Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Manny - The Kid Down The Block
I should have realized how many of you would respond so positively to Manny and his memorable take on the art of blogging. Each comment I read made me remember another Manny moment.
I met Manny when he was 12. He lived down the block with his parents and his grandmother. Although my son was a few years older than him they were fast friends, Jeffrey was a big brother to many of the kids on the block.
The doorbell rang late one Sunday evening. I opened the door and Manny jumped back as though he’d been pushed.
“Oh! Hey! Jeffrey’s Mom. I’m sorry”
“What are you sorry for?”
“Uh, I shouldn’t bother you. I need Jeffrey”
I explained that Jeffrey wasn’t home but that it wasn’t a bother. He told me his name was Manny and that he lived down the block. I knew his grandmother a bit and Jeffrey mentioned him often.
I asked several times what he needed and finally …
“The 24 hour store is closed. Is that fuckin’ incredible! How can you be a 24 hour store and be closed?”
And so Manny became famous for “fuckin’ incredible” – it spread like wildfire throughout the family. We are like monkeys with a new toy.
Manny had a rough time growing up. His grandmother was the one consistent loving force in his life; his parents were just too young and too troubled. Yet Manny thrived because he has a light around him. He is a genuine soul with an open heart and a wonderful sense of right and fair play.
Manny and me! We have had our fair share of adventures. Manny helped me rescue the stray cats in the neighborhood. He was the first one to arrive the day I got caught on a fence. There I was half over the fence with my pants caught on a rusted nail. I had a screaming kitten in one hand and I was struggling to release myself without falling.
“Yo! Di! (it had taken forever to get Manny to call me something other than Mrs. …) what are you doing?”
“I’m stuck Manny”
“Are you OK?”
“Well no, no I’m not, I’m stuck Manny”
“Jeff, Jeff, come here! Your mother, she’s stuck on a fence, it’s fuckin’ incredible”
“Manny!! Don’t call anyone, just come help me”
Oh yeah! That would be easier”
After that Manny never let me go on “rescue missions” alone. He decided I couldn’t be trusted to be careful.
Manny worked for me for a short time. While I think, no – I know, that Manny is smart; he didn’t always share my opinion.
“You’re just giving me a job because you feel bad for me”
“No, I need help Manny”
“But I’m no good in an office”
“I’ll decide that, I haven’t even told you what I need you to do”
“Offices are scary places Di”
“Manny, offices are places where people act like they know more than they really do. Half the time I’m not sure what the fuck I should do; clients scream at me, I say I’m sorry all day long, I make it up as I go along and do the best I can. You can do that”
Manny was fine. Clients loved him. He never cursed on the phone or in front of “those ladies who work up front”. More than I can say for me.
Eventually Manny realized he was smart and went back to school.
This Sunday he told me about his wonderful new job. He is also still mentoring at risk kids through a local sports league. He’s been doing that for over 10 years.
Manny said I could write whatever I want about him as long as I didn’t get mushy.
No mush Manny – all I can say is – you’re fuckin’ incredible.