“Stealing us was the smartest thing they ever did. Too bad they don’t teach the truth to their kids.” Saul Williams~
Williams said that in one of his poems. In this case, Williams was referring to racism. But as I see it, we’ve all been stolen. I know I was stolen more than a thousand times and racism had nothing to do with it. We’ve all been stolen in different ways and for different reasons. Sometimes the theft was a bit more unexpected and sometimes, we it was about to happen.
I once told you in many cases, there are no victims in this world. There are only volunteers. This was me. I was a volunteer.
I suppose I was easy to steal because I was always looking for a new angle. I was always trying to find a way to ease the tension and solve the boredom.
I swear I was stolen at least a thousand times. I believed the truth about the lies and hopes there were lies about the truth —and although warned, my curiosity always led me forward. I was always drawn to the mystery light and wondered how such a toxic poison could be so tempting.
But that’s how it goes with temptation; you know you shouldn’t do it —you know it’s wrong, but that’s the tempting part; that’s the reason why you pay so much for the price of admission. And next, you’re through the gates and on your way. Next, you’re at the show and you feel alive against the odds. Now you’re a piece of a contagious machine and part of a social wheel that turns without stopping. Always moving, always going, relentlessly, and there’s no way out. And hell, even if there was, you’re in too deep to find the exit anyways. So might as well dig in deep
I tell you the devil’s best trick isn’t when he waves you over with an invitation. That would be too obvious and simple. No, the devil gets you by recommending you take a pass on this one. And that’s when he gets you.
That’s when the curiosity spins and the temptation begins. You know the dangers. You know the reasons why everyone tells you, “Stay away,” but yet, no one ever stays away. And in most cases, the people that warn us most are the same people that never listened to the advice themselves.
It’s always the older warning the younger not to smoke with a cigarette in their mouth. It’s always the older telling the teenager, “You’re too young to drink.” Meanwhile, it’s right there in the kid’s face.
This was me. In my case, I was warned a thousand times.
I was told, “You might want to take a pass on this one,” but of course, I never listened.
My town was a normal, everyday, dysfunctional town. There were good people in and bad people too. There were good times here and bad times as well. Moreover, there were good kids here and there were bad kids. Me, I was never so much of a bad kid as I was a lost one. I was young and unsure of the world. All I knew is the way I saw things, which to me, I assumed the way I saw things through the awkward focus of me during my uncomfortable years is the way the world looked. This is the way the world is. And that was that.
I was smaller than other kids my age. I was not an athlete. I was not one of the good looking or bad —No, That wasn’t me.
As I saw it, I was somewhere in the unnoticeable middle. I was somewhere between the disregarded and the uninvited.
Maybe this is where the first theft took place. Maybe this is when I believed the first few lies and tried to find a new way to ease the tensions and solve the boredom.
I remember the first time I stood around the liquor store with a few others and I stopped the ones on the way in who appeared to be “Cool” to stop them with the typical, “Excuse me,” and then I would ask them to buy us some booze.
We were just little kids. We were little kids trying hard to be grown. We were trying to be “Cool” or “Tough,” but in all actuality, we were just a bunch of young, pint-sized punks. Maybe we were stolen by the trick of being warned. Maybe we were stolen by the names on the bottle.
Maybe it was names like “Southern Comfort,” or how the name “Jack Daniels” came together. Maybe it was the label on the bottle, like say, when Johnny Walker came into the room.
Maybe the temptation was found earlier somewhere at the bottom of a wine glass with the remnants of red-stained trace at the bottom of the glass —and meanwhile, I knew there was something about the wine. I knew there was something dangerous about drinking too much of it. And furthermore, I knew I wasn’t supposed to drink it —but yet, everyone else drank wine and they all seemed fine. In fact, they all seemed happy after they drank wine. So why wouldn’t I want some?
Perhaps wine was more distinguished though. Maybe wine was more of an acceptable thing. But me, I liked the look and feel of something more dangerous because this fit my rebellion. Besides, I needed to look, be, sound, and act tough. and there was nothing tough about standing in the park drinking a glass of Merlot.
I remember the first time I was stolen.
