Best of the Blog 2014

2014 was a very good year for movies, a very good year for TV, and a very good year for me (writing and health wise. I finished my first draft and started my second). To recap this past year on the blog, I will post links to my favorite posts from my favorite blogger… ME.

Yep. That’s right. It’s a clip show. Everybody’s doing them, so why shouldn’t I.

Henry V

“Honoring yourself, my lord, it’s like watching you masturbate.”

When I started this blog, back in 2011, all the experts said that I should streamline it down to one specific theme. Find my audience, so to speak.They also said to post on a set schedule. But as always I said screw all that and did whatever the hell I wanted to do.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Instead Mel Rook & the 7 Deadly Sins has become a place to post whatever I like when I like. And if that’s not what the experts like. Screw them. They don’t read my blog.

I promise to give you guys more of what YOU like.

The Flash

“And what exactly is THAT?”

Maybe you want more poetry and more short stories. I promise those will return in the new year. I plan to post the first chapter of my book online but only for the people who want to read it. (Soon as I figure out how to password protect it and then I’ll just give out the password to anyone who wants to read it)

Maybe you want more photos from around the block. I promise to get outside more in 2015, possibly even out of my neighborhood (I haven’t been to Brooklyn in a while). More photos in 2015. (I know I said that last year but this year I mean it)

Some people like my autobiographical musings, the more personal stuff. And you should know I will always find ways to reveal too much information about myself in the most fun ways possible. But only if it’s creatively interesting. This isn’t a diary.

But rest assured, there will be tons of TV reviews and loads of movie reviews and ton-loads of DVD reviews …and music …and trailers …and surprises and all of that. So…

EVERYBODY WINS!!!

(Or at least that’s the plan)

Points

But here are my top five favorite posts by me from 2014. with my top ten personal faves marked… so it’s a top five in each category and a top ten at the same time. (So yes. Once again, I’m trying to please everyone)

I hope you enjoy it.

To the list…

First up…

The Movies:

"Yes!"

“Yes!”

2014 was a fantastic year for movies but I didn’t get out to the theater as much as I wanted. The experts say, (those guys again) that if I want to review movies, I should do them one at a time and include a plot synopsis and all that stuff. But again I said screw that. I’ll do them 5…6…7 at a time and make them quick and painless. You want to know the plot, rent the movie… go to Wikipedia.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Best Picture 2013 Part 1 (PERSONAL FAVE)

American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Her

6 Quick Reviews of 6 DVD Releases in June

The Machine, Non-Stop, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The LEGO Movie, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

5 Quick Reviews of 5 DVD in July (and One Rant) (PERSONAL FAVE)

A Million Ways to Die in the West, Winter’s Tale, Bad Words, The Raid 2, Transcendence, Jodorowsky’s Dune

5 Quick Reviews in September (The Return of the Quick Review) 

Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, The Signal, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Snowpiercer

5 Quick Reviews of 5 New DVD Releases for December 2014 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Frank, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Maze Runner, This is Where I Leave You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Next up…

Television Shows:

Bob Odenkirk and Alison Tolman

“This whole thing is just a little self-indulgent. Dontcha know.”

At the start of 2014 I took on a monumental task; to list 100 worthy TV shows in ten categories. I called it My Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts. It’s still going on. And once again I found it hard to stick to the rules (even the ones I set for myself).

And here I couldn’t just pick five. So I listed them all.

I can’t live by my own rules, man… um… Mel

TV Mega Post Part 1 (New Shows)

This was the first one. Not the best list but a bunch of these shows turned out to be amazing. I’m proud of it.

TV Mega Post Part 2 (Imports)

TV Mega Post Part 3 (Cable Comedies & Cartoons)

TV Mega Post Part 4 (Premium Comedies)

TV Mega Post Part 5 (What The Hell Happened to the Sitcom?) (PERSONAL FAVE)

This became a rant about TV sitcoms when three of my favorites were cancelled right before I posted it.

TV Mega Post Part 6 (Variety Shows)

I posted this a few days before Joan Rivers died and didn’t have the heart to edit it.

