I had a friend, while back. I used to obsess over him. Like really obsess over him. I was so happy that I’d found a black guy who liked listening to NPR and Tom Waites. And in the South, of all places. Now I know it sounds like stereotyping, but… Whatever. 

Turned out, he was mixed. His mom’s a French Canadian broad, and his dad’s a negro. Good enough.  But I’d always wanted to ask him about that. Did he feel like he was constantly trying to find out his identity? I figured this was worse because his dad wasn’t in his life, so he’s just surrounded by white family members. And his relatives are from Maine white. Like pasty white. And here he is, looking somewhat Arabic with a whole bunch of curly hair.

But I think maybe I was projecting a bit. I’m sure that he was comfortable with it. He’s had years maybe trying to figure it out. Or maybe he didn’t. And all of that is OK. I, on the other hand had struggled with existential crises since I started college. Every semester it was always something. Always a “Who am I?” moment. So I figured since I’m all tragic, maybe he was too.

Too bad I can’t ask. 



  1. mrmarymuthafuckingpoppins · March 24, 2014

    Why is your heritage ? Nice post btw. For a while last year I listen to tom waites and drank whiskey good times ?

    • writerontheradio · March 24, 2014

      Thank! And good times as well! I think he enjoyed whiskey, too. I’m your typical black American, with a few other things thrown into the mix. I consider myself black, though.

      • mrmarymuthafuckingpoppins · March 26, 2014

        Im Haitian, born here which is prolly why i feel lost in terms of social identity. I loved Tom Waits reading of Bukowski

      • writerontheradio · March 26, 2014

        I felt the same way, until I moved to New York. I’m not sure if it’s the south or if it’s small town living, but I felt a very narrow definition of what “blackness” was, and it felt very refreshing to encounter those willing to break out of that mould. And Bukowski is awesome. I wish I could have met him when he was alive

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