An Ode to Cap’n Crunch, the Crack Dealer of the Breakfast Cereal World

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I grew up in a home where my mother did cruel and unusual things like buy bags of PUFFED RICE. There is NOTHING worse than eating a bowl of styrofoam packing for breakfast! I think she was giggling off in the corner while we ate heaping spoonfuls, tears running down our little cheeks! Occasionally, she would splurge and get us Alpha Bits or even Rice Krispies. I was completely deprived of anything Sir Captain of the Crunch had to offer.

Then I joined the military and moved OUT of that bleak dungeon. Then, I ventured into the commissary one Saturday evening and did something I’d wanted to do all my life up until that point: I purchased a box of Peanut Butter Crunch… And wound up eating the whole damned thing that night!!!

I’ve since given up sugary cereals for healthier stuff like granola, which I enjoy. However, every now and then, when I traipse down that cereal aisle, I can hear the Captain whispering to me like the crack dealer he is! I then take off running, often spilling the contents of my cart, trying to remember those painful months I spent in rehab, RIDDING myself of that man and all his sugary, sweet, delicious offerings!!!

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Because I Said So, Dammit!

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Snail

Being a kid is rough. Relatively speaking, anyway. With only a few short years under the belt, it’s difficult to compare it to anything else. Parents dictate everything you do, where you go, and how long you can stay. They roll out a list of chores that are as long as football field and seriously limit your play time.

The toughest thing to hear is the reason why you are relegated to follow their rules: “Because I said so.”

End of discussion. Actually, there is no discussion. And baby, that’s just how it is!

However, when you finally grow to adulthood, you find out that childhood was a piece of cake. Yeah, parents seem like ogres but it’s not because they never wanted you to have fun; it was to protect your dumb ass for doing some really stupid things!

And their reasoning, which stonewalled any possible suggestion and shut down any inkling of protest, seemed to be something just shy of a death sentence: “Because I said so.”

When you get to be grown (which is not based so much on a particular age as it is the time when you completely relocate to a place of your own and remove your hand from your parents’ pockets), you may discover that the very words that seemed a verbal backhand is actually your salvation. Suddenly, there’s no one making you go to bed at a reasonable hour, eat your Brussels sprouts, or wake you up in time for work. It all operates as an act of your pure will: it’s because you said so.

I recently found my clothes fitting differently. I was straining to get into jeans that used to fit loosely and sucking in my gut while putting on my shirts. I looked fat in photos that had been snapped. Yeah, as an adult, I’ve always been a big guy, but this was damned ridiculous, and some radical changes had to be made.

I’d blamed my thickening gut on all sorts of stuff, mainly an ever-changing work schedule, which offered little stability with my personal time. It really wasn’t that; I had simply become a lazy ass.

There was nothing wrong with me, outside of my will. I ate the things I did, sidestepping healthier choices for sweets BECAUSE I SAID SO. Well, maybe because I didn’t say any differently. After all, it’s incredibly easy to sit around, popping bonbons into your fat mouth, watching mindless television shows, while having the nerve to bitch about change not happening.

I had settled. Settled into my life of mediocrity, occasionally doing something slightly above to ensure I still had a heart. The problem was, my heart was struggling to beat through a layer of fat. Too much good living, too much lazing about, and too much talking without putting things to action had taken place.

I looked into the mirror and my swollen midsection was testament to the fact that, instead of being hungry for the hustle and grind, instead of making and taking opportunity, I had settled into being just another goober. And, if you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get the same damn things you always got.

It was time for radical change, because I willed myself to not be the run-in-the mill loser. It’s because I wanted something better for my family and for myself. It was time to be audacious and bold, not hiding behind excuses and complaints.

So, when I told my buddy I would start working out again with him, I was serious. Even though I’d gotten off work and dozed off briefly before he called, I had given my word. Though the bed felt so good and, after a hard day’s work, part of me felt I deserved a nap, I had a body to whip into shape.

I had a fuller, healthier life to live.

I had to rise above simply existing.

I had to step out of what my lazier self wanted to do by default.

I peeled my girth up off that bed, put on my workout gear, and told my partner I was on my way. And you know why? BECAUSE…I SAID SO, dammit!!!