TV Mega Post Part 7 (Broadcast Dramas) (PERSONAL FAVE)

TV Mega Post Part 8 (Cable Dramas)

The last two installments are coming soon. I promise.

Next…

Poetry, Personal and Miscellaneous:

Typewriter

I really need to update my computer.

Again those experts are fond of saying that I should not reveal too much about myself and about my personal life. That somehow I should be ashamed. Well of course I’m ashamed. I’m a shameful dude. I’m embarrassed by how often I use the word dude. But sitting quietly in my shame does no one any good. So, if posting about my life makes just one person feel better while making five thousand other people embarrassed for me… it was all worth it. And I can do my happy dance. So once again I say to the experts…

I can’t live by your rules, man!

The Littlest Psychopath (PERSONAL FAVE)

I like this story. It’s a condensed, somewhat fictionalized version of the author’s childhood. I cry every time I read it. I can’t wait for the sequel.

7 Times a Movie Saved My Life (PERSONAL FAVE)

I really like movies and when I realized that there was a movie at the center of most of my major life decisions, changes and memories. I had to share them.

The Wind and The Water (for Maya)

A poem for Maya Angelou

What She Said

A poem for a former friend

Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters (PERSONAL FAVE)

Not really a TV post but a fun list of my favorite Bisexual TV characters. But since I posted it, early this year, the list has grown. I smell a sequel.

And lastly…

Photos from Around the Block:

Simpson's Clouds The Siiimpsonnnns

Simpson’s Clouds
The Siiimpsonnnns

Looking at these dates, it seems like Photos from Around the Block is a summer job. I didn’t get out of the house much this year. I did a lot of writing. I moved my treadmill into the living room. So I still did a lot of walking. I just didn’t go anywhere. But if I made New Year’s resolutions (I don’t), mine would be to get out of the house at least once a week in 2015. I know that doesn’t sound like much but I can go months without seeing the sun.

I declare 2015 will be the year of the sun.

The Return of the Photos from Around the Block May 4

Down at the Park

Down at the Park

 

Return TWO May 17 (PERSONAL FAVE)

This one was my personal favorite from today

This was my favorite from this year.

 

Slight Return July 20

This sign doesn't work at all.

This sign doesn’t work at all.

 

The Walking Returns August 6

Harlem

Harlem

 

The Return of the More August 19 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Reflections 1

Reflections

And that my friends is the best of the blog for 2014.

It has been a pleasure to share the things in my head and my heart with all of you.

Have a happy and prosperous new year everyone.

– Mel

The Littlest Psychopath

(a sob story)

This is the story of a boy called Melvin. And before you think he is me… he is not me. We sort of share a name but he is not me. He is somebody else. A little boy who grew up in a house full of psychotic people. And everyone knows that psychos prey on the weakest. And he was the weakest. He was the littlest psychopath.

Let me see… There was Violent Psycho, Trust-Me Psycho, Grandma Psycho, Rapey Psycho, Uncle Psycho and a half-brother he called monster, that we’ll call Half-Monster Psycho.

And before you feel too bad for little Melvin. He was not alone in this house full of demented psychos. He had a friend; A teddy bear, he named Teddy Beam. This was his companion and protector… that doubled as a football on its day off. Its name was Theodore Melvin Beam.

Its first name was Theodore because Melvin was only five years old when he found it and failed to realize that this was an awful name for a teddy bear. He chose Melvin as its middle because HE was Melvin, so shouldn’t his bear be named Melvin too. And its last name was Beam because… Well, because it doubled as a football. Teddy Beam was a good football.

And I know he sounds like me, but little Melvin was not me. He was not. He was somebody else.

At five years old, Melvin wanted to be an actor when he grew up.

Grandma Psycho was an elderly heroin addict whose habit had outgrown her income. Melvin loved her for her stories and for her butter and maple syrup sandwiches. Heroin addicts sure love their sugar he never thought, because he was only five and had no idea.

