South Philly Frank or Hatred From the Collar Colored Blue
If you were lucky enough to know me when I was a wee lad, then you might have known that at one point in my life I had a temper that I could barely control. At times, I had been known to bash my head against the floor or a nearby wall – whichever was more convenient. I often whined and complained for the stupidest things and even turned red in the face if I wasn’t getting my way. Yes, I was a temperamental little bitch.
As I got older, I realized the error’s of my ways and learned to control my anger. I saved that anger up over the course of a year and let it all out on the football field. After college and my football days were behind me the rage had nearly completely disappeared. I had conquered my temper and became a gentle, pleasant man….
Until along come people like South Philly Frank.
I don’t know much about South Philly Frank, other than the color of his beaten up, rusted out, 1990-something Honda Civic. Black by the way. Well, black where it isn’t rusty.
The only other things I know about Frank is what I could discern while he stopped his car, got out, and got right up in my face. “I’ll knock your teeth out, FAGGOT,” were his first words.
See, moments ago, Frank decided he didn’t have to stop at the stop sign at the intersection where I was just entering the pedestrian walk way. And again, if you know me, you know I cant keep my mouth closed, “you are supposed to stop at stop signs, fuck-head.” His windows were open.
He slammed on the breaks.
Frank is a smaller man. I like to call his body type “squat.” The tip of his 45ish head nearly came up to my chin. He talked with a real tough voice, probably from hears of smoking Marlboro Reds. I can only imagine the black of his lungs were equal in color to the black liver spot in the middle of his left cheek. That spot was surrounded by orangy-yellow weathered and leathered skin, from too many years of sitting in his South Philly plot of cement that he calls a backyard. The wrinkles on his forehead were only equaled by those on his neck and hands.
His eyes were real squinty, most likely from having to keep them nearly closed while dodging flying saw dust, hot embers, or any other air-born particle flying through the air on account of his menial job. His lips thick and pursed as if he were a mobster from the fifties, slurping oysters out of the half-shell, otherwise Chaz Palminteri. His nose thick and very Italian.
He wore a bandanna, or maybe a do-rag, on his head, most likely to cover bald spots. He wore his napoleon complex on the sleeve of his very cheap and tattered budweiser t-shirt. A perfect example of the class of person with which this winner naturally belongs. The thin and fading article was most likely a t-shirt caught at a basketball game from one of those t-shirt cannons, ripped out of the hands of some tweenage girl complete with braids and freckles; a fond memory of the only time he actually won anything. His jean shorts were ripped and worn at the bottom. Im assuming his dress was indicative of his job and meager salary. As was his attitude.
A look of rage permeated his entire body as he made his way towards my person. As he made his way over to me, I pulled my ipod buds out of my ears and prepared myself. Excitement built throughout my body. After informing me that he was going to knock my teeth out, and making his assumption about my sexuality, I muttered, “you know, you are supposed to stop at a stop sign, and I had the right of way.”
His nostrils flared from thick to thin as he puffed his chest out as if he were an African painted bird, and the black spot on his cheek danced up and down hypnotically.
“Yeah, well I don’t stop. I don’t have to stop. Im special.”
Quickly thinking on my feet and in this mans face I stated, “what makes your more special, your fat, slovenly wife, or your fucked up kids?”
My body tensed up in anticipation of a flying fist coming at my head. Naturally I would have dodged it and knocked him square in the nose with an uppercut (that’s my patented fighting move, just ask those Drexel hockey players….), but it never came. As I looked around I saw his traveling partner lean over the drivers seat as he yelled, “come on Frank, lets go.”
“Next time I’ll knock your teeth out, FAGGOT.”
As he walked away I shouted, “Im sure you will Frank. Im shaking in my boots.”
I turned away, reached for the ipod buds and put them back into my ears, enveloping myself with the sweat sounds of an Armin van Buuren trance mix. I began to walk away, almost angry with myself that Frank didn’t take a swing at me.
Then I realized that I was on my way to work. My lovely job, located on the 10th floor of an office building at 15th and Walnut. Im a consultant after all.
And I imagined South Philly Frank on the way to his menial labor job. The same one that he has had since he dropped out of middle school. The same one he will have until he leaves this world, and his fat wife, and fucked up kids. The same one that probably makes him feel oh so special that he doesn’t have to stop at stop signs.
And shook my head in disbelief of what just happened.
So if you happen to be walking around South Street, in Philadelphia, and you see a smallish, orangy-yellowed skinned, angry Italian guy driving a beat up Honda Civic, make sure to tell him that the guy who he almost ran over laughs. And that guy laughs at him.