Deez Nuts for President!

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Deez Nuts for President

The presidential race is getting tight, with the two major candidates leaving voters to choose the lesser of two evils. Early on, this mysterious figure cast his bid for the Oval Office. It seemed a joke then but should be given some serious consideration, now. After all, what do we have to lose?!

DEEZ NUTS for President. DEEZ NUTS for life!

Expect Deez Nutz

An Ode to Cap’n Crunch, Crack Dealer of the Breakfast Cereal World

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Cereal Triad

It’s Saturday morning. As a kid, my favorite thing was to get a huge bowl and watch cartoons. Of course, this was after fighting with my brother and sister over the prize in the box…

I grew up in a home where my mother did cruel and unusual things like buy bags of PUFFED RICE. There is NOTHING worse than eating a bowl of Styrofoam packing for breakfast! I think she was giggling off in the corner while we ate heaping spoonfuls, tears running down our little cheeks! Occasionally, she would splurge and get us Alpha Bits or Rice Krispies. We were completely deprived of anything Sir Captain of the Crunch had to offer.

One day, I finally moved OUT of that bleak dungeon. I ventured into the grocery store one Saturday evening and did something I’d wanted to do all my life: I purchased a box of Peanut Butter Crunch… And wound up eating the whole damned thing that night!!!

I’ve since given up sugary cereals for healthier stuff like granola, which I actually enjoy. However, every now and then, when I traipse down that cereal aisle, I can hear the Captain whispering to me like the crack dealer he is! I then take off running, often spilling the contents of my cart, trying to remember those painful months I spent in rehab, RIDDING myself of that man and all his sugary, sweet, delicious offerings!!!

Daylight Saving Time Out (Opposite of a Love Letter)

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Dear Daylight Saving Time,

You SUCK! You come around to disrupt my sleep and make life miserable. If you haven’t noticed, you have worn out your welcome, with your antiquated stories of the glory days. NO MORE! When I see your ass on the street, my boys and I are gonna jump you, take your wallet, then kick you down a flight of stairs. We’ll have your driver’s license and will visit your house to threaten Mrs. DST, in case she gets any bright ideas about calling the authorities. Maybe THEN you’ll get the hint that your presence is no longer required! You’ve got until sundown to get outta town–oh, that’s right: the time changed!!!

Sincerely,

Don, aka William Nefarious Hinderparts

Don’s Lexicon of Misappropriated Language

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DON’S LEXICON OF MISAPPROPRIATED LANGUAGE (Part 1)

Rod Serling set the standard with his speech that opens ‘The Twilight Zone.’ However, this other dimension has to do with using twisted, carjacked English, re-appropriated for use as I see fit. In this other dimension of not only sight nor sound but of mind, intentional misspellings, double entendres and sugar weaseling of words abound.

That said, here are the terms of the day, broken down so even troglodytes and prolific knuckleheads can understand. Enjoy!

NATHAN: A substitute for “nothing.” In a sentence, “That fool thought he was going to rob me but was only doing it for practice. I ain’t had nathan in my pockets but lint!”

DEM SHYTZ: A rehashing of “them shits” which, in itself, is improper English. A favorite saying for Steed (have you read ‘Dead Assets’ yet, mang?), which is a stand-in for just about anything in plurality. In a sentence, “The barbecued ribs were too mild, so I had to put some hot sauce on dem shytz!”

MANG: Scoobert Beardy Mills and PastorKevin McLemore love this term, which I derived from ‘Scarface’ and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Mannish Boy” (though the latter comes off more like “main”). It’s a mispronunciation of “man”, which, when used in a sentence, surpasses gender and is a stand-in term for a person for whom the speaker has some sort of affection or passion. It is often used with the term “main” for humorous effect: “Herb is cool. He’s my main mang, mang!”

SLAPCHU: An antiquated term from my old neighborhood, which denotes the putting down of one’s pimp hand. “What?! You been out on the corner all night and this is all you have to show for it?! Don’t make Sweet Daddy Sugar Weasel have to slapchu!”

