Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Elliot (What I Fear)

You know what Elliot’s stories remind me of? The powerful summer sun. Whenever I am looking for a life lesson to illuminate my day, I can always count on my bud Elliot. I love that his stories tell it like it is, shining a light on life’s bumps and twists and complexities. But the real twist is, even when he talks about his fear of the darkest alleys, it’s his bright mind and piercing wisdom that we really see.

Elliot Doomes
What I Fear

I have heard people say
That they fear nothing.
People who fear nothing
Scare the hell out of me.
They disregard danger signals and pay no attention to their senses which often times sends us warnings in times approaching danger.
I fear dark alleys and strange neighborhoods. I tell myself that I'm just being cautious, but I'm really afraid. I fear crowded subways when school lets out. Them teenagers rage in the subway, they have no sense of responsibility. They push and shove, swinging heavy book bags. Once a teen broke a girl's nose by punching her because she kept hitting him with her book bag. I fear big dogs walking without a leash. People will say "Oh, he won't bite" when the dog is bigger than me. I asked a man does his dog eat meat because if so, he needs a leash. I am alright with my fears as long as they remain reasonable.

Elliot Doomes
I Always Had Money

I can remember when I was a child. We lived in a 2 room flat. The kids slept in the kitchen. I remember never having enough to eat or clothes. I worked for a man named Mr. Arder, tying bundles of wood and baskets of wood. I always had money. I would sell wood on 9th St. I would shine shoes on Locust Street and on 8th & South I made a lot of money shining shoes. People said we were poor because of the way we lived. But we didn’t know. Maybe my parents knew, but us kids didn’t. We would collect paper and glass bottles. I always had change in my pocket. There was no allowance, the radio was better than TV, we had nothing, but we were happy. We never complained. People complain too much today. People can get by today on what they make, but they complain anyways. If I came into money, I would not buy property in the South. Definitely not in Philadelphia. Like I said, we never felt poor. We didn’t even know we were poor. We played kick the can, hide and go seek. We made our own fun. We didn’t live with a lot of fear.

Elliot Doomes
Lost Children

When I was a young kid growing up, it was about sports and dancing and school – it was about social activities. There was always something to do. Kids today don’t have those options. Today kids are interested in money and getting it as fast as they can. And the vast majority of them are dropping out of school with no occupational skills. Making an honest living is out of the question for a lot of them. So where do they go? They deal drugs. It’s fast and easy with no labor put into it. They’ve closed down all the social places I used to go. I seriously believe we’ve lost a whole generation of our children, could be two. Instead of institutions of higher learning, their final destination is one of 3 things: jail, mental institutions, or death. But I can say that my grandchildren are all graduates. All of them. Two of them are working and earning a living. The third is looking. And the youngest is in 9th grade, and already had a summer job as a cashier. She wants to go to college. And she’ll go.