We finally got someone to agree to buy us a bottle of Southern Comfort. And this was not because we knew what Southern Comfort tasted like. We picked this bottle because we heard others talking about the brand as if it were too dangerous for most people to handle. And it was.
It was too dangerous for me. I didn’t like the taste but I thought that was my fault. I liked the smell because it filled my nostrils with a sense of, “This stuff will kill you!” and that was the tease I was looking for
(Crazy, right? But it’s still true)
I couldn’t figure out why so many people drank this and enjoyed the flavor. It had to be there was something wrong with me. It must be me. Why else would this be so popular?
A short while after though, I started to understand a bit more about the genius behind drinking. I was less concerned about you or what you thought. I felt no pain or shame. I had a smile on, which was good. I wasn’t afraid anymore —and that was big because I was always afraid.
Suddenly, I understood the genius behind the burning flavor. Suddenly, the taste was not so bad. Until suddenly; the world changed and the room began to spin. Suddenly, I regretted the last few gulps and suddenly, my stomach reversed, and I lost sight of the genius behind the drink and became sick.
But I was taken for a while. I was stolen for sure. It had to be this was my fault. It had to be that I did something wrong, that I drank wrong, or that I needed to do something different.
Sure, I was stolen. But this was just one of the thefts. I remember when my youth changed from innocent to mischief —and I certainly remember when the mischief became more deliberate. I remember trying to prove myself and always trying to reach the next level of crazy. I fell in love with the excess of “More,” because as I saw it, I always wanted more of something.
I was stolen the time a bunch of us bought a few $20 bags that came from East New York, Brooklyn. I remember this was another “First time,” thing. And like I said, we were just a bunch of screaming, pint-sized, punks. All of us looked to prove ourselves and earn our stripes. All of us looked to reach the next level of crazy and improve our standings in the crowd. And well, cocaine, that was definitely crazy enough.
We found ourselves hidden away somewhere in the middle of a field. I saw this as a strange sense of initiation. We were hazed by the older kids in our town but we were also working hard to mirror the image of them —the tough ones, the crazy, longhaired rebellious ones, and yet there we were, not even completely out of puberty and trying to prove ourselves like crazy little soldiers.
I didn’t get much that night but what I had was enough. I sniffed a few lines but I had previously swallowed two hits of mescaline, which failed to hit the mark because I had taken a few the days before. But once the straw hit the mirror and once the white powder shot up my nostril; I tasted its bitterness in the back of my throat. I felt the rush come over me shortly after the sniff; the powder found its way into bloodstream, and then I felt swooshed away, high, and numbed like a perfect projectile floating in the air. I was weightless and painless and unafraid. It was perfect. I knew I was warned, but how could such a great feeling be so bad?
I was stolen alright. I was stolen the time I sat in white Camaro after taking a quick trip over to another town. I was handed a glass pipe and showed what to do. Then I was told, “Smoke this.”
I was stolen the time I sniffed a small bag and was told here, “this will help you fall asleep.”
I was stolen alright . . .
There is a reason why they say, “The first hit is always free.” But once you’re in, you’re in, and it’s like a nightmare ride at a theme park. You buckle in and you hold on tight because once the ride starts —there is no getting off and all you can think about is all the warnings you heard. And all you can think about is how the devil smiles because every warning you were told about becomes true.
Stealing us was the smartest thing the ever did—
This is how disease spreads. You know it’s there too. Everyone sees what’s happening and everyone complains about it but no one ever stops to wonder about why.
What’s the reason behind the action?
Me, I was stolen because I gave myself away to the action. I wanted to feel better. I wasn’t trying to ruin my life. At least, that wasn’t the intention. Somehow, I thought I would be fine and that the bad things would never happen to me. Or at least, I hoped not. It was a gamble but the temptation made it all seem so worth it
In the end, I did all the things I said I would never do . . .
all because I just wanted to feel better.
But it never gets better
at least, not that way.
And the devil smiles when you tell him goodbye. He tells you how he understands. “You go on,” he tells you. “It’s better for you that way,” he says.
Then the devil’s smile turns a bit more intense when he tells you, “You go on. But don’t worry. I’ll be sure to keep your seat warm,” because he know you’ll be back