JUST MUSING: … nah, nah

I know. I know – tis the season.  Are you permitted to finish the rest? – You are.    To be jolly – perhaps; for love – maybe; giving, cooking, eating – sharing?  Pick one, pick all – tis the season though, isn’t it?  The reaffirming of traditions, renewing old acquaintances, family – the old, a little bit of the new, same-same.  Remembrances, faith, lives lived and lost, ode to the holidays; the holidays – ah yes, the holidays. 

Years ago, I traveled over the holidays to visit my mother.  Immediately upon my arrival she said what was on her mind… “…don’t get too comfortable, you need to visit your grandmother.  She has been asking about you.”  Her words were spoken in a mother’s way, saying what she had to say – never asking yes or no, telling.  Said not in the same voice and manner as, “close the refrigerator” … “close the front door”, although similar – a demand, an expectation to be acted upon immediately – parental love is apt description when these words are stated in the best light.  I answered how I was trained to answer, “Yes, ma’am.”  “Yes ma’am” was the answer, even if a multiple choice quiz is given; even if the test is a blind-test – the blinking lights of a well-lived relationship told me how to answer.  Doing what I was told to do, reaching holding, hugging – a hug the equivalent of a childhood tag – “I got you”; then changing direction in mid-step, moving sideways, then backward, to do what I was told to do, “not tomorrow, right now.”  Not the song’s lyrics, but Georgia’s words. 

She told me to visit soon, “Your grandmother is not feeling well.”  Not tomorrow right now.  I immediately turned to comply – but I digress.        

Before leaving I noticed my younger sister standing in the kitchen.  I pivoted and moved in her direction.  She smiled. I smiled.    

“…come with me.” 

“I don’t think so.” 

“Why?”  

“Grandmother Vide has never treated me nice …”

“That’s not true, is it…?”

Honestly, I didn’t know whether Viola Richardson did or not.  Yes, I saw her as firm – resolute – woman, a tad mean.  I never knew her to treat any of us differently.  Absolutely, my view originated from child’s eyes – viewing the world through a limited prism, seeing the immediate, and even if I saw my eyes were probably too colored. 

“It’s true”, Ima Jean said, she lowered her head, turned away; still waters indeed run deep.  Momma said nothing.  She let us talk.

“Oh come with me…,” grabbing Jean’s hand, retrieving a coat of the couch, pulling her with me out the door.  Jean willingly complied, in part – I say – even though her shoulders and a palpable silence said she wasn’t. 

“If she treats you differently today, we can leave immediately.” 

Jean remained hauntingly quiet; sitting in place, looking out the window, staring.   Neighborhoods hovered overhead, the wind whistled, we moved west on Interstate 30; past downtown, Mrs. Baird’s Bread bakery, nearing our exit to Lake Como.   The uncomfortable cold, the smell of breads, the holiday lights didn’t stop Jean’s voice playing on a repeat cycle … “She has never treated me nice” … 

This was a time before others discovered Lake Como was near the downtown district, was ideal for prime development, when others who didn’t look like us only visited to pick up domestic workers – “I know it’s late, oh, come on and steal away.”   

Grandmother Vide greeted me.   An invisible wall appeared before she could say hello to Jean – which she didn’t – silently engulfing its victim from the time Jean entered to the time she took a seat in the kitchen.  She never said a word to Jean.  Not a word.  The words directed my way now seemed cloistered.  Hers was a palpable, striking coldness, no child deserves. Viola Richardson, my father’s mother, did what she did comfortably – a practiced behavior, done over and over again, throughout the years – Merry Christmas indeed.  You are so welcomed.

My father, Leon Griffin, gave up early on life.  A mixture of segregation, deferred dreams, and the onset of mental illness proved too much.  “He gave up.  Came home one day, frustrated, in tears; he said he was never going to work another day for a white man and that a Negro couldn’t afford him.”  I heard Momma’s words.  I saw my father’s withdrawn eyes, barely audible mumbles.  He withdrew – quit work – another victim of the unequal distribution of societal resources – so I thought later, so I learned much later.  This was the promise I made, an internal promise to work at leveling the playing field; wanting to become a lawyer, working toward law school; “a privilege not accorded…”, Momma said – “in nineteen thirties, nineteen forties Texas” – jingle, jingle.

One time – two, three – four times I saw what I saw; talking, moving uncomfortably about the house, trying to convince myself none of this was true; wanting none of what I saw and heard to be true.  I watched Jean move from one level of withdrawal to another – cowering, crying internally, saying nothing – the same nothing she said stumbling out the door, into the car, exiting the car, into the house.  Naïve, naïve, me – solving the problem, dismissing what she said, by my actions, my words – nah, nah.     

“Grandmother … Jean told me you treated her differently, rude in fact”, were my words.  I didn’t let her respond.  I didn’t want a response.  I saw what I saw.  “She is my sister.  She will always be my sister and I love her.  Your treatment of her is telling me you don’t want anything to do with me.  I will never see you again.” 

I had never talked to Viola Richardson in such a manner.  I never contemplated I ever would.  My passage into these unknown waters was before our children were born.  They would not have the life-privilege of meeting Viola nor Edward.  I was still in college.  In hindsight, I was barely considered to be a man – seventeen, perhaps eighteen. 

Jean remained seated.  She never looked up.  She continued to speak silently.  The silence though was loud and clear, a continual run-on silence.  Childhood anxieties, life experiences, well-worn personality traits said she didn’t want to be in the room; no matter what I said, no matter what I did.

I moved past Grandmother Vide, and grabbed Jean’s now compliant hands.  I didn’t have to grab her coat; she had never made herself comfortable.  We moved from the kitchen, the living room, to the front porch, to the car, never looking back. 

After my father withdrew, Momma divorced him.  She ultimately remarried.  She had my youngest sisters, during the second marriage (Ima Jean and Ida Dell).  One time – within her reach and ears – one of us began to utter an impermissible tease.  Georgia wasn’t having any of this:  “Don’t ever say step-sister, don’t you ever permit anyone else to do likewise, y’all are brother and sisters.”  I believe this was the only time we were given permission to fight by Georgia.  I believe my disrespecting my elder was the permitted fight.  I told Momma what I saw and heard when we arrived back home.  She didn’t chastise me.  She said nothing.  She had seen me act this way before – doing what I was told to do as a child; fight for my siblings, for me – for her.  Jean moved from the perimeter to the back of the house.  She continued to speak with a profound silence.

🎄         🎄         🎄

Viola Richardson loved food, her church, family, design – blending colors, fabrics, linens – nice things.  Original and reconditioned antique furniture graced her home.  She never permitted Grandfather Edward to cook, even though he readily bragged of being a better cook.  “I don’t get it, a chef on the railroad can’t cook for his grand kids”, he said.  “She won’t let me cook because I’m a better cook.”  Grandmother Vide continue to set the table, pulling out nice plates for dinner. 

“Get up and wash your hands”, she said to us.  “Shut up” – told to Edward.  Strangely, these memories remained etched in place; her immaculately kept home, the wafting smell of the cigars Edward chewed constantly. 

I don’t remember seeing Ida. I don’t remember seeing Jean when we moved from the kitchen to the restroom.  I complied, oblivious in a child’s way; laughing internally at their banter, ignoring a profound banter which worked to batter the psyche of a child – my sister – over the years. 

My other grandmother was Chester Anna was much like Viola in certain ways, they differed though in others.  Both brown skinned, good complexion, religious women – firm and plain-spoken.  They differed in locale – Chester Anna born, raised and lived in a farming community up until her illness; Viola a city girl.  Chester Anna a master of the English language, never a profane word uttered from her lips; Viola’s used only one curse word – repeatedly, even when professing her love for Jesus.  “S_ _ t, I love me some Jesus!”  I don’t know whether she ever saw or heard us laughing in the other room when she said what she said. 

Chester Anna set the table with black rimmed, white metal plates.  Like Viola the expectations were clear:  children never reached and touched without washing, without paying homage.  She made her positions clear, in the same firm, no-nonsense matter.  We complied in the same no-nonsense matter, moving away from the table, rushing in the opposite direction, arriving back mere seconds later with part clean hands aloft. 

Muh Chest told me the animals knew when their time had come – a rite of passage perhaps – moving from the barn area to far off fields – foretelling their demise; from ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  She never called a veterinarian – she knew.  Grandmother Vide also knew. 

