Monday, January 26, 2009

I Got Da' Hookup!!! (Unngghh!)

If there's one thing black folks love (other than ribs, and grape soda, and beefin', and Frankie Beverly, and...) it's gettin' Da' Hookup. Something about receiving free stuff or unearned privileges is so great that it nearly atones for years of chattel slavery and vocoders.


I've gotten some nice hookups in my day. I'm a handsome, charming guy, with a nice smile and sometimes this opens doors I could never otherwise imagine.

Hookups come in all sizes and shapes. You can be given entrance to places you'd never otherwise get into. You can be given opportunities others would kill for. You can get your #3 with an orange drink supersized without even asking. It's a beautiful thang.

Once, long ago back in my Negro College HBCU days, CJames and I wanted to go see the latest rap star as he made a stop at a nightclub in our sleepy Southern college town. The place was packed and sold out, but we somehow managed to talk our way in[1], elbow our way to the front, and witness the greatness of the Notorious B.I.G., who performed hits from Ready To Die right in front of us. With one lazy eye, and one eye temporarily shut due to that endo, it was still a riveting performance that rates right up there with my best college memories of all time, evar. What. A. Hookup.

There was the one time when I really wanted to take all my kids (the B-Ball team I coach) to an NBA game but had no real means of footing the bill for a dozen tweens and guardians. I wrote a pleading, somewhat embellished story to the PR department of our local team, saying how nice it would be to take my group of overachieving young men to an actual NBA game. I sent off the email and heard nothing for seemingly months. One day, I got wise and just cold-called the team's front office out of the blue. I explained to the PR person that I'd written a letter (I had also sent a copy via snail mail) pleading for tickets to reward my kids, but had yet to hear anything. She said no such letter had arrived, and was about to hang up. I then threw on my best Keith Sweaty "do it fo' da' kids" plea, and before you know it, my whole team, assistant coaches, parents, and even family were sitting 10 rows from the court, with free team merchandise and food to boot. Turns out the team's reserve point guard had a tax writeoff charitable foundation that literally gave up 35 prime seats just on GP. We even got to arrive early and watch the pregame shootaround. What. A. Hookup.

My Day Job is also a hookup of sorts. A reputable company was hiring at our school, but I'd heard some bad things about their entry level pay, so I didn't even bother signing up for a interview. Besides, I'd already taken a job with a telecom and was moving to Dallas. The day before the company arrived on campus for the interviews my homegirl, who had just gotten an offer from them, called me and told me her starting salary. The job was in DC, which was definitely an upgrade over Big-D. I was suddenly interested, but all the interview slots were full. The next day, I arrived at the campus employment services office, and somehow sweet-talked the program coordinator (she knew my face well by then) to carve out an extra slot with the recruiters. I don't know how that woman did it, but I somehow got 30 minutes of facetime with the company HR folks in the cafe at lunchtime. My credentials were tight, I got the gig, and the rest is history. What. A. Hookup.

Perhaps my greatest hookup of all time was inadvertent. My brother (long since married) knew a very nice single young woman from his church. He somehow managed to finagle convince her to show up at his son's baby shower, and he and his wife somehow managed to forcibly pair introduce me to this young lady. 8 years and two kids later, AverageSis and I are still goin' strong. Yeah, I had to do all the legwork, but my brother and his wife put the plan in motion. What. A. Hookup.

Okay, I told you mine, tell me yours.

What's your greatest hookup story of all time? Do white folks get "hooked up" too, or is this just garden variety white privilege?

[1] Or did we just bumrush the door, CJames? I forget after all these years, but it was one helluva show, Baybee Bay-bay!

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