When she baby-sat for him, they would read tarot in the kitchen and eat their sticky sweet sandwiches and laugh at the ghosts and demons that came to mess with them. Grandma Psycho would stay with him until the money was gone and the drugs wore off and there were no more suckers, who only wanted to hear what they already knew told to them by an old soul dealing out cards while an even older one stared blankly at their dead relatives or lost friends and grasped his little teddy bear for dear life.

But once the drugs wore off and there was nothing left in the house to steal, she would rent little Melvin to the local pedophiles for money. That’s right. Grown men would pay her money. Not a lot of money. Just enough for her to get good. Money to spend time with a little boy.

“Grandma needs her fix.” she said “And grown men need their hugs. She’ll just be in the next room getting high on these here drugs.”

Theodore Melvin Beam was a tan classic bear. One of his eyes was brown while the other was a black button. He had been someone else’s bear before Melvin and they had apparently let things happen to him. Bad things. But Teddy Beam wants you all to know that he’s safe now. He’s good.

At six years old, Melvin wanted to be a comic book artist when he grew up.

Uncle Psycho was Melvin’s least favorite uncle. He would take Melvin down the block to watch him and his friends drink cheap wine and get into fights. Sometimes there was blood and they would have to run. Or down to the bar or to the brothel until it got dark and Melvin couldn’t wake him because he was too drunk. Or until Melvin was forgotten somewhere along the way, like that jacket you’re always leaving everywhere, the one your mother tells you that you’re going to lose one day.

And the whores would kiss Melvin’s fat little cheeks and pretend to care about him in between giving blow jobs to patrons and it got too dark and he’d have to find his own way back in that dark and the six-year-old boy, older than his years, his cheeks stained cherry red, would head for the door to walk home in the dark.

“You’ve forgotten your jacket sweetie.” a working girl might say. “Can you make it back alone?”

“I got it. I ain’t scared at all.” In fact, it’s scarier at home.

Theodore Melvin Beam always smelled of wine, whiskey and spirits. Jack Daniels was his favorite. He could drink with the best of them. He was the most interesting bear in the world. Then Teddy Beam turned to the camera and said, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

At seven years old, Melvin wanted to be a professional photographer when he grew up.

Violent Psycho and Trust-Me Psycho were a couple. They were in love. He bought her things and made her feel pretty and wanted. Trust-Me’s mother, Melvin called her Grandma, was fond of telling her that no one would ever want her and she believed it. So when a violent psychopath brought her flowers, she overlooked that he’d been abusing her seven-year old son so badly that he’d been hospitalized twice.

Melvin had a scar over his eye where the doctors had to cut it open so that it wouldn’t go blind. This was before the time when “I fell on the swing” or “I bumped into the door” was questioned. No one cared and no one came.

Melvin was Violent Psycho’s whipping boy. VP had a long oak staff that… (Oh do you guys mind if I call him VP? It’s just so much easier) Well, he had a bo staff. And it was that he used to beat the hell out of little Melvin. In the morning. The afternoon. At night. He was a martial arts instructor, militant radical and an overall sadistic human being. Your basic violent psychopath.

At dinnertime, Melvin was his favorite little plaything. He would make Melvin stand beside the table with his arms held out at his sides parallel to the ground. If they dropped at any point, if Melvin got tired or lost his focus, VP would snatch up his bo staff and whack Melvin across the thighs with it or across the back or on the head.

While the rest of the psychos ate dinner in silence, Melvin had to stand there like a statue straining against gravity until everyone was finished with the meal. Or until Melvin had gotten angry enough or tired enough to drop his arms in defiance and take the beating. The savage beating that had hospitalized him twice. Some days he added books to his hands.

And before we go much further I can tell you think he’s me. He is not me. He’s somebody else. I say this honestly.

One day VP thought it would be amusing to juice Melvin’s most hated vegetable and force him to guzzle a large glass of beet juice in one go.

It got messy.

Little Melvin tried his best to keep it down. But it came back up violently and so Melvin ran into the bathroom to escape the beating. He would beat Melvin even when he wasn’t mad. Just for fun. So an angry beating was always particularly brutal.

