Language Autobiography 2013: Judgement

When we heard the announcement that school was out early due to the snowstorm, you could hear everyone; even the teachers were happy to hear the news. I’ve never seen such a large crowd clear out that fast in my life. It was as if there was a bomb in the school. I was happy to get out of school early but I didn’t have any plans for what to do after and neither did any of my friends. Then one of my friends said “lets have a snowball fight.”

“Yeah it can be a little like call of duty.”

“Yea bro lets do it,” said my other friend.

“Lets go then” I said.

“Lets make it a free for all said my other friend.

We took position in different parts of the school yard. I choose the east side to stay away from a corner. The rules were simple, hit and don’t get it. It was crazy, snowy projectiles filled the air around me. I barely had enough time to throw because I was ducking and dodging snowballs. Then our principal came out and yelled “What are you doing!” We all looked at each other with a startled expression on our face. She yelled again “Come to the office, now!” We went to the office and sat down. “I will not tolerate such act of insolence at my school. You know I could have all of you suspended for this.”

“We're sorry!” we replied.

“Because you guys are well behaved, I’m not gonna have you suspended, especially on a half day, however, I have to call your parents.” When I came home my mom gave me a barrage of insults. She said the more I use slang, the more non-sense I got into.

In the professional world, I might be seen as an ignorant, immature, incompetent, and antisocial person because of the stereotypes associated with how I speak. I speak with what people would call a ghetto slang. I use it just because it’s what feels the most natural and comfortable to me. People see it badly because it originated in the ghetto, which is considered to be a bad place. It also doesn’t help when it’s always portrayed in big films as ignorant.

I do not believe that my usage of slang makes me inferior. It is important to also realize that speaking with slang can show my intelligence. For example, it takes a large amount of intelligence to learn a second language and an even larger amount to be bilingual. Slang is the same concept. One who can be fluent in modern english and slang shows a great deal of mental intelligence. With my modern english and slang, I speak two forms of english and can switch between either one at will. In a sense that shows intelligence. Intelligence isn’t based on how you speak, its about how you present yourself. My mom once complained to me that I was using too much slang. She then made the reference that it was a sign that my grades wouldn’t be that good (because it was around report card time.) Later that day she came to realize that her connection was false because I had all A’s and B’s on my report card.

One day on vacation, me, my brother, and my twin cousins were on the boardwalk in Ocean City. I was holding a bucket of Thrasher fries and we were going in on it. We had gotten to the point where we were looking for street entertainers and other things that could be of interest. We do this because in the past, crazy things of good, bad, or of absolutely hilarious nature has happened to us. My cousin said “Hey look at that.”

“What?” I replied.

“Ha, it’s some guy using trash as an instrument.” He said.

“He must suck.” said my brother.

“Yeah definitely.” said my other cousin.

To me there was something interesting about him. “Wait a minute,” I said “Lets see what this guys got.”

“Why?” they all replied.

“Because you never know and judging by the crowd this guys collecting he might just make something out of those pots, pans, and cans.” I said. So we stopped to watch him perform. He announced to the crowd, “Now I know this just looks like some crazy kid banging some trash, but you don’t need real drums to be a drummer. You just need some sticks, and something that makes a beat.” When he said that, I thought maybe this guy really was good. He began playing, right out the gate this amazing sensation of sound hit our ears. His hands were a blur as he banged on his pots and pans. After about two minutes of relentless amazement of this performance he stopped and said, “O.K now I know that was good right.”

“Yeah!” cheered the crowd.

“Yeah, but what if for whatever reason I lost my arm... You would think I wouldn’t be able to play right... Think again.” Then another barrage of incredible sounds and mind twisting movements. We’ve never seen such amazing use of any musical instrument, let alone one made from recyclables. When he was finished he said “It would be great if you give me a donation so I can get a real drum set. There was no question about it, we all gave one dollar each to his cause.

This was a prime example of you can speak two languages at once, or how you can justify the language of your surroundings by your own language. His surroundings suggested that he was a sorry excuse for any musician, or just another bad street act to make you feel good about how talented you are. The fact that he had trash has an instrument would’ve set the idea in just about anyones head that he was poor and maybe not that talented, but this was somewhat justified by the amount of dedication and confidence in his language. He spoke with the kind of intensity of a famous musical artist about to perform at a huge concert. Then to set it in stone, his musical language proved to everyone that he was good. The way he played would’ve made just about any musician I know rethink how great they were. That’s how you can speak two languages at once.