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canarsie palmsPeople ask Caz, you old, what’s really Brooklyn? Usually I tell ‘em to get out of my grill and see for themselves. Brooklyn is not like most people say. So-called “Cobble Hill” and Canarsie? The twain rarely meet, people, not really. Happily, I’ve gotten around some since I popped out Ma Dolowicz’s Sands Street boarding house chocha back in 1923 and I’ve seen a lot things in BK I couldn’t have elsewhere.  Taken together, they might have weight. Or it might just mean my second wife was from Trinidad. Ya’ll tell me. The blog party is just getting started: you make the sweat rice, I’ll get the Ting.

* you eat fries often with a FORK, ketchup and mustard.
* On at least one occasion you have been told that you have a cold in some part of your anatomy other than your head or chest, had a flu virus named after something popular with the times. i.e. The Gowanus Flu.
* despite lack of interest, someone has tried to convince you of the benefits of taking a purge, or becoming “saved” by some religion.
* no matter how old you are, you call your parents mummy and daddy.
* you sometimes call fries, chips.
* you love salt prunes and “chinee mango.”
* you know the meaning of “dahl”, “channa”, “anchar”, “kurma” and “buss-up-shot”.
* you’ve called someone (or been called) chunkalunks, thick ting, “family” (even if she’s not remotely related to you!), doo doo, breds, horse, partner.
* you know what a maxi-taxi is.
* you know a “lime” is not always referring to fruit.
* you’ve eaten wild meat at some time: ‘guana, lappe, ‘gouti, tattoo, matte, deer etc.
*  you call a friend’s mother “auntie” and their father “uncle” even though they are not related to you.
* you love soca.
* you know entire parang songs in perfect Spanish, word for word every Christmas, but cannot speak a word of conversational Spanish to save your life.
* you know how to RAMAJAY and DINGOLAY.
* you can call your fellow Brooklynite by an ethnic name fondly and it would be okay, i.e.: darkie, reds, dougs, chinee-man, creole, red-man, white-boy.
* you know how to “dig a horrors.”
* you know how to “fix yuh mix.”
* you doh like “chain-up talk,” “ole talk” or “mamaguy.”
* you know how to be a “falcon” and “maco.”
* you know of at least one person who gets up at 4 am to listen to cricket on the radio in Australia, India or wherever.
* you feel cold when it’s 25 degrees celsius.

To be continued…

The Autobiography of Brooklyn-native Combat Jack also continues:

Never imagined I would have to be responsible for so many people living under one roof. Life was so much simpler then. When I was running dolo. For self. Like, I could leave my home on Monday morning and not have to come back until a week later. And my home was fresh too. One bedroom apartment on 7th between Lincoln and Berkeley in Park Slope. When rents in New York were cheaper, and neighborhoods like that had more color. New York was banging too. The club scene was crazy, and I loved the many flavors of women the city had to offer. I finally started making some decent money and the city was my playground. Kniccas was feeling so good we even named our crew the Mack Pack. Sounds corney now, but believe me how we lived up to the name. One of our boys owned a ginormous brownstone in Prospect Heights. It was massive.


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