OMG, that’s my fucking knife!
First Principles – Forest for the Chainsaws, or something?
Blogging about a podcast about a podcast – UNDISCLOSED: The Killing of Freddie Gray, Ep 5, Evidence: Knife, Blood, Van
For some very good reasons I have come to feel safest in poor communities of color or immigrants. The places I feel safe are often the places others that fall anywhere near my demographic slot in life feel unsafe.
Steinbeck gave good advice when he wrote, “If you’re ever in need… go to the poor… They’re the only ones who will help.“
But it is not only that. Rural Poverty is different than City Poverty.
And the generalizations end there.
I know there are markers that I look for in a new place. I’ve gotten good at moving quickly, swiftly, silently, and safely, into a new Hamsterdam
Vice is generally something I consider an asset in my safety.
Open-air vice — “Hamsterdams” (The Wire) — encourage insularity and secrecy.
To me, that means safety,
(Unfortunately the selection of cutlery is rather poor.)
But back to Hamsterdam Land.
In Hamsterdam, you are either trusted or not trusted.
And I know that at first I will not be trusted,
but once I am,
there is almost nothing the street doesn’t offer in
everyone knows each other. Newcomers – a strange face – stands out.
And Hamsterdams abound in America.
(Baltimore is the opposite of a Hamsterdam. There, you have the worst of both worlds. In Hamsterdam the cops don’t bother certain things and certain businesses. The cops are just crooked enough to overlook the vice, to not be the enemy.}
A Hamsterdam is amazingly self-policing.
The unwritten Code of Vice, a common secret, intermingled with young mothers and cautious grandmothers, children playing and singing innocently and happily, protected by all, keeps stupidity away as if through a fucking force field.
The downside of any Hamsterdam is something akin to living inside an airport terminal. Everything costs a whole lot and there’s no selection or competition.
If you’ve never had to start with nothing because you are running for your life, there are a few things no one can survive long without,
and one of those things is a knife.
There is simply no getting around it.
And although the prices in Hamsterdam are akin to an airport, or Disneyland, the selection of merchandise is wholly unlike any airport or amusement park I’ve ever visited.
There is only one kind of knife sold in Hamsterdam, and it is, unsurprisingly, the knife a kid killed by cops would have.
(The resemblance, however, was a bit jarring.)
Seeing it on the screen really made me feel like I was straddling two alternative realities at once, and midway through the short Knife Exhibition video, I knew I had crossed some divining rod of understanding.
(I couldn’t guarantee it, but seeing as I like statistics and inhabit our modern-day Dens of Inequity, being a Bookie would not be an unrealistic hustle for me. Hypothetically, of course.)
Hypothetical Bookie Me says odds are at least 950:1 that not another soul in a mile and a half radius of me even knows what the hell Undisclosed is, and although I would not –
– hypothetically, of course –
be irrational enough to place odds on the chance that not a single soul in that same area has ever listened to even 60 seconds of UNDISCLOSED, I’m abnormally confident that no one around me even knows what a podcast is, let alone this one.
[AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET]
A podcast, to my neighbors, is as foreign and abstract as this knife – the only knife anyone around me can buy (without bus fare) – is to the creators of a thoroughly intellectual (and awesome) podcast, a CSI Event.
But to me, to us, it’s just a knife.
It took the podcast and the knife for me to connect the two with the most basic principle of the knife and the absurdity of the drawers of knives and the dissection of them.
Within seconds all I could think of was aliens with anal probes and the hope of discovering the truth of the human species through our rectums. (And that is most certainly the first time that analogy has ever, ever, encroached on my imagination.)
*I understand the legal issue, but that could not override the alien-ish-ness.*
Again, on its face, without the street knowledge that for my pacifist, vegan ass to be able cut a lime or tomato or onion or just tape on a box,
I need a fucking knife.
And if this didn’t happen to be the only knife I could get around here, if it didn’t happen to be my fucking knife, if the photo of the damn knife wouldn’t have pistol-whipped me into a connection of these two disparate realities, both of which I live in simultaneously,
I would have loved the drawers of knives.
I’m made for minutiae. I’m listening to UNDISCLOSED. Case closed?
That drawer of knives was to me a sudden, synchronistic metaphor for everything.
For me, for us, it’s not a switchblade.
It’s fucking cutlery.
By default, not only are we ℘℘cheated out of something decent to cut our vegetables with, we’re also criminalized for that pricey limitation.
Overcharged for bullshit,
with a bullshit charge included.
(And for me the guilt of the privilege of having options. But if I must be counted, count me among the poor. These are my people, mi familia, and it is the highest honor that they call me neighbor, friend, and family.)
The poor man’s BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE!
Liquor and Knives – EBT
Hamsterdam in Paradise
Cutlery for Sale, Knives for Jail
Liquor – Knives – EBT
[On sale now in the housewares isle of a liquor store near you.]