My co-blogger and bromantical partner Jason is a great teacher. I know because, although I’ve never set foot in his classroom, one time I saw him kick a car.
We were leaving a Sixers game, when we were 19, and one of those enormous expensive cars that you see rich folks driving, pulled out in front of us and we nearly got hit. The man driving the car stopped briefly, not aware that he almost committed negligent-homicide and Jason kicked the back end of the car with his size 10.5, 6-inch wheat Timberland. It was a young, reckless, move without question. I could see #kickarichguyscar going viral today, boomerangs would be made, uptight rich folks would get their pleated khakis in a kerfuffle, and we’d all talk about how young people today need more guidance, and about how if only more old ladies would patrol porches like they used to things would be better. If you’re a young person reading this please don’t start that hashtag or go out and start kicking rich people’s cars. I would totally give you my viewership but honestly there are plenty of better things you can do with your time.
While rash af, Jason’s kick wasn’t completely thoughtless. He wasn’t just kicking the car, he was kicking what the car was symbolic of. He was kicking greed and the often willful negligence and reckless abandon that comes with it. Right there, crossing Broad and Pattison Avenue I understood something about Jason I hadn’t before. Injustice bothered him immensely and he was going to do all he could to slow its progress. Even if meant, only putting a dent in it. At 19, that meant kicking cars.
At 34 he’s better calculated and it means starting a gofundme page for a great young person in need of a chance. If you haven’t heard about it yet, a couple weeks ago, Jason got a text from a former student who told him she would have to leave Temple University because financial aid would not cover $3500 of her tuition bill for the spring semester. Jason again saw something that wasn’t right, this time in the form of a young lady who had defied odds and overcome a system designed to leave her out, and did something. Two weeks, one gofundme page, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, enormous community support, a Pittsburgh Public Schools employee of the month award, and $8500 dollars later, and the young lady will be able to stay at Temple for the Spring and fall of next year, giving her time to work out the financial aid portion of her education. Three cheers for the most anti-white-hero white-hero ever.
Kicking cars and gofundme pages currently bookend Jason’s civil rights journey but for as long as I can remember Jason has be honing his ability to thoughtfully and efficiently service the underserved. He’s broadened, inspired, and made me think differently about things nearly every time we talk or I read something he writes. Sometimes he convinces me that standardized assessment isn’t evil and other times that Clarks Wallabees are a great middle ground between dress shoes and being a slob. Jason is a rare and dangerous combination of thoughtful, funny, intuitive, and blunt and has used that formula on numerous occasions in real life and in his writing to help me focus priorities and reclaim the equilibrium my selfish inclination sometimes holds hostage.
Jason is so thorough in his writing and research our conversations about things he writes for this blog are rather boring. He’ll send me most of the things he writes before posting and try to drag critique out of me. I feel kinda like how Jae Crowder would feel if Lebron asked him to critique his game after scoring 57 points against the Wizards last week. “I don’t know man! I’m Jae Crowder, I’m just out here trying to trying to grab 3.6 rebounds a game and stay in the league! That was freaking amazing and made me a better human, beyond that, go ask Russell Westbrook, he seems like a good dude.” It’s a real shame, I always wish for Jason’s sake I could be a better critic, or at least be more specific in why I’m a fanboy of whatever he has written. Most of what I come up with is something along the lines of a humble and profound, “Wow man, thanks.”
Before I close out nearly every blog I write, I get overwhelmed by a certainty that I haven't said anything at all. The blog you are currently reading is no different; I don't know what this is about other getting in on the Jason love currently all over the internet. My process is usually to share it with Jason and say something like, “Hey man, I wrote a thing, I’m not exactly sure what I’m saying here and I need an ending.” His advice is always to use the the beginning as an ending.
In that spirit, here is to friends that inspire us to kick rich people’s cars.