Stevieslaw: Schoolyard Wisdom

Stevieslaw: Schoolyard Wisdom
My cousin, Arty, had the intelligence of a gerbil and the self-confidence of a lion. He liked nothing better than to grab some poor stickball player by his shirt and tell him in great detail what was wrong with the world. These lectures, which were as colorful as they were senseless, could last from dawn to dusk. Not once, when I was growing up, did I hear anyone say, “At least Arty says what’s on his mind.”
Phil, the green-grocer down the street, had a successful business until the day he fell down the cellar stairs and bumped his head. He took to imagining a vengeful god, who resided around the corner on Bristol Street in a banged up trash can. Phil believed that anyone not wearing a trash can lid as a hat would end up rotting in hell, “just like those tomatoes,” he would scream as he pointed at the steaming mess he kept for illustration on the doorstep of his shop. Phil was so determined in his beliefs that he refused to serve anyone who was not wearing a trash can lid. No one said, as I recall, “At least Phil has the courage of his convictions.” Instead, we went over to Chester Street to shop.
If you listened with an open mind, you could pick up some wisdom in the schoolyard—even in the rundown working class neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn. You just needed to separate it from the trash. I learned very early on that saying what’s on your mind is not a positive character trait if you have nothing whatsoever worth saying. The courage of your convictions does not automatically earn you respect, if for example, one of your core convictions is bigotry.
I thought everyone in my country grew up knowing that. Instead, I watch the Republican horror show, in which they try to navigate the narrow strait between Trump and Cruz, on the shipping lane to someplace worse. Please allow me speak my mind with all the courage of my convictions–“I believe Republican voters could use some serious schoolyard time.”

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4 Responses to Stevieslaw: Schoolyard Wisdom

  1. There’s a poem in this, Steve.


  2. Couldn’t agree more. Read an interesting article (I reposted on Facebook) about the authoritarians in this country. Kind of explains it all. If they are scared, these type of people respond to keep others out and stop the world from spinning so to speak. Having lived in the deep South for so many years, this is very much the mindset with most of the Southern folk. They are very much opposed to change of any kind.


  3. stevieslaw says:

    Am I having a rational discussion? Wow. Thanks Susan.


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