The bathroom was the only room in the house with a lock. It wasn’t actually a lock but a hook and eye. It was a wall, a moat with alligators, a tower with sentries, an impenetrable force field with a thousand-year power source. It was a little piece of metal with a bracket screwed into the door frame. It was a place of solace.

Violent Psycho huffed and hollered. He banged on the door. He could have easily smashed it in but he enjoyed the game. Even angry, he enjoyed the terror he created.

Then there was the sweetest little knock. It was Trust-Me Psycho’s sweet little knock on the bathroom door. So he unhooked the eye and let her in. She smiled.

“He’s not angry anymore. Breathe. You can stay here if you like.” And then she shoved him out the door. I even think she whispered, “Psych!”

Theodore Melvin Beam was just a stuffed animal and did not feel pain. This came in handy when he was dropped from a great height. He was often dropped from great heights but he never complained. Teddy Beam was always cool like that. He was very cool.

At ten years old, Melvin wanted to be a rock star when he grew up.

Trust-me Psycho was fond of saying I love you when dropping Melvin off with strangers. “Out of sight, out of mind.” she used to say. She said a lot of things. “I love you.” “I’ll kill you.” “Who are you? Why are you trying to hurt me?” “What happened to my spaceship?” OR “God hates me.” Were some of her favorite things to say, to the wall, the door and anyone and no one in particular.

She met a man at school who lived with a mute boy. They were not related. Just a mute little boy who lived in his house. (Sounds legit, right?) She would drop little Melvin off at this house and leave him there so the boys could play.

I’m going to call the man RP for short. It stands for Rapey Psycho because his house was a full on pedo-trap. He had coins on his floor. Dimes and nickels that were easily pocketed when he wasn’t looking. And candy dishes near the sofa. Kids would come over to play and leave with almost a dollars worth of change and a pocket full of candy.

But on the table, where he sat and watched the children, he kept dollar bills, just out of reach. This one time Melvin took a chance and sat down with him at the table where the bills were. Melvin had gotten greedy for money and that’s when he served Melvin the Kool-aid, the Kool-aid with the quaaludes in it, or whatever, that knocked him right out cold.

And when Melvin opened his eyes he found himself on RP’s large creepy water-bed. The little mute boy, the little mute boy who was not the man’s relative, still played on the carpet. Who leaves their child in the house of a man with a large creepy water-bed and a boy who is not his own?

So when the man suggested a sleep-over, a chill ran up Melvin’s spine. Trust-Me Psycho gave him the choice. He could sleep over the pedophiles house or come back home where Violent Psycho had something special ready for him. It was his choice.

The little mute boy said, “Stay.” Not mute after all. Just scared and lonely. Melvin chose the gentler of the two options. He chose to stay.

“Giving your child to pedophiles seems like the family trade. But you’re doing this for nothing, bitch. At least Grandma was getting paid.”

Theodore Melvin Beam sleeps in a bed. He is hugged for comfort and not for pleasure. He chases away the demons with his softness. But the years have hardened his material. He is still soft on the inside but his outside is course and hard. Don’t judge him by his exterior. He has feelings, you know.

At fifteen years old, Melvin wanted to be a filmmaker when he grew up.

He was not alone. Melvin was not alone. There was someone watching from the corner of the room. There was someone with him. There was someone there at every turn. A monster in the corner delighting from his pain. Melvin had a half-brother. A half-monster. Three years older and dumb as a bag of bricks. He was friendly one moment and a complete monster the next. His half-brother must have hated Melvin like something out of a fairy tale to watch all that abuse and say nothing. He watched years of torture and torment that his little brother endured.

But at nicer times, they would play catch. During the down times, Teddy would fly through the air like a beam of light. He was a pretty cool football, that Teddy Beam.

His brother was not a football. He was a smiling witness. He was there to pour salt on the wounds because the psycho rolls downhill. He was glad he was no longer the youngest, the weakest, the littlest psychopath. And that smile of relief for not being the center of abuse never left this half-monster’s face.

