Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Have Street Cred

Recently, I documented the time I spent driving a fork lift in a warehouse on the hard streets of Compton, CA. I spent my days, and some of my nights, with Crips, Bloods and guys from Grape Street, I'm not sure of their affiliation.

I remember one Friday morning, the boss handed us our paychecks. At lunchtime the warehouse crew chief, EZ or Yo-Yo or Kermit, said to me, "get in the car we're going to cash our checks."

Thinking we'd be on our way to the nearest Bank of America, I squeezed myself into the backseat of his hopped up lime-green 72 Chevy.

Minutes later we arrived at a sketchy-looking bodega. As EZ/Yo-Yo/Kermit explained, "We don't cash our checks at the bank. We don't have accounts there. Besides we get the stink-eye every time we walk into a place like that."

So I followed the guys to the back of the store where an older Hispanic guy gladly turned our checks into greenbacks. After he skimmed a percent and a half for himself, of course.

That was a long time ago.
But it was hardly the end of my connection to the Hood.

Last weekend there was a story in the LA Times about the surging popularity of Sizzurp. For those of you not in know, let me provide the 411 on this 420-like concoction.

Sizzurp is a cocktail made from codeine-fortified cough syrup (Promethazine), 7UP and Jolly Rancher candies. The opiate-based drink produces a sleepwalker-type euphoria. Indeed, many are speculating that rapper Lil Wayne recently ended up in the hospital because he drank too much Sizzurp.

I don't have any affection for the "music" of Lil Wayne. In fact when I do come across rap, all I hear is "motherf*cker this" and "motherf*cker that." And "grab my glock" and "suck my c....", they just don't write songs the way they used to.

But, I was onto Sizzurp way before any of the homies were.

Back in the late 90's I started having bad bouts of bronchitis. This was aggravated by my allergies to dust and Elm trees. Naturally, I live in a neighborhood forested with Chinese Elm trees. The coughing could get quite violent. And that's when my doctor wrote me the scrip for Promethazine.

Which, for the uninitiated, truly is the nectar of the gods.

I can understand how the Promethazine-induced euphoria could become quite popular. Particularly in neighborhoods east of the Harbor Freeway, where there's not much to feel good about.

Of course, I never abused the powerful narcotic cough syrup. Nor did I ever turn it into a cocktail. And drink it out of my pimp chalice. Though on occasion, I would up my dosage to a tablespoon and a half. And one year, I did obtain an additional refill long after my cough had subsided.

If you take into account that I used to hang with bangers and that I blazed a path for Sizzurp, I have all that it takes to be in a gang.

I'd probably be a Crip. Because I couldn't wear red, the official color of the Bloods.
Red tends to make me look fat.
OK, fatter.

No comments: