Some Who Fancy Themselves Tough Guys Don’t Die Young – E-book Excerpt

The following is another compelling excerpt from the e-book In Through A Coloured Lens

January 14, 2007

Some Who Fancy Themselves Tough Guys Don’t Die Young 

Guns have been in high schools for decades, another signal of the folly and recklessness along the way to adulthood and maturity. A stable home life ups the chances a teen will be better able to navigate those deceptively treacherous years. If not a stable home life, then a strong early foundation leaves a good chance to recover from the relatively risky teen years.

I remember José (not his real name), a rosy-cheeked boy of Spanish heritage who wore a puffy Afro and identified himself as Black. He went — for a while anyway — to my high school. José was growing up in a household of women – his mother and two older sisters – where he was the only male and had no male presence to emulate or to guide him. School gossip was that his father had died.

José was one of the guys who smoked substances that were not allowed in the smoking area just outside the school building. Later, his attendance at school became irregular. After that, he would visit the school although he was no longer a student there.

I remember the day José showed me his gun. Well, showed off was more like it. He handed me a small bag that was surprisingly heavy. When I saw what was inside, I immediately handed it back to him and asked what he was doing with such a thing.

I didn’t see José again for years, until we ran into each other by chance. The rosiness of his cheeks was all gone. The baby softness, which decades before seemed so incongruous with his tough man attitude, was also gone. Now he was muscular and wiry. Of below average height, he looked nevertheless like someone you wouldn’t want to test in a fight.

He said he was living in a nearby basement apartment and that he had recently returned from one of the States out west where he had served time for armed robbery. He said something about lawyers being some of the best people in the world, and especially sang the praises of his lawyer.  Apparently, he had been able to get José off with less jail time than might have been the case, given the charge.

José said he’d learned a lot in jail about how to be a better skilled criminal. What we are interested in we study. What we study we become good at. What we become good at we practice as a skill.

José would pop up in unexpected places at unexpected times over the years. The next time I saw him was about 15 years after his return from the West Coast jails. Then, he looked like a homeless person. When I said hello, he either didn’t recognize me or pretended not to. It was hard to tell. He said he didn’t know who I was. Mental illness was evident.

The last time I saw José was on a subway train. He looked much, much older than his years. His hair had turned mostly gray and his features had become hardened. Given the previous chance meeting years before, I wasn’t sure whether to say hello or not. I looked in his direction a few times, and as I prepared to get off the train he waved and said hello. He asked how I was. I said, “Fine.” I didn’t ask how he was.

Not every youth who wants to be the bad man is killed off before he reaches 25. Some, like José, live past their dangerous youth. Then they have the rest of their lives to contend with. José didn’t study academics or a trade; he studied crime. He had come from a fine family. That’s what the gossip was. But he didn’t look like a man who had come from a fine family.   He looked beaten and worn out by his life choices.

Toronto writer and columnist Pat Watson is the author of the e-book In Through A Coloured Lens available at amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk

Free e-book download ends Dec. 18

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There has been much interest from readers who have taken up the free download offer at amazon.com for In Through A Coloured Lens. Downloads have come in from the U.S. and Canada as well as the UK, Japan, Italy and Germany.

The free download period ends Wednesday, Dec. 18. So don’t miss your chance to take advantage of it.

Not a Kindle user? You can still get a copy. Amazon provides a feature to let you download e-books to tablets, smart phones and computers.

Radio interview & more free e-book download days

Hello All.

Here is the url for the author interview that took place on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15 on Diasporic Music with host Otis Richmond to  further promote In Through A Coloured Lens. It can be heard in the last 30 minutes of the recording, but the entire 2-hour session is good.

http://uhurunews.com/radio/playaudio?resource_name=sly-dunbar-pat-watson

In other promo news, another free download period at amazon.com has been added: Dec 16 to Dec. 18. So catch it while you can. If you don’t have a kindle reader, your copy can be downloaded to tablet, smart phone or computer using features available at amazon.com.

