Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Channelling Your Inner White Dude

I had an interesting day that seemed to exemplify the balancing act that is being a Black man in America.

[Editor's Note: Don't worry, this isn't one of those "downer" posts. It is, however, one of those "incessant rambling" posts. Consider yourself forewarned, and as always, Enjoy Responsibly.]

I recently figured out how to put bootleg ringtones on my BlackBerry. It's not really all that hard, you just add instrumental MP3 files to the phone's internal memory card, choose the desired song as your phone tune, and voila, you too can have the cell phone of a preteen!

And I'm soooo proud of myself for figuring this out.

Anyways, I'm here in Boston on official Day Job bidness all week, and while I love my ghetto ringtones on my own time, I'm smart enough to usually switch to the standard ringer when the situation deems in necessary.

So this morning, I'm in the midst of some in depth technical discussion with the customer when out of the blue, my phone rings.

A Milli! A Milli! A Milli! A Milli!

Awww crap, I forgot to switch tunes. It's a serious case of When Keepin' It Ring Goes Wrong!

A Milli! A Milli! A Milli! A Milli!

Needless to say, experienced and smooth Corporate Negro that I am, I pretended to not even hear anything. Unphased, I kept right on explaining my technical jibber jabber, and the customer bit my cue and pretended not to hear it either. Not even when the phone rang again a few seconds later.

A Milli! A Milli! A Milli! A Milli!

Since I'm particularly great at what I do, I didn't allow this relatively minor dose of C.Y.I.N. to derail my shine, and the day wrapped up around 5. Since I don't know anyone in this city, I was planning on just crashing early, when my customer invited me to join them at the Red Sox/Twins game, provided we could all manage to cop tickets. I guess Lil' Wayne didn't scare them off after all.

I'm no big baseball fan. Period. Although I'm trying to at least become a casual observer now that AverageToddler's here, the sport just doesn't do much for me. Plus, I'm usually leery of going anyplace where I'll be massively outnumbered by thousands of inebriated white folks. I mean, seriously, that's a recipe for disaster on some macro level, right?

But common sense prevailed. Yankee Stadium is kickin' the bucket this year. I'd already passed up a chance to hit Wrigley a few years ago, and I still regret that to this day. Who knows how long the venerable Fenway Park has left? I don't exactly get a chance to visit an American Icon everyday. You only live once, so why not?

So, after managing to wrangle some decent outfield bleacher seats for a mere $60[1] each, we got settled in for the ceremonial first pitch. And then it suddenly hit me.

I'm in White Guy Heaven!

I've been to enough sporting events to know that the Fenway experience is unique. The history. The mystique. The manicured greens. The pennants. The Green Monster. The Citgo sign. The hand operated scoreboards. The jumbled accents of the locals. The rooftop seats. The organ. The street level energy outside on Yawkey Way. The proliferation of green every darn where. The fact that every freakin' fan in attendance except for me had some variation of that iconic "B" logo on their person. The realization that except for the handful of brothers I saw sweeping and mopping in the concourses, I was probably the only Negro out of the 38,000+ in the stadium that wasn't swinging a bat. It sorta kinda has to be lived to be believed.

Even though I have an intense hatred for Boston (and NY for that matter) sports fans, I actually can understand why the Sox have such a manic following. These folks know how to be fans. They booed the visiting Twins lustfully. There was no BlackBerry tapping. Impromptu crowd waves broke out. Neil Diamond songs materialized out of thin air and were poorly sung. Soul claps were horrendously off-beat. Beach balls floated around the stands. Fans were knowledgeable of the game and the rosters. Every player had some crazy nickname and a cultlike following. And although Sox fans have a reputation for being overly obnoxious (see the photo above for proof[2]), everyone sitting around me was extra friendly. Gradually, the natural hater in me started to melt away. Somewhere around the 5th inning, as the Sox fell further and further behind, a strange thing happened.

I actually started cheering for them.

I picked up the "Let's Go Red Sox!", clap-clap! clap-clap-clap! chants. I winced everytime Manny Ramirez swung blindly for the fences only to whiff out. I did the cliche, yet still cool Soulja Boy style "Yoooouuuuuk" every time Kevin Youkilis came to bat. I ingested strange pork products that I'm sure took a solid 3 hours off my life expectancy. I snapped photos with the frequency of a Japanese tourist. I started hoping for a comeback. And oddly enough, when Manny Ramirex finally connected on a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 8th that helped complete said comeback, I found myself jumping around and hi-fiving everyone in my section.

It was darn near a storybook ending to a great night at a great park that I'll probably never forget, and can show and tell to my grandkids someday, all for just $60!!! And I loved every moment of it.

I guess you could call this Channelling My Inner White Dude.

This post didn't really have any point, other than to say that sometimes as black folks, we tend to not do certain things because we consider them "White Folks' Stuff". And sometimes, as a result, we miss out and keep ourselves in box of culturally accepted experiences when we really just need to give stuff a chance.

I'm not tellin' anyone to go jump out of an airplane, go whitewater rafting if you can barely swim, or otherwise take unnecessary chances with your life, but sometimes pushing the envelope and coming out of our shells is the essence of living.

Channelling Your Inner White Dude[3] won't improve your credit score, but it might could expose you to something new.

I still hate the Celtics though. Sorry.

Question: Tell me about a recent example of Chanelling Your Inner White Dude. Spool32 and Wilma, since you guys technically C.Y.I.W.D. permanently, share with us a recent case of C.Y.I.B.D.

Ramirez, Moss lead Red Sox over Twins [Yahoo! Sports]

[1] I know this sounds like a lot for a cheap seat, but it isn't. The Sox have sold out nearly 500 straight. It's a hot ticket to say the least.

[2] Man, is that kid starting early or what?

[3] Spare the comments. Of course living outside the box of doesn't have to be associated with "typical white folks stuff". I already know this. But admit it, C.Y.I.W.D. does make for a catchy post title.

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