These are tough times for us all as we are going through this recession. Tough times can become unbearable times for people whose economic woes are compounded by personal problems in their love or family lives and or drug-alcohol addiction.
The tales are legendary of Wall Street types jumping off buildings in Manhattan during the Great Depression and of others facing hard times, such as farmers in India, turning to suicide en masse.
Turning to my life and the present I came to work on Friday night and got a most unpleasant surprise. A fellow driver (a female, to be exact) had hung herself in the basement of her apartment building in the Shaw Neighborhood.
Her death was the talk among all of the drivers. Everyone wanted to know why she took that fatal step. Everyone goes through tough times; but very few actually decide to give up on life. There has to be something very wrong with the person’s spiritual state of being to take a decision to terminate the life that has been given to you by your Creator. Absent a belief in God, suicide can become a rational step for many people who believe that right and wrong, and good and evil, are not set in stone and change with time, place and a person’s situation.
Why she did it I may never know. I did not know her well. In addition to being a driver she was a part-time dispatcher and I will miss hearing her classic South St. Louis accent on the radio. Few people even know or talk about their being a South Side accent; but there is. The sound of it is hard to describe; but you will not hear it from white North Siders like myself, African-Americans from Da Lou, people with money here, or the yuppies moving into the city. It is unique and can only be found amongst the old working-class white South Side population (what most would refer to here with the derogatory term of “hoosier”). The accent is dying out with the fading white working-class population of the South Side neighborhoods from which it came and this woman was one reminder of it that I always had.
Cabbies come and go and when they are gone they are quickly forgotten. A few years ago there was a guy who had been driving for 25 years who was fired after having an accident and then testing positive to marijuana. The guy had a law degree but said being a lawyer was too stressful and he liked driving a cab better. After getting fired he had a stroke with in matter of weeks and was confined to a nursing home. This was just like three years ago and a couple of weeks ago I asked a driver, who had driven along side this driver for that entire 25 years, if he knew how the guy was doing and the driver had forgot who the guy was! I told him his name and he was like “it does sound kind of familiar”. The same guy was shook up about the death of the dispatcher and driver yesterday; but maybe in a few months he will forget her name too.
What is up with the Muslim brothers running around wearing Black Panther buttons in Chicago? Is nostalgia getting in the way of a correct memory? We all know about the sins of the FBI regarding the Panthers; but the oldhead Muslim brothers who were around in those days will tell you that more so than the government the Panthers failed because drug abuse and womanizing were rampant in their ranks from the top to the bottom. That social failure of the Panthers is what led brothers like Jamil al-Amin and Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Basheer from the Panthers to Islam which was a leap forward (and I had long conversations with both of them about this matter), so why are brothers in the Chi taking a leap backwards?
Why is it funny to wear a long beard (when you do not believe it is a religious obligation as I do) and mock the faithful (and their accents) while being “good friends” with 5th Column Progressives such as Fatimah Mernissi and a basher of Muslims who take their deen serious and don’t want to change it to be Ivy League complaint (calling them pseudo-Salafi)? And is it funny to insinuate that white people who take shahadah are less then fully Muslim…hmm, let me hear it in person the next time I see you perform and there will be something more than jokes to put on youtube.