Once you’ve read In Through A Coloured Lens, remember to leave a comment and rating at amazon.com . Please share your opinion there with other readers.

Find it at: http://www.amazon.com/Through-Coloured-Lens-Pat-Watson-ebook/dp/B00F8EODTC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387174867&sr=1-1&keywords=in+through+a+coloured+lens

Free download on fire! Author interview at 1530 est

There has been worldwide response to the complementary offer of In Through A Coloured Lens. Free download continues. Even if you don’t own a Kindle reader you can download this very readable e-book. See amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk etc. for the app or feature that let’s you do that. It’s easy.
Sunday, December 15 at 3:30 pm (eastern standard time) In Through A Coloured Lens author Pat Watson will be interviewed on Diasporic Music hosted by Otis Richmond.
Also featured – Sly Dunbar, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Youssou N’Dour, Rokia Traoré and The Real Sun.
Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio http://uhurunews.com/radio/?tzoffminutes=300

News of e-book download comp and radio interview

Thank you to those who responded to the poll regarding interest in a free download from amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk of my debut e-book, In Through A Coloured Lens, taking place over a two-day period – this Saturday, Dec 14 and  Sunday, Dec. 15.

Also on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3:30 p.m., I’ll be interviewed by Diasporic Music host Otis Richmond on Uhuru Radio. http://uhurunews.com/radio/?tzoffminutes=300

What is In Through A Coloured Lens about?

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A young man searches for his identity. Young Black men lose their lives to the stories created about them that they then buy into. A mysterious bus driver documents an apocalyptic tale of our contemporary lives as it relates to the Book of Revelations. A woman speaks in the Council Chamber at Toronto City Hall to tell about how her life went from normal to the desperation of depression and homelessness and recovery. A northern city become known for it’s annual Caribbean carnival rivalling many similar celebrations around the globe. A little girl skips along a sidewalk, bringing memories of long forgotten childhoods.

In Through a Coloured Lens is a compilation of timely and timeless columns selected from the hundreds by Toronto writer and columnist Pat Watson that have appeared over the past ten years in Share newspaper – “Canada’s largest ethnic newspaper”. Here are words on the lives of African Canadians and the issues that affect them even beyond Canada’s borders. With Watson’s particular insights colouring each view, themes range from family relations to race relations, politics to humour, mental health and poverty, and even spirituality.

For added dimension, there are illustrations by M.W. Santerre

A Note On…The Latest

 Nov26aa

A note on kismet …

Just when they thought they could not only “Imagine the Freedom”, but live it, fortune threw a wrench into those 19 Bell Canada employees’ $50-million lottery New Year celebration when eight others step forward claiming they wanted in. ‘Imagine the Annoyance’ of having to wait two years for the whole mess to be cleared up. ‘Imagine the Disappointment’ of the eight whose lawyer could not convince the courts that they had a legitimate claim.

On a note of pious appreciation…

It can be so charming the way some churchgoers express their appreciation for that which the secular would view with blatant lust. As two Christian-minded gentlemen admired the bountiful curves of a pulchritudinous lady, one commented to the other with unrestrained enthusiasm, “God has really, really blessed her so very generously.” By the fourth or fifth fervent repetition of his heavenly praise, all those nearby got the message.

A note on signs of eccentricity everywhere…

The Toronto Transit Commission’s recent poster campaign to stop people messing up the subway with discarded chewing gum had one passenger pressing his finger into an enlarged photograph of a chewed wad of gum, apparently checking if it was real gum. And if it was, why touch something that appeared to be already chewed? Then in another subway car, there was the unknown person who took his or her already chewed gum and stuck it over the image on the poster, maybe for the 3-D effect. Gotta love this city’s craziness.

Toronto writer and columnist Pat Watson is the author of the e-book In Through A Coloured Lens available at amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk