Early in the evenin’
just about supper time,
Over by the courthouse
they’re starting to unwind.
Four kids on the corner
trying to bring you up.
Willy picks a tune out
and he blows it on the harp.

Excerpt from CCR’s fine tune “Down On The Corner”

Growing up as I did in Brooklyn, New York and within spitting distance of Manhattan, you’d think there’d be a shit load of things to do to help you pass away the time. I mean, all one had to do was hop on the subway and you’d be smack dab in the middle of all the kind of culture that you’d want. If you were into things like art there were more museums you could visit than I care to count and if you were into sports, Madison Square Garden, Yankee and Shea Stadium weren’t all that far away either. If you fancied a show, the neon lights of Broadway beckoned and if you were a history buff, there were things like the Statue of Liberty and the American Museum of Natural History to keep you occupied .

Maybe when we were kids, we took those kinda things for granted. Maybe it was because of their proximity that we thought we’d always have the chance to visit them whenever we wanted but then again, maybe we thought those kinds of ventures were reserved for things like school field trips. You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s when they crammed you into those smelly aging yellow buses whose shock absorbers had long ago seen better days and you could feel the springs in the seats jabbing away at your ass the minute you sat down.. Once you were situated and accounted for, you were then handed a box lunch that consisted of a stale sandwich made from some type of “mystery meat” and a piece of fruit that was either too ripe or not ripe enough Then the driver would fire up the engines and the stench of gasoline and exhaust fumes would hit you like a sledge hammer and off you’d go, bouncing in and out of every pothole the city had to offer.

Then again, maybe we just preferred to “hang out” instead.

I guess it was like some sort of ritual. Every night after dinner, the six or seven of us who were bonded together in friendship would gather on the corner about two or three blocks away from our own houses and plop our butts down against some wall and talk the night away. Like factory workers, we usually arrived in shifts. The first one to arrive always got the prime spot. He or she would take the high ground in the form of those blue mail boxes and keep watch waiting for the other members of our crew to arrive.

Our conversations usually revolved around the basics such how much school and our parents sucked, local sports, the latest music and for the guys, well, we talked about tits. We’d talk about which girls had ‘em and which girls didn’t and which girls were in the process of getting them. We’d talk about which girls were rumored to be giving them up and which girls weren’t and which guys were full of shit when it came to fondling them.

They were indeed, fine times.

Flash forward thirty years or so….

I’ve long since traded in those nights hanging out on the corner of the street for nights hanging out at the corner of the bar. There are some similarities though. The regulars still arrive in shifts depending on what hours that they have to work. The fortunate ones who get there early enough grab some prime real estate at the bar and wait for the others to arrive. When they do, we still talk about many of the same things we did when we were kids. It seems that while the faces might’ve changed, there’s something universal about our conversations. They’re still dominated by topics such as sports and music with a smattering of religion and politics thrown in for good measure. Instead of school teachers, people talk about their jobs and bosses. Instead of their parents, many of us talk about our kids and how tough it is to be a parent.

Funny thing, there’s no substitute for tits though. They remain a constant.

Sometimes I think to myself that maybe it’s time to cut back. Maybe it’s time to expand my horizons and go wander some local museums and art galleries. Maybe I should take in a local high school football game or some other similar kinda thing. Maybe I’ll get involved in the PTA or do some volunteer work for some kind of worthy cause. Maybe the time has come for me to get off my ass and try and save the whales or to plant trees along the side of the road.

But then again, who do I think I’m kidding?

The next round is on me.