She called my mother.  My mother called me.  “She wants you to come, Vide wants to see you.”   

“I can’t.  I won’t.”

“She called Jean.  She apologized and asked for her forgiveness.  She wants to apologize to you.”

“She doesn’t have to apologize to me…”

“She wants to see you…” 

Momma didn’t say I had to travel to Fort Worth.  No, no, no – her words were coded in parent-speak, a language I was good at interpreting.  This too wasn’t a choice.  I traveled to Fort Worth two days later. 

Daddy Leon let me into the house; he nodded, moved out of the way, and pointed.  I found her in her and Edward’s bedroom – in the back of the house.  The curtains were drawn; the room was dark; isolating, warm.  She was lying in her bed, her head appeared sweated.  The covers were pulled up to her chin.  Edward had long passed – the Chambers stove was no more, the kitchen table looked different – no linens, no china – perhaps a different dining room table.  The house looked nothing like I remembered: unkempt, smaller – not dirty, not meticulous – not Viola’s home, not kept to Viola’s standards.  I quietly moved from place to place – to my place – next to her bed.  She extended her left hand from under the covers.  She asked me for my forgiveness.  I gave what I could – “Yes, ma’am … Momma told me you talked to Ima Jean.”   

We didn’t talk long.  She didn’t ask much of me nor me of her.  I held her hand and heard Chester Anna voice, “it won’t be long”.  Seeing animals move to the other field.  Seeing elders in the community come to Chester Anna’s home to die.  Listening and helping her wash their bodies, seeing the dying process play out in front of my eyes during those long, hot, memorable Texas summers.          

🎄         🎄         🎄

The dishwasher was invented in 1850.  The original machine was a wooden contraption which had little no practical application to the home.  “When Miele introduced the first automated model in 1960, it was still costly – as much as a housekeeper’s annual salary, in fact. Yet the concept stood the test of time and by the end of the 1970s, the dishwasher had become one of the most common home appliances.”  

The history of the dishwasher is not the reason I muse.  It does help one understand the reason I muse.  One set of grandparents having better plates than the other is not why nor is both grandmother’s sternest, bordering on meanest is not the reason why.  Such was their way – part of their ingrained personalities, surviving in a hostile world, making sure their charge remained respectful, dutiful and fed. 

Members of Viola’s church spoke of her meanest less than a month after my visit – followed by polite, church giggles, layered with “yes Lords”, before smiling, looking outward, comforting with references to her kindness, and multi-fold, complex personality – as we all are.  I tell these stories because this is what holidays to do us – what makes us happy, what makes us sad, a time for reflections.

Please permit me to explain this way:  Market Insider issued a 2017 Press Release:

The US paper cups and paper plates market reached a value of US$ 104 billion in 2016 … The market is expected to reach a value of US$ 119 billion by 2022.”  

Much like pestilence, paper plates and cups, plastic silverware seems to me to be a resistance played out in reverse, by those who were compelled to wash the dishes after meals, during the holidays, after being awaken from a fake/real/deep sleep – drug back to the kitchen to finish the assigned chores.   Are you still dreaming of that white Christmas?  

I muse to say nah – nah, don’t you dare pull out the paper plates, plastic glasses, and utensils during the holidays.  If the sky is not falling, if the sun fails to come up, if you aren’t sitting on a beach during the holidays – these are the best of times, these are the worst of times – don’t.  I don’t care – don’t.

There is no reason to continue this misplaced, misguided, ill-defined resistance – nah-nah.  Stop invidiously disturbing the minds of your children, relatives, me with a Dixie plate – nah – nah … nah, nah – nah-nah.   Life is too unbalanced and unfair for you to put such a burden on them – me.  Put the paper and plastics products down – save a psyche.  If you’ve been putting off getting therapy for your not yet diagnosed, childhood trauma of too many dishes washed – do so now.  Momma didn’t have, papa didn’t have – so what!  Use a real plate.

One of the nation’s Founding Fathers, John Adams, wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, on May 12, 1780:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelains.  

We are almost there, be patient with me.

I don’t care what generation you are dealing with.  I do know when you reach the generation which has the privilege to study “painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelains”, the insult to history and lives lived can be no clearer – we should no longer continue the tragic slide to the absurd – nah-nah, nah-nah. 

