“Totem pole top, honored by the few.” — Ab Liva
2008 was an interesting year for me, to say the least. I was coming off six months of cancer treatment after being diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall of 2007. I came back to finish high school, with a certain feel of invincibility. I had just punched this deadly disease in the face and I couldn’t be touched.
And though those months weren’t the greatest, the whole ordeal reconnected me to my family, including an older cousin in particular, who put me onto Clipse and Re-Up Gang. We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 3 dropped on the heels of my entering remission, and to this day, it remains a marker of what I went through, and how much my life changed after.
I shed everything from my pre-cancer days. Only a couple scars remained to serve as reminders. My wardrobe was gone, as a new style replaced the old. I grew a beard. I got a new car. And best of all, I had a permanent doctor’s note to get me out of class whenever I felt “unwell.” Needless to say, my sixth period teacher barely knew my name. I was loved by my classmates and adored by faculty, so attendance wasn’t a problem.
“Interstate 80, minus the triple beam” — Sandman
And when a girl showed interest in me, I made the juvenile mistake of listening to my balls instead of my brain–which is to say I let the relationship escalate when I had no interest in reciprocating. Naturally, our dating lasted barely eight weeks, two of which she didn’t speak to me (for a variety of reasons).
It all came down to Grand Theft Auto IV. Like in the game, speed limits weren’t really my thing, and she had an issue with my recklessness. Looking back now, she had a genuine point. Meanwhile every year, our high school held a two-day presentation to help scare students away from driving drunk, and topped off its realism with a mock car accident. She was a participant, and of course, my friends and I chose to not attend. We made a run to Fry’s to cop GTAIV, whose release date coincided with the presentation.
In hindsight, that was a boneheaded decision to make, but I had a get out of jail free card. I was going to use it, god dammit! My friends and I beat the game in two days, the latter of which wound up being the final day of that relationship.
I went from blowing up a helicopter with a bazooka to being at the receiving end of a different sort of blow up. And after hearing how much of a jerk I was and how my cancer should have made me a better person, my newly single self dropped her home for the last time, then picked up the homies and sped off on a quest to find the nearest Sonic. We searched for shitty nuggets and fried chicken on skates, all to the tune of Malice, Pusha, Ab-Liva, and Sandman.*
“Just double up on birds, like Noah in the flood” — Malice**
* — To this day, every time I come back home, we reserve one night to cruise through the bright city lights and play a few cuts and turn back the clock.
** — Not the intended meeting, but oh well.