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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Issue: People: Carlsbad



A medium time ago I tested for one of the old guard companies. My hair was a nappy brier patch imitating dreadlocks that I hid it under a big grey wool cap. After a while people began to refer to me as "Black in the hat," because I wore the hat everyday as I couldn't afford to get my hair fixed at the time.  But I didn't mind the Dr. Seuss reference much because most people couldn't pronounce my real name correctly anyway.

I got a callback once to test one of those games about the lives of basketball players. You could dress them up and put regular basketball player stuff in their house like gold toilets and strippers. You could also play basketball with them and track their stats over the course of a season. In the testing bay I sat with a group of testers I had worked with previously.

The group was composed of a short black lesbian girl that ran a hip hop radio station, a skinny white guy that barely spoke but was regarded as the best video game basketball player on the team, a Mexican kid that laughed a lot and listened to San Diego gangster rap exclusively, a down to earth guy from New York that spoke his mind no matter who was in front of him, and a kid from Carlsbad that everybody called Carlsbad.

At lunch we would grab fast food together or drive around the area smoking herbal essence. During the ride we mostly argued among each other about what hip hop is and where it is going, spit horrible freestyle raps, or talked a lot of shit. But we didn't make much of the shit talking as we were all passionate about music, and sometimes after seven days straight of crunchtime hours it felt good to yell at somebody about something you care about instead of getting yelled at over things you could care less about.

Carlsbad was a skinny white kid that wore thin rim glasses and talked the smack of a guy three times his size, to guys three times his size. After work we played a lot of online FPS's together. He was the kid that would spam and curse during matches, and if someone responded to the bait he was a master at finding the button that would send them ballistic. The group would end up focusing on him because of stuff he said. One time he and I got into it while we were arguing the legacy of Eminem.

He believed Eminem to be the undisputed greatest rapper to ever walk the earth, I disagreed with him, but admitted that he is definitely in the running. In response he said, "Well if Eminem was a nigga you would say the same thing." Crickets, I told the driver to stop the car because I was going to put hands on him. I felt the need to defend the honor of my race against that word.

So we stopped in a random Cul de sac and got out. Everyone stood in a semi around he and I, he looked scared and a bit sad, but I was so angry I didn't care what he felt, I only cared about how he made me feel. New York broke the silence by asking me a question, he asked "Is he right?"

I turned to look at him, he had a slight smile on his face. I started thinking about his question and came to the conclusion that Carlsbad was right, If Eminem was black he would either not be as popular as he is, or his skill plus his race might make him the unquestioned king of rap. The word nigga tripped me up, I didn't even consider the question he posed after hearing it.

After that I dropped my guard and started laughing, Carlsbad started laughing, then everybody started laughing and talking shit again. From then on New York and I looked after Carlsbad when people gave him shit, we knew he was a smart dude and meant well, he just didn't consider how other people would feel about the things he said because he didn't really think words were a big deal anymore, even though to most people they are.

Carlsbad wanted to marry his girlfriend but her parents couldn't stand him. His own parents wanted him out of their house because he was always in trouble and they didn't see his life going anywhere. He caught a couple cases for drug possession, the first time for a bag with two mushroom caps he was carrying at a party, and the next time for a marijuana roach in his cars glove box.

His parole required him to be employed, but he couldn't explain to the parole officer how testing works, you work for a couple months, then you are off, and if they liked you they call you back. The judge had a hard time believing that was how it worked as well, he thought Carlsbad just got fired. So the judge sentenced him to prison to teach him a lesson in commitment, because you can't get fired from prison.

Carlsbad was terrified of prison, he talked a good game, but understood that he wasn't built for that life, and we knew he wasn't either. One night after we had finished an outdoor sniper map, he said "I can't take this anymore dude, I'm taking off, I love you bruh take it easy." I gave him shit for saying he loved me before I peace'd out, I called it gay.

I learned later that after he logged off he went into his garage, closed all the doors, ran a hose from his muffler to the inside of his car through the window, got in the car, and turned over the engine. A few weeks later our staffing representative called to tell me he committed suicide, and to ask if I was interested in doing a TRC pass against the newest titles alpha build.

He would always ask me to come over to hang out, but he was all the way up north and I would complain about gas money, honestly he still annoyed me a little bit in person, and it was just easier to deal with him online. I don't play the same game we played anymore.

If you have time head over to the online profile "Airizzle" and say hi to Carlsbad. I love you too cracker jack, sleep well.

Protoculture Mixtape v.5

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