“I said wash the dishes!” 

Sometimes we hold onto petty things much too long.  You also said at one time you weren’t going to eat another potato, rice, beans, tortilla; life is too short and complex to continue dabbling in these continued idiocies. 

I need not bother with whether you are the thrower or the throwee, we need not confuse issues.  The purpose of the common vessel known as a plate is not for tossing at other human being.  Likewise, plates and silverware are not meant to remain closeted forever, never to be used, protected, stored in much too much expensive cabinets and cases – don’t insult the craftsmen, artists, silversmiths – history’s voices will appreciate your acknowledgement. 

Use these cultural vessels, relish their history, understand these are goods which have moved around the world – traded, shared, modified – the subject of exchange by different cultures, and peoples.  Clay vessels in some cultures, tin, glass, copper … china.  If you aren’t convinced, then move to your living room and grab a plastic cover and cover every chair, couch, lamp, share inch of the floor – sometimes one must reduce an absurd practice for the blind to see.       

The quality of the plate doesn’t matter – metal, melamine, bone china – doesn’t matter – the point is use a real plate.  Nah, nah, nah – caring means putting down the paper, plastic, the strange composite objects and do what Georgia, Chester Anna, Viola did, what your mothers and grandmothers did – reach for a real dishes and serve real food – for the ones you love.  I say, I muse.

JUST MUSING: "Boy don't play me…"

With the passage of time those sage reminders by elders fade, converting into irrelevant, unwise tales.  “Make sure you have enough money on you to make a call”, has now been relegated to the garbage bins, wasted advice.  Pay phones no longer exist – not in the sense we knew them – magically converted to a small body appendage, appearing in every picture, attached from dawn to dusk, from bed – to toilet – to bed; a newborn should pray our evolution mean they too would get this kind of attention.  No, no, no, this new appendages are not to be lent for a nickel, dime, quarter to make an emergency call, and even if they are, who remembers any numbers?  A quarter…? A dollar..? Uber …? Lyft…?  There was a recorded voice which played when there was a disconnection on pay phones.  The voice is gone.  Not needed when the realization hits, the amount of money we were told to carry is insufficient to receive any type of service.      

“Always wear clean underwear…” – we were told.  Why we asked?  “Just in case you are in an accident …” This too has to be discarded – not to be recycled – even though the elder’s advice was grounded – somewhat – in history also.  Not wanting you to embarrass him/her, ”your” people – dead or alive – having to come down to the morgue, hospital to look at your body – injured, or dead – with dirty, torn, or worn underwear.  What could be worse?  A persistent, palpable fear of living after an accident; not wanting to be miraculously saved – if you were not wearing pristine undergarments; seeing living as a greater sin than death; wishing to die on the spot.  Death truly more becoming.    

Preaching, preaching – preaching pride – “don’t embarrass your people.”  This too gone – discarded waste, with LP’s, eight tracks, cassettes, CDs – no matter how many times an elder preached, “I don’t want to love nobody but you,” attempting to convince one of the wisdom of their advice – “don’t embarrass your people”.  This no longer matters; they do, they will – shock the rest of us. 

Rear ends exposed, below the crack, way below the crack, causing those passing to turn in shock; taking the mystery away (“Mamma that boy ain’t got no butt!”), causing elders to cry and scream outwardly, “how in the hell anybody let you get out the house like that…!” – To themselves; to others; to anyone willing to listen – because no one corrects somebody else’s child.  A change in time, generations, no longer community bound, not giving a flip his family is embarrassed, no longer subject to an elders’ yolk (meaning grabbing and snatching somebody else’s child and correcting their behavior, even this means embarrassment, screaming; physically striking the wayward child) or is the word, yank. 

“When you leave this house, your last name is intact.  When you come back, your last name shall remain intact.”  Ha!  Gone too, out the door; not even answering the question, “who your people”; viewing themselves as island nations, cursing elders, talking to the parent with disrespect, while those observing this behavior ducking, seeing the hand of a long-dead parent, grandparent, great-grandparent striking them side their heads for someone child’s disrespect.  Caught in never, never land, not knowing how to response to the changed behavior, while the spirits will never understand how times have changed.  The same applies for the disrespectful ones; they will never understand why we quake in fear. My momma would surely snatch every breath out of me, if I dared do what that fool did!   Thinking, thinking, thinking, while watching, wanting to reach, and snatch the wayward child back one, two generations.

