Greenwich Village, 1958
- What scares me most: Going to a real school (like P. S. 41)
- What I like best: Anything with a number attached
What #1 and #2 add up to: Being at Sky’s teaching Ruby and Sophie something cool they can do with numbers
- Makes you get up too early
- Have to make your own lunch every night or buy something crummy there
- Have to deal with guys who want to punch you out for no reason
- Have too much homework, most of it dumb
Robs you of your freedom
- Get up whenever we want
- Get lunch or not, whatever we want
- Nobody’s punching anybody here unless they’re in a bar fight
- Kids are too young to go to bars
- No homework, ever
- Social worker butting her nose into our lives
- Wants us to take a test
- Know I can pass math
- Not so sure about English
Why’s there an English test anyway? We all know how to speak the language. What more do we need?
- No School
- If forced to go, need boxing lessons
I can’t say any of this to Ruby because I know she already feels terrible. But Sophie and I talk about it all the time. Sophie says I should start boxing lessons now, just in case.
If I were, who’d I get to show me? I think Jimmy’s pretty good. He works at Buka’s bakery and I’ve seen him work out. There may be other cats around here that box, but it’s not much of a Beat thing, really.
Still and all, I like going to fights with my dad once in a while. Last year, Sugar Ray Robinson won the middleweight title for a record fourth time. Then welterweight camp Carmen Basilio defeated Robinson in 15 rounds in the Bronx and he won the middleweight title. My dad and I saw that one.
Fifteen rounds and his face beaten to a pulp. Still he kept going and somehow he won. Course, nobody knows yet what would happen in a rematch. But because Carmen was a welterweight, it gave me hope. I don’t think I’ll ever be much more than a welter myself.
What this adds up to is that you can be small(er) and still know how to handle yourself.
They say nice guys finish last, but it’s not always true. Jimmy is a pretty nice guy and does pretty well, especially in the girlfriend department. I think he would teach me. Think dad would pay him something, too.
What’s all this add up to? My dad says the way you stop bad stuff from happening is to be prepared for it. So if we absolutely had to go to school and I got picked on, I’d know how to fight.
Except you’re not supposed to fight in school. In fact, you get thrown out if you do.
Maybe that’s not such a bad idea.
It adds up. You know?