CAT: A term of affection for a cool dude. Often used with the term “smoove”: “Reggie might be the smoovest cat we know!”

WWF TERMINOLOGY: Used for dramatic, laughable effect: “Every time I get into it with my old lady, she be comin’ off the top rope like Jimmy Superfly Snukka with the People’s Elbow!”

PIMP SLAPPAGE: Just what it sounds like.

UNCONSCIOUS: To a point that surpasses the senses; to an extreme.

SPANKS: Thanks.

UNDEROOS: (Often used in conjunction with a favorite superhero) Underwear or pajamas, most often for comedic effect. “I was lazy as hell yesterday, sittin’ around the house all day rockin’ my Captain America Underoos with the trapdoor and the feet in ’em…”

FYC: Short for “f*** yo’ couch”, from the “Rick James” segment of ‘Chappelle’s Show’. A favorite inside joke and term of endearment between me, Robert Hall and Charles Streat. The couch can also be replaced with a loveseat (FYLS), ottoman (FYO) or any other random piece of furniture.

HOLLIN’ 1-8-7 WMDIYM, FOOL: A term used for a random burst of laughter or unexpected comedy. I won’t explain “WMDIYM”, though. Reference Snoop and you’ll be fine.

WHIPPER-SNAPPER / GIPPER-GAPPER / YOUNG GRASSHOPPER / PADAWAN: A younger or relatively inexperienced individual.

TRUE DAT: Same as “Ain’t that the truth!”

I’LL BEHAVE: Same as “Allow me to retort. I just posted something bordering on X-rated when this is a PG-13 format…but I really ain’t sorry!”

A Nightmare in Orange (Part 1)

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Spooky Apartment (Obtained from Fazinphoto.com)

The entire apartment building was haunted—I could feel it in my bones. We stood there, staring up at the looming tower, which seemed to be the last dying thing against a backdrop of urban decay. Even the moon, which I could’ve sworn had been full and bright before we’d ventured into that part of town, refused to glow. Like a coward, it hid behind cloud cover, and I halfway couldn’t blame the heavenly body for doing so.

“Will ya look at that,” Marq said, holding his cap to his head as a warm gust of wind sucked the breath from his broad chest.

Lisa tilted her head back cautiously, as if the boogeyman was going to suddenly pop out and scare her out of her skin.

“Yeah, it’s a focal point of spiritual activity,” I informed them, “which is another way to say it’s haunted.”

“How do you know,” she asked, mesmerized by the five-story pile of bricks.

“I just do.”

“You sure we have to go in,” Marq asked. Though he was the largest of us—the highest curl of his head standing above mine a good two inches, his athletic frame draped in a football jersey—he was the most easily spooked.

“You big wuss,” Lisa ribbed. She was rarely kind to her on-again-off-again boyfriend. For the moment, they were on the outs. I suspected she was pretty enough behind thick, pop-bottle glasses, but would never take them off for confirmation. Kissing her would be like kissing my kid sister—at least, that’s what I kept telling myself. She probably would’ve belted me if I’d tried. Despite wanting to push her aside, there was something about her plaited, sun-bleached hair and cocoa skin that sent electricity up my spine.

“Yeah,” I sighed, answering my best bud. “My uncle lives in there. And, as Lisa said, you are a big wuss! In fact, that should be your new nickname!”

Marquez shot me a frown, his café au lait face sprinkled with bits of coffee that were a major turn-on for Lisa. She loved the freckles on and green eyes set in his olive-toned face, while I silently pined for her. And Marq, well, let’s just say he was enamored with the reflection in every mirror he encountered. We were all children of Caribbean parents; Marquez’s folks hailed from Puerto Rico, Lisa’s from Jamaica, and me, a second-generation Haitian. We made for an odd trio but this was my crew.

Clouds of moths, gnats, and mosquitos danced around the pale streetlamps. With the exception of the lights on the top floor, the building looked abandoned. That was where my father’s youngest brother, Georges resided. He’d called me and I came running to his rescue. I never asked why he couldn’t simply leave on his own. I put on the spectral specs I’d fashioned and didn’t have to question his logic—the place was overrun with ghosts like a Chicago apartment with a cockroach infestation. I had a deep disdain for cockroaches. They (the ghosts, not the bugs) swam in and out of the windows, most of which were broken, the jagged edges of glass having no effect on their ethereal movements.