He left home when he turned eighteen and never looked back. He asked Melvin to come with him. Melvin had a girlfriend. Melvin was in High School. Melvin was fifteen and moving across the country with a half-monster just didn’t seem like the right decision. The devil you know. Plus by this time all the other psychos were dead or in jail. Except for Trust-Me Psycho, who Melvin desperately wanted to trust. So, he chose to stay.

“I saw them beat, saw them rape you.” he said. “Put you in the hospital twice. But I don’t think it was that bad. It was actually kind of nice.”

And then he left.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good…

“And you don’t need a teddy bear.” his brother said, as Melvin complained in earnest, then he ripped it from his arms and then he threw it in the furnace.

Melvin stood and stared in horror as Theodore Melvin burned.

“Now you have nothing!” The monster slammed the door, never to return.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good friend. He was a good companion. He was even a good football. And he will be missed. R.I.P.

At seventeen years old Melvin didn’t know what he wanted to be if he ever got to grow up. It really wasn’t that important anymore.

He was left alone… with HER.

Trust-Me Psycho was in rare form. She was talking to herself and redecorating her life as if she lived by herself. But there was someone breathing in the next room. There was Melvin; Her son. She couldn’t drop him off with relatives; They were all dead, or pawn him off on psychos who were all in jail.

And the boy was a handful. He had anger issues and personality problems. He had beaten up those boys at camp and bullied kids at school. He had yelled and screamed at his grandmother and never visited on her deathbed. He had threatened the lives of her boyfriends and set fire to their things. He punctured that man’s water-bed and flooded his house. He had chased his uncle with a knife when he tried to touch him. He had no respect for his elders. No respect for his mother. The screaming. The fighting with his brother. The temper tantrums. She couldn’t take anymore of this… this… little psychopath. He was a psychopath and she just couldn’t.

“What do you want from me?” she asked. “Stop looking at me.” she ordered. “Are you telling your friends that I’m a bad mother?” She was all over the place. But then suddenly calm.

She said, “I love you, little Melvin. Of that there is no doubt.” and then she swung open the front door and screamed. “Get out. Get out! GET OUT!!!!”

Melvin, after seventeen years, had finally found himself psychopath free… and homeless. Homeless and psychopath free. Well… there was one more left; Melvin himself.

He had survived Grandma, Uncle, Violent, Rapey, Trust-Me and Half-Monster Psychos. And even lost his imaginary friend along the way (a psycho in his own right and one hell of a football). But there was one more psychopath to go. And this would be the trickiest one to get rid of.

He decided to decide that he did not want to live with Melvin anymore. He did not want to BE Melvin anymore. Melvin was a victim. Melvin was a sad-sack. Melvin was a whipping boy.

He would change his name and become someone else. Someone else entirely. Someone who didn’t have the same skeletons as Melvin, the same psychos in his past.

He would change his last name from that old man’s name to something given to him by someone he liked.

He would shorten his first name to something he wanted to be called. Something better.
Something that wasn’t short for anything. And he would just move on.

But this was not a fairytale. It does not have a happy ending. He tried to finish High School but didn’t graduate with his class, mostly because of attendance but also because his life-long straight A’s became straight D’s overnight.

And he would always have trust issues and relationship problems that had deep roots. And though he’d exhausted the hospitality of his friends, after three years of night school (while sleeping on the subway), he finally got his diploma. And would start his new life. Freeing himself from his old one.

It is not a fairytale. But the one thing he learned was how to survive. This new man was a survivor. The memory of old Teddy Beam still comforted him though it had been replaced by a psycho kitty. A cat, which is a better companion for a grown man than a teddy bear.

And I know what you’re thinking; That last part definitely sounds a lot like me. And I’ll give you that much.

“We may share the same scars and our state of mental health.” he said again. “but this story is not about me. It’s about somebody else.”

Okay?

The End

Injured Teddy

For Teddy Beam

Invasion! of the Ceiling Leak or Liquid Alien Space Portal

There was another leak (the third in eight years). But this one was different somehow. Perhaps this one was not of this earth. Perhaps it was an invasion from fluid space. (probably not… but maybe It’s better to turn it into something silly before I get angry)

By god, it was an invasion!

