THE CRANKY OLD MAN
Random thoughts and stuff from a cranky old man. Humor (maybe), satire, and some politics, mostly stuff from a confused head.
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Thursday, February 28, 2013
“THOSE KIDS DON’T HAVE ANYTHING!”
“THOSE KIDS DON’T HAVE
As a young
lad, my family was affluent.Well
looking back, my father who was a chemical engineer, did very well.My ex-wife would tell you we were filthy
rich.In truth we were comfortable and
my dad worked his ass off to create that comfort.As a kid, of course, all you see is people
with more stuff than you have, and you never feel the least bit privileged.
When I was
seven years old, I got a bike for Christmas.It was a green, one-speed Schwinn with skinny “Racing wheels.”The bike did not have hand brakes; it stopped
when you slammed backwards on the pedal.I preferred this method of braking because it allowed you to slam and
lean at the same time and come to a really cool sliding stop, much like a
skier. (We called the sliding stop a “Brody.”I have no idea why wecalled
it that.)It was my first bike. I
loved that bike. I went everywhere on that bike (in those days, seven year olds got a lot of leeway.)
In 1955 when I was
nine, our family moved from the West Coast to the East Coast. Relocation was part of the life of a Chemical
Engineer.The summer of my ninth year
was spent at my grandparent’s house in Ocean City, New Jersey; summer at the
Shore; me and my bike.
everywhere on that bike.I would ride to
the store and shop for candy and comics.I would ride to my friends.I
would ride to the beach.I never locked
the bike.People did not steal bikes in
One day I
rode my bike to the Ocean City Boardwalk to meet a friend.I left my bike by the boardwalk at the
“Colored Beach.”That’s right, in those
days, even in New Jersey, the beaches were segregated.“Coloreds” had their own beach and were not
allowed on a “White” beach.
For you young folks, “Colored”
people became “Blacks,” and then became “African Americans.”Today, one person who would have been called
“Colored” is now called “Mister President!”
thought nothing of leaving my unlocked bike on the “Colored Beach.”
returned from the boardwalk I could not believe that my bike was gone.I looked all over.I was sure I left it right by the
entrance.What could have happened?Then it hit me.My bike was stolen.I never heard of anyone having anything
stolen before.It just did not happen in
home in tears.I loved that bike.
The next day
my dad took me to the police station to report the theft.I was sure the police would find and return
my bike.Whoever stole it would be going
to jail and deservedly so.
took the report.
you last see it?”
“I left it
on Sixth Street by the entrance to the boardwalk.It was at noon.”
Street!That’s the ‘Colored Beach!’Those kids don’t have anything!You can’t leave a bike there; it will be gone
before the kickstand sinks in the sand!”
don’t care, it is the only way those people will ever have a bike.”
“Will you be
able to get it back?”
kid…we’ll be on the lookout for it.”
I don’t think
they tried very hard.We checked every
day for a week, but their all-points-bulletin did not turn up my precious
I got around
the rest of the summer on an old beat up bike my cousin Dex lent me.For a while I was really upset and in
disbelief that someone would just take someone else’s property, but in my head
I kept hearing something the policeman said: