One story after another spills from Terry McLarney’s brain, his mood lightened by a night on the West Baltimore streets. A car ride through the west side never fails to have that effect on McLarney, who can roll through the ghetto remembering a strange thing that happened on this corner, a funny comment overheard down that street. On the surface, it all resembles a nightmare, but dig a little deeper and McLarney can show you the perverse eloquence of the thing, the unending inner-city comedy of crime and punishment.
That corner there, for instance, the one where Snot Boogie got shot.
"Snot Boogie?" asks Brown, disbelieving.
"Yeah," says McLarney. "And that’s what his friends called him."
McLarney laughs, then leaps into the parable of Snot Boogie, who joined the neighborhood crap game, waited for the pot to thicken, then grabbed the cash and bolted down the street only to be shot dead by one of the irate players.
"So we’re interviewing the witnesses down at the office and they’re saying how Snot Boogie would always join the crap game, then run away with the pot, and that they’d finally gotten sick of it…"
Dave Brown drives in silence, barely tracking this historical digression.
"And I asked one of them, you know, I asked him why they even let Snot Boogie into the game if he always tried to run away with the money."
McLarney pauses for effect.
"And?" asks Brown.
"He just looked at me real bizarre," says McLarney. "And then he says, ‘You gotta let him play… This is America.’"
Brown laughs loudly.
"I love that," says McLarney.
"Great story. Did it really happen?"
Brown laughs again.
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon. pgs. 562-563
It’s amazing how much of The Wire was actually true or barely fictionalized.
And here we arrive at what the noes [the athiests and agnostics], whatever their numbers, really have now, and that is a monopoly on legitimate forms of knowledge about the natural world. They have this monopoly for the same reason that computer manufacturers have an edge over crystal-ball makers: the advantages of having an actual explanation of things and processes are self-evident. What works wins. We know that men were not invented but slowly evolved from smaller animals; that the earth is not the center of the universe but one among a billion planets in a distant corner; and that, in the billions of years of the universe’s existence, there is no evidence of a single miraculous intercession with the laws of nature. We need not imagine that there’s no Heaven; we know that there is none, and we will search for angels forever in vain. A God can still be made in the face of all that absence, but he will always be chairman of the board, holding an office of fine title and limited powers.
—Adam Gopnik, Bigger Than Phil, The New Yorker, February 17th & 24th, p. 110
Once its victim was sufficiently weak, the Yara-ma-yha-who would ingest them whole, resting for awhile before regurgitating the person (still alive) and beginning the whole process again. With each regurgitation, the victim would return slightly shorter and a little bit redder in tone, finally becoming another Yara-ma-yha-who.
I’ll do what I can to help y’all. But, the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple.
- Omar, The Wire
I’m opening all of my improv coaching sessions with this line.(via claspy)