Years ago a middle age woman visited with me wanting to hire me to represent her interest.  She was accused of a criminal offense of striking her child, something about abuse, an act she readily admitted doing, and would do the same again,

“Abuse…! … No child of mine is going to talk to me like that.  He was wrong.  If he can’t accept discipline and think he is grown and has no fear of anyone, I swear that as long as I am on God’s green earth, I will do the same thing…!” 

Face flushed, both hands balled.  She moved uncomfortably in the chair before screaming, “I don’t care how much it cost, tell me an amount, I be damned!” 

I did.  She did – pay.  I showed up for court.  She did too. 

When the case was called by His Honor, we moved together toward the bench.  Five, six feet from reaching His Honor, this brown toned momma raised her hand stopping me in my path, shocking the Judge with her sudden movement.  She had our attention.

“Judge, how much is the maximum fine for what I am accused?”

He – the Judge – told her the same amount I have given her.  He seemed prepared to give her the speech that he only wanted a plea of guilty or not guilty, that the trial would be on another day.  Before he could ask why, she put one hand, then two into her purse pulling out cash.  She inched forward, leaned slightly and placed the cash on His Honor’s bench. 

“This is twice the fine.  Do with what you want.  I will beat him again when you release him from Child Protective Services’ custody, if he dare speak to me again like that.” 

I didn’t say a word.  I saw my momma standing next to me.  Transposed?  Transfixed?  I don’t know the right word which described a fear which borders between reality and imaginary.  Knowing my mother would have done the same thing – to me – if I dare said what the client’s child said to her, after she was required to chastise him.  If Georgia said she was going to beat your head like okra, I guarantee there would be slime all over the floor.  I always said nothing.  I always did nothing.  I stayed in my place, the proper lane, knowing there was no greater fear on earth than Georgia’s wrath. 

I don’t know if the Judge saw his mother in her image.  I don’t know if he thought she was a hologram.  I be lying if I said otherwise.  I wouldn’t be lying to say he didn’t say a word.  Shocked, befuddled – he, too a participant – a time traveler – knowing she wasn’t lying about what she was going to do.   

“I be damn…”  She never finished the sentence, but I knew how the sentence always ended.  The end of the story was written generations ago, mimeographed in the crevices of the brain.  And of course mimeograph machines are gone too.  Try this – like a movie on a repeat reel (you don’t know what a movie reel is —-?).  How about Black Momma 101? –  something which is said over and over again, to you, your brothers and sisters, anyone who will listen to what she will do if her rules are violated again. “One more time; one more time”, accompanied by balled fists, pursed lips, a change in color/hue, before turning and exiting the courtroom.  She left a silly lawyer – who now had reverted to childhood – dumbfounded.   His Honor sat still for a moment, waiting for me to say something … anything.  I had nothing.  He smiled.  I smiled.  He collected the cash and placed it in an envelope and called the next case.        

Playboy didn’t see the changing of standards.  Penthouse didn’t either.  Their entire business model was based on the prohibited; peeking, covering, hiding the magazines – under the bed, the couch – reading the articles, so they said.  Then the change occurred, without fanfare, a clear change.  A different world it was – not the television show – literally a different world; a different definition of pornography – perhaps; a different definition of vanity, maybe.  Click, click – skin for days – leaving nothing for the imagination, more readily available than Diet Coke; no matter how many sales Coca Cola runs to increase sales, stripping Playboy and Penthouse of their mantle. 

“No she didn’t walk out the house with that on!” … followed by “she did!”  With those in shock having no idea what she didn’t have on when she posted on Instagram.  Buddy Miles – the American rock drummer and singer – penned lyrics lamenting, “my mind is going through them changes, I feel like I am going out of my mind” – only he too didn’t have a concept.  These times have changed.   

“Always comb your hair…” – meaningless.  Tossed, no flung@ … just like cow dung across a metaphorical field as the pride movement took a turn, a wayward turn, down different road, detouring, trashing advice along the way; causing heads to appear in public which would have never appeared in public generations before.  “She beat that boy across the street, pushed him into the kitchen.  She asked him if he wanted something to eat.  He said no, she hit him again, pulled him over to the sink and put his head down in the sink and washed his nasty head.”  Buddy Miles died in 2008.  He had no earthly idea.      

