Steel City Genocide

 

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When I was in my mid 20’s I lived on the Beach Strip was an interesting community.  It was like its own little town.  It was a narrow strip of land with Lake Ontario on one side, and the Burlington Bay on the other.  A lot of people didn’t even know it was there.  It was often referred to as Hamilton’s best kept secret.

When I first moved there I joined the Hamilton Beach Preservation Committee.  The committee met once a month to determine methods in improving the general quality of life.  I was approached by the President of the Neighbourhood Watch.  This wasn’t your typical neighbourhood watch.  This was a group of vigilantes sponsored by the Hamilton-Wentworth Police.   There were patrols, as well as efficient communication in a time before cell-phone culture.  We had walkie-talkies and pagers.

Within a month I was voted Vice President.  I was organizing patrols.  Arranging recon.  As well as…..

This sounds pretty ridiculous right?  Well it was.  There were no major crimes to speak of.  There was the odd case of vandalism.  Notably, there was a small fire in an abandoned house.  But it was extinguished by an elderly neighbour.

At one particular meeting a bunch of adults showed up demanding something to be done about the youths of the Beach Strip.  They were loud.  They were obnoxious.  They swore.  They played in the vacant lots.  They trespassed….

Funnily enough, the adults at this meeting didn’t have any children of their own.  I tried to reason with them, explaining that while the Beach Strip community was a paradise for adults, it was damn boring for the youths.  There were two awful parks, neither with so much as a creative playground.

My reasoning fell on deaf ears.  I was only 23 at the time.  I looked like I was 16.  As far as they were concerned, I was one of the youths.  They even suggested I may have been too immature for my non-paying position in the highest ranks of the Committee.

This wasn’t a hard thing to fix.  A couple of the youths in question lived on Granville Avenue.  Incidentally, I lived there too.  I caught them in my backyard a couple of times.  They weren’t causing trouble.  They were just playing hide and seek.  This wasn’t a lie on their part, I ended up joining the game and taught them a thing or two about being a ninja.

One day they were out on the street playing ball hockey.  Unfortunately a shot went wild and a neighbour’s K-Car was pulverized by a tennis ball.  The neighbour FREAKED out.

Here these kids were, playing ball hockey, whilst other kids were inside playing Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.  A junky car like a K-Car gets hit by a tennis ball (not a puck), and this irate malcontent is absolutely screaming himself hoarse at these kids who are in the 11-12 range.   I tried to reason him but apparently I was just a pretty boy punk who needed a haircut.

After Captain Anger calmed the hell down, I engaged the kids.  I pulled aside the two who seemed to be the leaders.  I told them to to ask everyone they knew if they wanted to play in a ball hockey league.  They liked the idea.  I think they respected me a little too because I was younger and never looked at them with an expression reserved for a little brother who just farted in church.  That, and I was impossible to find when it came to hide and seek.

Within two days they had a list of at least 40 names.  I had them pick two others who they thought they would make good captains, aside from themselves.  I told them to let me know when they had them and we would meet at my house to have them pick their teams.

I managed to get sponsorship from local businesses for equipment and uniforms.  Weekly hockey games were arranged down at the park, at the basketball courts that didn’t even have nets.

This was a very successful endeavour.  There were very enthusiastic parent coaches.  Every kid was present for those Sunday games.  I mean every kid.  Even the kids who weren’t playing showed up to watch.  Parents came out to root their kids on.  I refereed the games, as well as wrote a weekly zine on the league.  Results were posted as well as report cards on each player.  I was ruthless too.  But those zines were just as popular as Green Day and Creed at the time.

Ok I think I’m off on a bit of a tangent at this point.  Bottom line is, these kids weren’t criminals.  They were bored.   With the hockey league, they had something to be a part of, and feel good about it.  Their behaviour in the community improved too.  They were less mouthy.  They weren’t perfect, as most kids aren’t.  But they now had someone else to answer to if they were being disruptive.  And I didn’t give them an inch.

Communication.

Save the nation.

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I Know Love Is Blind But I Can Assure You The Neighbours Aren’t

I feel like a bad person sometimes.  I see those people driving around in monster trucks and it gets me wound up.  Gay right?  I know.  Some guy that used to play in Radar Hate, used to drive one of those Fast And The Furious cars.  I know that’s not the proper name for it.  I think it was an Audi or something.  But it was neon green and just absolutely ridiculous looking.  Opinion, I know.  Who am I to call something ridiculous that someone else could possibly like?  On top of that, what kind of man lets himself get all gayed up about someone else’s preference of vehicle?  Especially when this person has zero car and an expired driver’s license.  MEA CULPA!!

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I think a really neat hobby for a really negative person would be to come up with irritating and creative ways to say “no” to people.

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So Edie and I are in year four together.  This so far is the longest commitment I’ve had to a pet.  I’ve had two dogs die on me.  Both of them hit by a car.

Kahlua was a black German Shepherd.  She was a retired security dog.  She was retired because she had a hip displasia.  She was in great shape otherwise.  She was only two years old when I got her.  Whenever I left the house I told her to “watch”.  She would sit alert staring at the door until I came home.

I slept during the day because I was working nights.  On one of these days in question she escaped the backyard while my girlfriend at the time was on the phone.  She ended up getting hit by a car.  I rushed her to the animal hospital.   They couldn’t save her.  Cost me five hundred bucks and she still died.  I was devastated.

Carly was a black rottweiler/lab cross.  She was beautiful.  She was as black as a silhouette, and was identical to a rottweiller with her ears and tail done.  Some horrible biker people had trained her to be a fighting dog.  The SPCA intervened and I adopted her.  Her name was actually “Harley” but I changed it accordingly.

Her and I were best friends.  Only problem was my tiny apartment, and she had separation anxiety.  On top of that she hated anyone tattooed.  Strangely enough, she also hated black people.

Her behaviour was also unpredictable.  She bit my friend’s girlfriend in the face.  I thought that maybe being in such a small apartment might be stressing her out.  I mean the place was small.

A good friend of mine took her into his care.  I could see her any time I wanted.  He had a big house and a huge yard and room mates.  She loved her new home, but I was still her best friend.  She would go mental every time I came to visit.  To make a long story short.  She ended up getting hit by a car too….  But not on my watch.

Edie is a lapdog.  She is a shitzu-poodle mix.  I paid a thousand dollars for her and I love her to pieces.  I’ve never been so close to another animal.  I worry about her dying someday though.  I know that sounds lame but it’s true.  I just love her so much.

I hope she doesn’t get hit by a car.

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I hope you are all as happy as I am.

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