June 20, 2007
R-Jade From The Hood
As many of you know, shaving my head was, in introspect, a very bad idea. Not only did I look ugly – after all I am ugly – but I felt naked. Frankly, it triggered a midlife crisis I've had to deal with ever since.
You see, all of us grapple with the meaning of life. When we are young, we feel immortal, indestructible. As we get older, we realize just how fragile life is, and look back in wonderment at how naïve we once were.
No, we can't do it all over again. As much as we'd like to go back and change things, there is no such thing as a do-over. I started feeling sorry for myself – old, useless, stuck in a dead-end job, left with only memories that fade a little more every day. Why wait for my hair to grow back? I'll still be an aging hippie, lost in the past, irrelevant to the younger set. The words in the old bluegrass song ("I Porked My Cousin Mabel" I think it was), played over and over in my ear:
"Old and in the way
That's what they have to say
I'll never be no wiser
'Cause I'm old and in the way"
My insecurities bubbled over at our editorial meeting last week. I was imparting wisdom, as usual, to my staff, explaining to them how they could be better writers and create powerful copy that enchants readers – you know, like the stuff I write.
Amy Patton was filing her nails and shopping on the Internet. Lisa Finn was weeping openly and fully, not because of my words, but because her best friend's cousin's brother had a hangnail or something. C-Lo was whispering to Jill about some boytoy she had spotted on Saturday night. I think she mumbled "old fool" when I asked her to pay attention. Jessica giggled on her cell phone . . . Kitty was snoring. Rich was betting on horses. No one was paying attention to me.
That's when I realized I had to do something about it. I could start over. I could escape my little world, my vapid existence, and enter a new world, a place where I demanded respect and wasn't afraid to get down, get nasty, get dirty, get jiggly, juggly, and be da bomb wit the hoodrats. So I created a new me. Welcome to R-Jade's world.
This week I came into our editorial meeting with my new look. I put on a dance track and started rappin':
Listen to my flo cause I told youse dis befo
Don't axe me to be snuggly if-in you be fugly
Because I'm the real shit, nick, and I got my peace stick,
so payce out I got the rizzle right here and I be bumpin' busta
Am I packin or chillin?
Dis me gonna busta cap in yo ass.
I'm a playa, a wanksta, and a gangsta and I'm willin.'
Then I told my bitches to get their asses in the chair and make me a damn newspaper. For once, everyone listened.
As you can see from the byline, I'm now calling myself R-Jade. I considered lots of new names – here were some of the finalists: Thirty Five Cents, Fitty Pesos, Busta Cap, Busta Jay, Fitty Jay, J. J. Fitty Busta, Lil' Jay, Puff Puffy Jay, Kool-o Jay, Kollio Busta, Kool Aid Busta J., Jay K., Jay L. L. E.M. Jay, Jay Em, Busta Kool, Ja Shit, Ja Crap, Dirty Old Shit, Dirty Old Crap, R.J. Kool Crap, Piddy Poop, Puffy P. Poop, Jay Jay Kool Crap, Twista Jay, Twista G., Ghetto Twista, Twista Tupac, Jazzy J. Six Pack . . . I could go on.
Then, of course, fearful she would lose her bling in my new world, my wife wanted a new name for the hood. We went through the usual: Lil' Karen K., Dat Karen Jay, Lady Eve X., Mary J. Bilge, Mary J. Bulge, Mary K. Big Bulging Babe, Twista Kim, Bulging Blister K., Mary Em, Foxy Free Brown, Mrs. Sister Ghetto . . .
Then we discovered www.rapstarname.com. Why knock ourselves out when the website will come up with a new name?
I became R-Jade. Karen is Sister Soul. Jerry Della Femina, by the way, is "Deadly T." Kitty Merrill is "Mrs. Poop Head" . . . OK, I made that one up. What I found weird, though, is the names didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to them. What would happen if I entered a real rap star name into rapstarname.com? Would Jay Z. become Harold Schultz? Would P-Diddy become Sven Biddle-Brown?
(For the record, Jay Z became "King E" and P-Diddy translated into "A-Hole . . . no, I made that up, too. It was actually "D. Daddy." Fitty cents became "Mr. Doggy Style" and no, I'm not making this up.)
If you're still reading this, which is doubtful, you're probably asking, "What is the point of this column?"
Well, I'm glad you asked. The point is if you are having a mid-life crisis, or if you are not comfortable in your own skin, or if everyone hates you because you're an annoying weasely schmuck, you do something about it. Abandon your sinking ship and find a new boat to rock. You can do it.
Take it from R-Jade From The Hood.