DSC_0218

It started as an alien space portal on my living room ceiling. It did not feel like they had come in peace. They would find me ready to defend this planet.

DSC_0219

The portal sprang to life and then, for want of a better word, “peed” tiny aliens into my home and into my large plastic bucket, or “welcome wagon”, for what felt like eons.

DSC_0220

And then it stopped. Orders from the mothership. The fall into the bucket had killed them by the thousands and the rest of their tiny army was retreating back to fluid space.

I think we won.

DSC_0221

It looks dormant now. Life has returned to normal. They say it was our gravity that did them in. They were vulnerable and hadn’t counted on our planet’s many plastic buckets.

We had won.

The Memorial

This ceiling bubble will stand as a memorial to the fallen until after I’ve gotten some sleep (and googled how to get rid of it).  2014-01-14. We & They will never forget. 

This planet is defended.

Sleep well my friends.

– Mel

N* Brown

On the street where I grew up, in the early 70’s, there was a young man named Nigger Brown. He was my friend.

His parents had given him the first name Nigger, over the strong objections of a shocked and, his mother liked to say, offended young nurse in the prison hospital where he was born.

It was just his name.

They named him Nigger for a reason that they never told him.

It was just his name.

His father was serving a life sentence for murder and he was conceived in the conjugal room of the state penitentiary, so perhaps it was some kind of statement or a protest that missed the mark.

His mother was arrested for selling knock-off Cartier watches in Times Square while she was 6 months pregnant and gave birth to little Nigger behind bars. So maybe his parents wanted him to grow up hard.

He was conceived in one prison and took his first breath in another. So if that was the case, and they had wanted him to grow up hard, then it surely worked because Nigger Brown grew up hard.

People who knew him either called him by his full name, “Niggerbrown!” just like it was one word.

Or if you knew him well, you called him Big Nig, Sweet Nig or just plain old Nig.

“Yo, Nig!”

“What up Big Nig?”

And in that deep booming baritone he would answer, “Sup?”

But anyone of any official capacity, social workers, teachers, his campaign staff, they just referred to him as Mister. They called him Mister Brown. As if Mister was his first name.

Some well-meaning low-level government employee along the way, in a state of panic, entered the letter N then an asterisk in place of his first name. So that was what it said on most of his official documents. Except for his Birth Certificate and his Social Security Card which both read Nigger Brown, all of his official paperwork read N* Brown.

And no one, not anyone, ever called him by his full first name alone, Nigger. It never happened. Not because he minded it or anything. It was just his name. A name that got him into trouble time and again, but just a name. A name that was more than a conversation starter, halter, ender, but just a name. It’s just that nobody ever used it in that way. Out of respect, maybe, or fear, I suppose. But he had told me one day that he didn’t mind it, being called Nigger. He only hated to be called boy. He did not like that at all.

“My name is Nigger Brown.”

When he introduced himself to people, he would call himself Nig since everybody else called him that. And on work applications he would write Nig but it would always end the same.

“Does this say Nig?”

“Yes sir.”

“N – I – G?”

“Yep.”

“You mean like as in,” then in a hushed tone. “- nigger?”

“Exactly like that.”

“And you’re going to tell me that’s your real name?”

“Yes it is. It’s my real name.” Opening his wallet. “And this is my Social Security card. I just want a job man.”

“Well… I will…” standing up, “keep your résumé on file and um…” showing Nig the door, “we’ll call you if something becomes available.”

His father was choked to death by a prison guard before Nigger had started school. He was awarded a huge settlement from the state that he couldn’t touch until he turned 18.

A week after his 18th birthday his mother overdosed on cocaine & diet pills leaving him alone with all that money. People had suggested to Nigger after she died that he have his name changed to something less shocking, less offensive but in his parent’s honor he refused.

Nigger is stubborn.