“Whaddaya see,” Marq asked nervously.

“Yes, John-Henry,” Lisa joined in. “Don’t keep us in thrall!”

I grinned. Dead leg on a crooked love triangle or not, I was the de facto leader; the brains of the outfit, if you will. Oh, you’re probably wondering about my name. Well, let’s just say my mom and dad wanted to pay homage to an American folk hero while appeasing their desire for a strong Haitian moniker. I’d taken it upon myself to anglicize Jean-Henri so I’d be able to fit in. But fitting in was awkward for a gangly, 6’1” kid with the complexion of a black grape, an oversized head, and large extremities. I could palm a basketball and wore shoes large enough for a pro athlete, but alas, couldn’t dribble to save my life. What I did have in spades was smarts and a rather velvety voice at such a young age. Even then, I figured I might have a future in radio.

My maternal grandfather, who was reputed to have been a witch doctor of sorts, told me in broken Creole that I had a shine to me. That meant I could see spirits. The glasses I’d created helped to take their blurry figures and put them more in focus. He was a strange guy, my Gran-Pere, always mumbling stuff with a chew stick in the corner of his mouth. Most was in his brand of French, with snippets of English here and there. I was amazed by his creepy stories of zombies and magic and…

“Hey,” Marq yelled, giving me a light punch in my left arm. A light punch from that behemoth meant I slid to the right about a foot, and part of the earth knocked out of alignment just as much. The dude was strong as an ox, which was a benefit to him being my best bud. “Pull your head out your butt and let’s get to work, man!”

Lisa peered at me and smiled, her teeth beaming like beacons on the darkened landscape. I didn’t want to like her as much as I did and I feared what could happen if I’d stepped out of line with Marq. It didn’t matter that he didn’t want her half the time…

“You’re always daydreaming,” she said.

“He’s living the dream,” the jock chimed, making reference to my head perpetually floating in the clouds.

“Nah, bro. I’m dreaming to live!”

Marq paused and blinked, not understanding my brand of humor. “Whatever, man. Let’s get this over with.” He shook his head with a smirk and began trudging toward the building entrance, Lisa in tow.

Well, I thought I’d said something clever that would make them take notice. Guess not. I pulled a flashlight from my bag and followed suit.

The foyer leading to the staircase was black as a starless rip in the night sky. There was the spirit of an old doorman frozen in a long bygone era, when the neighborhood hadn’t looked like it’d been through a WWII air raid. In his dapper blue coat with gold trim and his hat placed perfectly, he stood proud. It was a warm summer evening and, as sharp as his outfit was, no living person in his right mind would wear such a heavy coat in this weather. But the dead were always dressed as they had been at the point of their transitions, their see-through bodies having no sense of hot or cold.

Typical of the deceased, his eye sockets were hollowed out. This was a fact that used to scare the cornbread stuffing out of me when I was little, but was nothing to be afraid of once I’d gotten used to it. The problem was encountering a spiritual entity with eyes—something that made me cringe and my skin crawl with invisible spiders. But the doorman was nothing more than a harmless, interactive recording. And he was friendly, too.

“Evening, sir,” I said with a nod of my head, to which he smiled.

“Who the heck are you talking to,” Marq asked, the doorman completely invisible to him. We’d done this half a dozen times but it was hard to retrain a troglodyte. “You do this every time.”

And you figured Marq would’ve finally gotten used to the fact that I could see ghosts and they could see me, too. That was part of the shine Gran-Pere recognized. I often saw my grandfather, too, whenever his spirit would wander into my room and stand guard over my bed.

“You already know the deal,” Lisa said, shaking her head and stifling a laugh. She couldn’t see spirits, either, but she was an empath who could feel them.

“Yeah,” my lug nut of a friend complained, “Doesn’t mean I’ll ever get used to it. John-Henry, you give me the heebie-jeebies!”

I chuckled and took that as a compliment. Without another word, we took to the stairs.

(Image obtained from Fazinphoto.com)