Uncle Willie and The Downside of Working Out
My paternal Uncle William or Guillaume was the eldest of all the siblings and was unfortunately one of those good kids gone bad. My grandfather and grandmother according to the story I got spent a lot of money to send him to the best schools, to get him out of trouble. Tragedy struck one day when he was shot to death, and according to family story since my family could not afford to bribe or pay off the ambulance driver he ended up dying in front of my mother and then 6-7 year old pops. My father till this day says he was happy his brother died because he made his family suffer a lot and he was sort of mean to my pops being much older than him. He says he hates him still.
Flash forward to the 3rd grade
I forget the offence but my father told me I look like his Brother Willy, I act like him too and that he hates me and will send me back to Haiti before I get the chance to destroy the family and what he has worked so hard for. I my main fault was that I was kept home all the time, and every aspect of my life was micromanaged – What I should say , how I should say it, How my lips were position when I enunciated certain words, how my cursive style of handwriting was inferior because of how I wrote my f’s, p’s and didn’t dot my i’s or cross my t’s. I cannot tell u how many times I was yelled at, or even beaten a few times for not crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s or not taking my vitamin’s, because I put the whole family at risk if I am sick. I wish I could recreate how it was to live with that psychosis that one is always being watched. I had to bring school books I didn’t need to with me for impromptu inspections of homework, class work and quizzes. I was given a list of books to read from my father as I wasn’t sensible to chose myself and the books I did choose didn’t teach me anything or make me better than other students.
I was angry a lot and couldn’t sleep and was in college horribly depressed. I didn’t go to class. I had enough energy to get out of bed shower and get out of that hell hole and make it to school. I could make it to class. Then I was taking my sister to school for a while in queens when we lived in Brooklyn. I had to wake up 4:40Am take the number 2 train that came around 5:20. Nightmarish. Its hard to see yourself a career honor student and all around smart dude, not being able to study or make it to class, and even be on academic probation. Working out with the dudes I did for some reason helped.
I was able to sleep normally again made some friend and wasn’t so much in my head. It was wonderful, except that like me Uncle Willy loved to work out too, and was a beast in the gym as well back in the 50’s. He was a fan of the Joe Weider system. My uncle saw me once and was really taken back. I am supposedly the spitting image of this dude. But working out made me a disgrace to the family because everyone would think I was some meat head who couldn’t read or pass a urine test. Now muscles added disgrace to the family legacy in a new country.
And that mi gente was the down sound of working out, the constant name calling and out down, and having to help family move from apartment to apartment