It’s not enough to sit around and stare at antiquated household appliances all day. It’s not enough to be healthy. It’s not enough to be happy. It’s not enough to be smart, and it’s not enough to be well-off. You have to be the healthiest, the happiest, the smartest, the richest – you have to be the best. Everything you own has to be the best. The best house, the best car, the best heating system, the best wife, the best washing machine, the best cutlery – the best life.
Teenagers look up to the darnedest things. Being middle class isn’t quite enough – everybody loves looking to the other side of the fence. Being rich would be nice, but being “poor” has its own kind of appeal. Most people will never know what being in a gang is like. Most people get all their knowledge from glimpses of glorified “gang activity” reported on by the local news channel. They see the “hood life” through rose-tinted lenses and romanticized rap lyrics.
It’s not like teenagers want to go out and “shoot n*ggaz. “Most people are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens that would be afraid when crossing yellow stoplights. Nobody wants to propagate gang culture – it’s just interesting to think about every once in a while.
What’s the word? Escapism?
It’s like an advanced form of daydreaming. Instead of plotting out scenarios, you’re imagining an entire lifetime of living as a “gangsta.” A ready supply of illegal drugs and weapons, ten bitches at your side, and an army of homies behind you.
In reality, life is gonna be pretty shitty as a “gangsta.” But you’re fantacizing. No need for realism. You don’t have to preserve suspension of disbelief – all you’re trying to do right now is indulge yourself in your fantasies.
Dealing drugs and evading the cops one day, stealing stuff and shooting dudes the next. It’s nothing new, but it’s kind of exhilarating nonetheless. Self-inserting as a criminal is a refreshing take on things – a needed change of pace from self-inserting as a CEO or a lawyer. Is it really a change, though? Eventually, you kind of end up at the same point – rich, mildly famous.
Kind of weird to imagine yourself sprawled over the curb with blood pooling underneath you, isn’t it? Or imagining yourself dying from getting AIDs. Or freezing to death. Or getting beaten to death. They’re just… not very cool ways to die, y’know? Relative to other ways you could “go out,” I mean. Overdosing on cocaine? Hoh! Sign me up, am I right? Just… go ahead and ignore the usual suspects. You won’t die a “conventional” death. Fantasy doesn’t work that way. Actually – you don’t die in fantasy. You’re the main character, right? Main characters don’t die!
Tell that to all those dead –
Ah, don’t be such a negative Nancy!
Everything’s good with your “homies,”you’re all going to retire and grow old together -everybody else is fucking dead or dying, but you’re going to show them up and be different! You’re gonna make it out! You’re gonna be the one – you’ll walk away from all this “gangsta shit” with a successful rap career, a big house, a big car, and a girl with a big butt.
And then you’re watching the sunset from your penthouse suite, mulling over your experiences over a cup of tea with Dantevius, your right-hand man, and he goes:
“None of this ever happened, ya big doofus. I’m dead, you’re dead – everybody’s dead. Nobody got rich. Nobody ‘beat the system.’ Especially not you – but, you know what – I’ll just leave you to your ghostly devices. I don’t want to listen to your delusions any longer.”
He floats away, and the image of him recedes into the darkness of the cedar-paneled sauna. You wonder how saunas work on ghosts, and take one more look at the falling sun. It’s orange. Actually, more like a red-orange, but you decide to not get pedantic.