 Pick one, any one, age old adages which served their purposes, established societal boundaries now tossed the same as the gadget which was supposed to have changed our lives forever, and ever, and ever, now replaced by a new thing-a-ma-gig; adding to confusion among a certain element of an aged-segment of the citizenry; looking hinder and yonder, searching for guidance, anywhere.  It’s a hard life, hard life and I believe, I/we/us are entitled to complain, telling the rest of slow his/her/their roll.  But you know what, none of which I have written is the real reason I muse.  No, no, I said what I said to make clear life’s lessons are best revealed by the stark light of craziness. 

Talking in riddles, spewing non-sense, making others complain about the erosion of his skill level, while he continues to do the same dance – over and over again – getting by with the same lies, and obfuscations.  Picking up one hand, then the other, saying he had the object in one when there was nothing in either.  Telling the listener not to believe what they saw.  “Worked once,” – he said out loud – “and will work again”.  Saying one thing one moment (on camera) and denying what he said, moments later (on camera) then unabashedly denying he said either version in the same run-on sentence – making a different point, “don’t believe what you hear”.  While he couples this conduct with an eerie, haunting laugh, not a chuckle, self-possessed laughter; hearing a joke we didn’t hear, while unknowingly the laughter possesses us/we/everyone, working to defend and justify his and his friends’ errant behavior – this is Crazy-Ass Uncle Rudy’s wont.  You know, Uncle Rudy, America’s Mayor.  He has succeeded once, twice, thrice with this routine.  He figures he can pull off the same act once again. 

Black folks share with the America’s diaspora much – dance, song, food, style, language.  I muse to say we have failed to share another aspect of black culture.  Oh sure we permit the entertainment industry to make fun of the black females, dressing men in drag, providing a racist/sexist treatment of the historical sternness which has kept families intact, black children safe, culture and tradition in place.  What we haven’t shared is stark and real-world forthrightness which controls the Crazy Rudy routine.  Pick one hand up, then other both with nothing in either and then ask which hand, invites, “Boy don’t play me.”  Say one thing, then another then deny making the statement – use your imagination as to what our/my mamma would have done.  You lie – you die. 

After the client exited the courtroom, she received a call from the State telling her to retrieve her child, a time and location was provided.  The person on the other end of the phone didn’t have time to say much more.  She terminated the call.  The State called back.  “I know baby, I heard you.  You can keep him.”  She remained consistent – she terminated the call again.  The fool called back again.  She wasn’t deterred, she wasn’t intimidated.  She made clear the rules of her house, “no child of mine is going to act out at school, refuse to listen and then talk back to me.  No child dear.  It is hard enough to raise a black male child in this environment of permissive.  I’m not going to have my child talk to me like that again.  Until he gets that, apologizes, you can keep him.”  She again did what she did – she terminated the call.

Two days later she received a call at work.  On the line was a crying child, crying much like a colic child – coughing, heaving – saying he loved his momma, he was sorry.  “I’m sorry momma.  I want to come home…”  She listened, coldly.   She used her don’t care voice, layered with an incredulous tone and the look evoked by Crazy Uncle Rudy’s behavior.  She then did the unexpected – “I’ll will think about you can come home” – and went back to work. 

Years later I ran into the client on the street.  I asked her about her youngest.  She smiled.  Her skin tone brightened, both hands moved freely – joyful free – before telling, “Never had another problem.  I picked him up a week later.  He never made below an ‘A’ after his two week stay; he went on to college and just finished his masters.  …mannerable-kind soul – takes care of his family, respectful…” 

She didn’t have to finish her sentence.  I knew how the sentence ended.  I had heard the If he didn’t speech before, seeing the movie play out in black mommas’ eyes, previewing the coming feature – an impending death – if he/she/Crazy Uncle Rudy dare do what he/she/Crazy Rudy did again. 

Mueller did.  Comey did.  A whole federal system of checks and balances did, permitting unlawful behavior to play out in full display, telling us we didn’t see what we saw, hear what we heard, permitting Crazy Uncle Rudy to play us, until someone dare say, boy don’t play me.