Nigger turned fifty-five early this year and still…

– Nigger has never held a steady job.
– Nigger always thought the odds were stacked against him or that the world was out to do him wrong.
– So Nigger had a bad attitude.
– Nigger never had a real relationship but I don’t think he really wanted one.
– Nigger never learned to trust anyone.
– And Nigger never took shit from anyone.
– But after the lessons of his parents’ deaths, Nigger never broke the law
– And Nigger never took drugs in his life.
– However for some, and some would say obvious, reason Nigger was always being harassed by the police.
– So Nigger had his lawyer on speed dial.
– Still Nigger always had some grand scheme, some big plan that he was working on even though he never followed through.
– Nigger always gave up too easy.

But Nigger was not lazy. He volunteered. He helped out in the community. He always kept busy.

Which is why it didn’t surprise me when I learned that Nigger Brown was running for the state senate.

He called me at home and said he wanted me to write a story about his campaign. He didn’t say much. He just told me to come to the old neighborhood and interview him.

And there he was on campaign fliers, attached to telephone poles and in familiar store windows. Our own Sweet Nig.

There he was, that same face, a few decades older. I hadn’t seen him since his mother died. But there he was under the words: FOR STATE SENATE.

The same face but smiling.

The same eyes but softer.

The same Nigger but older.

There he was, pictured in a beautifully tailored pinstripe suit right above the words, the bold red words:

VOTE for NIGGER BROWN.

Jails, Judges & Jokes

I enjoy making judges laugh.

I guess that’s a weird thing to say isn’t it.

But when you’ve been homeless and a drug users as long as I have, and have impulse control problems (and are mentally ill. But of course I didn’t realize it back then because I was always high or drunk, literally self-medicating) you find yourself in front of judges often. (Usually after a day or two in a cell)

And if you’re like me and you take absolutely nothing seriously and you like making people crack up in intense situations, you try to make the courtroom laugh.

Not a hard thing to do really.

In a tension filled room, a properly timed and appropriately short, respectful and funny comment said loud enough so that everyone can hear can cause the entire room to explode with laughter.

Okay maybe not easy for everyone but it’s easy for me. I’ve been doing shit like that all my life. But if you can make the judge laugh as well then you’ve done something.

There’s a line, a few lines actually, that you cannot cross. So much so that it’s better to not say anything than to do it wrong.

Firstly, it can’t seem like you’re making a joke. Self-defacing humor is good. An epic exaggeration is good. If you can throw in the fact that you just spent 2 days in a holding cell that’s always good too.

Secondly, it has to come organically meaning you can’t ask to speak just to tell your joke. You have to wait until you have been asked a direct question and it has to seem like it’s sort of the answer to the question.

Thirdly, and very important you cannot laugh or smile at your own joke. Especially if it goes over well. A well placed “I’m sorry” during the laughter is a good idea and a good humble statement right after is also a good practice.

Lastly, speak the hell up. Everyone has to hear you and hear the humbling statement afterward in the silence. You have gotten everyone’s attention. Say something sweet and humble.

Then shut the hell up and lower your eyes. You’ve won over the room & you’ve made the judge actually look at you, quite possibly like you. Don’t spoil that by showing ANY EGO.

Trust me. I’ve been arrested more times than I can count and I have never spent an hour in prison (hell, with my ego and my temper I wouldn’t survive a day).

But after several trips to court, the last guy kind of blew my whole act up and basically said If you come before a judge again (it will be me and) I will send you to prison. I don’t care why.

I think I made him like me too much. So he wanted to help me. And He did really. I haven’t been arrested since. I guess that’s all I needed to hear.

“You’re charming. You’re funny. You’re going to prison.”

“Huh?”

“Because I like you, I’m sending you to prison.”

“Oh.”

You know who else I like to make laugh?

Surgeons.

Right before they’re going to work on me. I like to break the entire operating room up. Somewhere between the gurney & the table I’m doing schtick.

So that just as I’m going under I’m thinking: “Everybody in this room likes me, I’ll be just fine.”

I haven’t died in surgery once.

I guess what I’m trying to say is; If someone holds your life in their hands, make ’em laugh.

– Mel