“Money isn’t the root of all evil; the lack of money is the root of all evil.” I remember reading that in high school via Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. And I’m now nodding my head with co-signage just as I did when I first read it.
I respect hustlers. I truly do. Big ups to folks who find creative ways to obtain that cash (which happens to rule everything around me). However, I ain’t gonna lie. The search of said cash can have folks doing some strange things and people.
Case in point? Lenny.*
Now, Lenny was the neighborhood drunkard when I was a wee Cheeks. He looked like a taller and skinnier Flava Flav. No lie. Exactly like that. And he wore the tightest pants evah. To quote my girl way back when (regarding Lenny), “His pants so tight, he can’t even fart.” He’d hobble up and down the block holding the infamous “mysterious brown paper bag drink.” -_-
Sometimes, though, he’d have a shopping cart with him. Yup, he was one of those. Loitered the grocery story parking lots and kidnapped carts. He’s the reason why dollar stores use those carts with the huge pole attached at the top so that customers can’t take it out the door. Anyway, he’d cart this buggy up and down the block, going from door-to-door and soliciting his services. ANYthing he could think of.
Lemme take ya back… way back, back into time to one particular instance…
*Lenny rings doorbell*
(from upstairs) *Mama Cheeks checks window and sees him*
Mama Cheeks: *lets out Marge Simpson Sigh* (ok, I totally made that up for dramatic effect but I’ve always wanted my mama to do this and imagined she’d be the type of person to do it)
*I also do the quick “Jehovah’s Witness” window peek and stare at Mama*
*Mama Cheeks heads downstairs*
*I follow her*
*Mama Cheeks opens door with me peeking behind her*
Mama Cheeks: Hi, Lenny, what’s up? (I can hear the sigh in her voice… lol)
Lenny: Oh, hey um, Mama Cheeks… *stops to wave to me as well* … um, I got some stuff fuh ya here! I got a lot of stuff, I just went to the Swap-o-rama and –
Mama Cheeks: What ya got, Lenny? You know I don’t have much money… I’m tryin to save myself so –
Lenny: Yeah, yeah yeah, I feel ya. Um, I just got this. It’s fresh. *pulls out toddler-sized faux-fur coat*
*I give him the most side of side-eyes (pretty sure I actually turned to the side and looked at him out the corner of my eye) and look toward the fiery sun, knowing damn well it is the middle of July and about 50-lem degrees*
Mama Cheeks: *polite chuckle* Lenny, what am I gonna do with that? I don’t have any little children in the home.
Lenny: Oh, oh, you can give it to a cousin or a niece or a grandbaby or somethin’… This is brand new… this is like new…
*I hold back giggles*
Mama Cheeks: -_______- Um, no, that’s okay, Lenny, but thanks!
Lenny: Ya sure, because this is a fresh coat and — Ok. Can I get a square?**
Mama Cheeks: Oh, alrighty, Lenny. *hands him one*
Lenny: Aight, thanks, Mama Cheeks *waves to me* Bye, lil’ bit.
*I smile and wave in response*
Mama Cheeks: God Bless.
*Mama Cheeks closes door*
*I BUST OUT LAUGHING*
So, yeah, that was just one of the many examples in which he would try to squeeze a dollar out of a Chuck E. Cheese game token. He was a nice guy, doe. Like, I never felt in danger around him, in fact, I think he genuinely cared about his neighbors and we did of him. But, you know how you have that “special” family member that you still love? Yeah, that.
Pinchers, did ya’ll ever have THAT neighbor? The one who was pretty much infamous throughout the block? Whether they be a Nosy Nancy or a Crazy Carl… share in the comments. Sha’mone!
Love ya like Cher loves to believe in life after love,