car was slowly passing by. I figured that I would try my luck at the adjoining supermarket. I went inside and got a weird feeling that someone was following me. I turned around and a police officer was right behind me. He asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was fine and just looking for some peanut brittle. He told me that he wanted to see me outside.

I walked outside and the officer’s partner was standing by their parked police car. He asked me if I had seen the drug store employee who had followed me out. I told him that I had not. He asked me to place both hands on the hood of the police car. He subjected me to a full body search in front of everyone who happened to be walking by. Afterwards, he told me that he had searched me because a drug store employee had followed me out. He said that he had asked the man why he had followed me out and the man replied that he thought I had stolen something. He asked me for my driver license and he proceeded to copy down my information into a small notebook. I told him that I wanted to know who the employee was because I intended to take legal action.

The officer told me that he did not want to get involved. I told him that he had subjected me to a full body search in front of everybody because of this drug store employee and that I had a right to know. He said that he would show me who the man was but he did not want me to go in there and make a scene. I told him that I wasn’t going to make a scene. We both went back into the drug store and the officer led me to the employee then left. I asked the employee if he had seen me make any motions like I was stealing something. He told me that I had come out very quick. I had come out quick because they didn’t have the one item that I was looking for. I told him that I was going to sue the hell out of him and then left.

I drove home and told my parents about what had transpired. We all went back to the drug store and confronted the man. The man admitted that he had followed me out because of the way I was dressed. It was winter time and I was wearing a well-cushioned adidas jacket and an Atlanta Braves knit cap. He stated that he was not at fault because he had not stopped me. He declared that the police were at fault for stopping me. He told my parents that he would be very upset too if the police had done the same to his son.

I reported this incident to the police precinct and the major drug store chain’s corporate headquarters. The police precinct found that their officers had done nothing wrong. They felt that their officers had due cause to stop and search me when the drug store’s employee told them that he thought I had stolen something. The major drug store chain’s corporate headquarters found that their employee had done nothing wrong. They reasoned that their employee had not stopped me so he was not at fault. My parents and I consulted an attorney. He offered to take on my case against the major drug store chain but let us know that such cases bring about very small settlements. I decided not to waste anymore time and energy on the ordeal.

I concluded that both the police and the major drug store chain were at fault. The police were at fault for not asking the employee why he thought that I had stolen something. If all the employee could come up with was that I had come out quick and/or it was because of my clothes–then this would not have been due cause for them to stop and search me. The major drug store chain was at fault for standing by an employee who had followed me out of the store and told the police that he thought I had stolen something. Shout (1985), by Tears For Fears, allowed me to vent the frustration that I felt from getting violated and not having a viable recourse. You can use it to do the same on those occasions when your blood is brought to a boil.

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Don’t Settle

Don’t settle for just a gemstone when yours can also be a himstone.

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A Big Difference

Don’t settle for Mother Nature’s carbon when your diamond can have your mother’s.

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Bad Boys

The primary reason that most of us watch fictional movies is to subject our minds and emotions to experiences that carry no real life consequences. We get to cheat at life. We all hunger for some experiences that are not part of our realities. Sometimes this hunger is for what is dangerous or not good for us. Bad Boys (1983) satisfies such a hunger. The writing is brilliant. Sean Penn and Esai Morales are sensational. This powerful film has a lot to digest. Bring your appetite.

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Crumb

I can’t draw to save my life. I have always wished that I could. When I was in junior high, I had my father buy me a copy of How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema. This excellent book ended up being a waste of money. When I saw that the exercises did not come easy for me and that I was going to have to develop my drawing skills through a lot of effort and dedication, I lost interest. This ordeal augmented my admiration for cartoonists. I came across Crumb (1994) in a documentary film class that I took in college. I was astonished. I lost my affinity for Robert Crumb very early but never for this fantastic peek into his reality. He is a gifted cartoonist with a twisted mind. Perhaps his work’s impact would suffer if he wasn’t so twisted. Perhaps this documentary’s impact would suffer if he wasn’t so twisted. Watch this film and see what you think.

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Pop Life

Most of us make a living by doing what we need to do and not, necessarily, what we want to do. We all can’t live out our dreams. Make sure that yours are within reach. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Pop Life (1985), by Prince, has some very good points. Listening to its lyrics can be a bit depressing for all of us who are living life without the pop. This happens to be a small price to pay for a song that sounds so great.

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People With Pulses

No one with a pulse belongs in the earth for an extended period of time.

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From The Eyes Of Babes

When I was around six years old, I used all of my strength to pick up my television from my nightstand. It was much heavier than it looked. I fell back. The next thing I knew, I was sandwiched between my television and my bedroom’s floor. My mother heard the fall and rushed into my room with a belt. She proceeded to beat me with the television on top of me. My dad came in and covered me. He lifted the television off of me and took me to the hospital for x-rays. Luckily, I had no broken ribs. All of this transpired because I was pretending to be the Hulk. The Incredible Hulk (tv series) was broadcast by CBS from 1978 to 1982. I loved this show as a boy. All of these years since, I have proclaimed that The Incredible Hulk was the most amazing show that I have ever come across. You could imagine how excited I was when I obtained the complete television series on DVD.

I watched the episodes in order and stopped halfway through the second season. I could not bare to sit through another episode. I realized that this is a terrible show. It is utterly dense. I felt ashamed for liking this show as a child. Then it hit me. Adults never really enjoy movies or television shows in the same manner as children do. Children have a purity that allows them to enjoy works that are simple. This purity exists on intellectual and emotional levels. This is nothing to be ashamed about. It’s wonderful. Children are deeply affected by the slightest impacts to their emotions and intellects. When we are children, everything is new. We do not have that “seen that already” mind-set when we seek enjoyment. This comes later and it prevents us from enjoying works that are less sophisticated. This is something that we should all keep in mind before shelling out the bucks on favorite works from our childhoods. I know I will.

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One More Time

When you need to keep yourself from altogether losing it, try talking to yourself. Lolly Vegas recommended this approach when he wrote One More Time (1974) for Redbone. I love this song and the logic behind it. If we keep giving ourselves one more time before we lose our sanity, then we will always have it. I’ve even found that talking to myself is an effective way to deal with my obsessive-compulsive disorder. Listen to Lolly’s lyrics. This song is therapeutic. 

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