The Thug Life Chose Me


Earlier today [Author’s Note:  Thursday] at work, one of my coworkers sent me a list of thoughtful statements about what sort of qualities are connected with intellect.  The list included some that make a great deal of sense—a messy desk as a sign of creative mind, a love of sleeping in that is connected with staying up late with too much on one’s mind, a high degree of anxiety because of self-knowledge.  Other qualities seem to suggest the general fact that intelligence is often connected with transgressing boundaries—including its correlation with swearing and the use of recreational drugs.  Still other qualities are very odd and come out of left field—such as the fact that blondes are slightly more intelligent than darker haired people, albeit not statistically significantly so.  Given my fairly obvious love of reading and the fact that my intellectual nature is too flamboyantly displayed to be carefully hidden, it is pretty obvious why I was forwarded this particular message by my coworker, who sits in the same general area of the office cube farm [1] that I do.

Across the passageway that separates my cube at work from the agents, occasionally I chat with my neighbors.  One of my neighbors, for example, is a fellow sports fan.  It is a source of frequent surprise to other people (apparently people who do not read my blog and my frequent commentaries on sports history or sporting events, or people who do not help out or attend the volleyball practices that I do during the winter season) that I am such a big fan of athletics.  Apparently I look a bit too nerdy and enjoy sedentary reading of books too much to appear like an obvious sports fan.  Anyway, today I got the chance to chat with my neighbor across the way about sports, including our mutual love of the Euro 2016 tournament, our horror at sports hooligans, and our appreciation of the success of the Welsh and Northern Irish teams at this year’s tournament.  While he was on a call with a customer I was able to inform him about the game between the United States and Ecuador that was to take place in the evening.  [Author’s Note:  This game will be done by the time this post appears on my blog, possibly by days.]  Besides the fact that he is pretty fortunate to be able to watch soccer games while waiting for calls at work, it was pretty good to be able to share a love of sports with others around who may not be aware of it very often simply because they judge by my unprepossessing exterior appearance.

Given the computer problems I have been having, and the fact that I have a ridiculous amount of books to read, I have not been spending a great deal of time at home.  My roommate informed me this past weekend [2] about his intents to move, but wanted to make it clear that he was not moving until October or November, as he does not want me to leave too soon and leave him, financially speaking, in a lurch when it comes to rent.  Of course, my love of somewhat social reading tends to lead me to find other places to spend time and return home only in the evening.  Without a functioning computer, I have even less reason to return home earlier than necessary to sleep, aside from the fact that at least a couple days a week recently I have been consistently busy with other responsibilities and socializing.  Not being the sort of person who likes to explain the fact that I like reading around other people, sometimes take evening classes, or sometimes receive invitations to spend the evening chatting with friends, sometimes I suppose I am not aware of the way that my behavior appears to others who might have reason to be concerned about my motives.  This is obviously something that will be of great importance if I ever end up marrying, as the life of a bibliophile bachelor is not necessarily good preparation for putting people at ease when it comes to my social activities.

One of the memes that I most enjoy are photos that say:  “I didn’t choose the thug life.  The thug life chose me.”  What does this mean in particular circumstances?  For a gloomy or somewhat anxious cat, they did not choose the thug life because someone else dressed them in ridiculous clothing to look like a gangsta kitty.  They did not choose the thug life because they did not have free will in the matter, or even awareness of what the thug life was.  At times, matters may simply beyond our own choice, and we may be associated with a certain culture simply by accidents beyond our control  Yet as human beings, we choose what we become.  If we associate someone with being a thug simply because of their address in a bad neighborhood, we are putting them into a box or affixing a label to them based on something that is not totally within their control—especially given the constraints of life.  However, if we associate behaviors with a label, we have the choice whether or not to protest a given label, or whether or not to persist in a given set of behaviors.  We may be fondly attached to behaviors, like reading copious amounts of words, using elevated vocabulary, or being generally focused on intellectual growth and mental development, even if we are not fond at being labeled as a nerd for doing so.  We may be fond of scoping a neighborhood for cops, dealing various recreational drugs, but not fond of being labeled as a gangsta as a result.  We choose what we will be and what we call ourselves, but others will call us what they want whether we like it or not.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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