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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Speaking of Reality

I got an email in reference to my most recent Weekly Behavior Awards,, asking why I called the cops instead of just getting a little nuts with my former bad neighbors and menacing them the way they did others.

My response? That was the stupidest question I've gotten in a long time.

If you've ever seen the (Dave) Chappelle Show, then you might be familiar with his "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong" segment. It involves comic sketches of Chappelle in different scenarios portraying a man more intent on fitting a stereotype and portraying an image than in exercising good sense.

In one episode, Chappelle's character gets fired from a great job after threatening his boss whose attempt to make the character feel "included" caused the dummy to think his street cred would be diminished. In another episode, Chappelle's character is angry that another man is flirting with his girlfriend in a bar. The character decides in a split second that it's more important to "keep it real" than to collect his girlfriend and leave. So he accosts the flirter... and is promptly beaten like he stole something.

So let's review. Had I "kept it real" and got in my rude neighbors' faces, what bad could possibly have happened?

Hmm, let's see. They could have called cousin Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel, or cousin Ray Ray, the wannabe thug, and said I offended their honor. Suddenly I have a new enemy in Cletus or Ray Ray, who won't be interested in talking things through to non-violent resolution.

Or, my neighbors could have called police on me and said they felt menaced. Then my dumb behind gets led away in handcuffs all because I felt the need to prove how tough I was. And there's no way I'm letting that happen, 'cause I'm too pretty to go to jail.

So to anyone who thinks violent outbursts are a legitimate way to get your point across, you have fallen for the hype - especially that hype that comes in the form of song lyrics and music videos. Think. In some cases, "keepin' it real" is not all it's cracked up to be.


  • You are too pretty to go to jail. Not that there's anything wrong wiht that.

    I installed some machines in Greenhaven once, upstate New York. As Richard Pryor so aptly said: Thank GOD they have penitentaries.

    As much as I'd often like to scrape a key down a rude driver's car, as much as I'd like to pop someone, I never want to be in prison or even jail, and I never want to appear on COPS. Nicely put, Mr B.

    By Anonymous og, at 9:14 PM  

  • James, some of my neighbors suggested that I open the door and confront Crack--- during his hijinks. I don't think so ... always better safe than sorry.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 2:10 PM  

  • I disagree with your neighbors, Manola. Heroes only exist in movies, fire engines, and squad cars. Call the boys (and girls) in blue. Have them deal with this guy.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:48 PM  

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