Self Defense and Improvised Weapons: Using What’s Around You

Thursday, June 26, 2008 10:37 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc, tell me some more about self defense. The idea of taking care of myself is important, because the world is getting worse, and I am small, like 8 stone (115 pounds, US).

Doc: You know I ain't recommendin' nobody gettin' into a fight. But, if someone is set on fightin' you, you got to remember you ain’t helpless. I wouldn't recommend you carry a knife into a bar. I recommend that you stay outta bars. Always someone in a bar who got somethin' to prove. More 'n that, if you gotta a record and get into a scuffle, you will go to jail for that.

My pockets usually got something I could use, like I said earlier. Sometimes I would have one of my dog's collars with me. Just rolled up and stuck in a coat pocket. You can roll that around our wrist if you like to protect your hands.

You could carry a biker’s wallet or a trucker’s wallet with a dog’s choker chain on it. You can use it as a choker. You can unloose it off the wallet, wrap it around your wrist and swing it in his face and THEN choke him enough he passes out.

Then you got to hightail it out of there before he comes to, or before the cops come. Don’t stand around like you’re a hero or a hard guy. I can tell you in one word what you gotta do as soon as he is knocked out, or on the ground: GET OUT!

But that ain’t you. That chain wallet ain’t you. It don’t suit your style, Tondy. You look more like a office boy.

So you’re eating out in a sit down restaurant, or a bar. What do you have there? Salt shakers, pepper sauce, maybe a glass candle you can jam in his face, silverware. All that’s just at your table.

You got wooden stools or wooden chairs. Use them like a lion tamer to protect yourself and your girlfriend. Grab it, by the seat and the back, and jab him with the legs, then throw it at him and get the heck out of there.

"He ain’t patty cakin’ you, he wants to hurt you or kill you."

What else you got in a restaurant or bar? You got the bar, or the counter, and the back wall of the booth. Grab him and jam his face down on it, while kneeing him in the butt, and stomping on the back of his leg, at the back of his knee. Bring him to the ground and then disable him.

How about a bench, if you’re out front. Drag him over there and jam his head onto it. Bust his face into a tree trunk if you’re outside.

Grab a free real estate magazine or Auto Trader on your way in. They have them right at the entryway at a lot of places. Free weapons. Roll it tight as you can. Really tight. Now, it is a good jabber!

Grab it so maybe two inches sticks out the side of your hand where your pinky is. Stick it in his eye. Jam it up the bottom of his nose, or up under his chin. Hit his [solar plexus], jam it into the bottom of his groin, up under his privates. Jam it into his ears. Jam it into the side of his neck, about 3 inches under his ears. ALWAYS hit as hard as you can. You have to remove the threat. He ain’t patty cakin’ you, he wants to hurt you or kill you. You need to stay alive, long enough to get you and your girl out of there. That’s all for right now.

Self Defense, Personal Protection, Improvised Weapons in Bars and Clubs

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:34 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: “Doc, I’m a small guy, and quite often my work takes me into places where it’s dangerous and I need to take care of myself. Even when I’m not working, sometimes when I’m in a bar or a club, I get nervous if a fight starts or if someone is going to pick on me.

I know from some of your stories that you don’t seem to be afraid of anybody and I remember the stories about you getting arrested for fighting in North Carolina, or Memphis and some other places... Tennessee or somewhere...”

Doc: “Yeah, a coupla places for fightin'. That one time in in Tennessee, it weren’t my fault. I weren;t fightin. I was protectin a guy what was bein' picked on. The other fella was mouthing off an’ then he slapped that little fella an’ I told him to back off an’ he came after me. So I hurt him an’ then the cops came an’ locked me up cause I wasn’t local. That’s all.

But a man needs to learn how to stay away from fights. That comes with some age and maybe with getting a record or bein' on parole or probation. Different things for different folks.

Tondeleo: You’ve mentioned how you can use almost anything for a weapon and that you don’t ever carry weapons, you make them on the spot...

Doc: Yeah, right, but it’s more to it than that. First off, if you been locked up before, an’ the cops come, you’re gonna get locked up if you’re carryin’ a weapon. Ain’t no arguing that. You’re goin’ to jail even if you ain’t did nothing.

They’ll detain you if they think you look suspicious an’ then they search you an’ find an ice pick or piece of chain or a knife on you. You’re finished. Guilty as charged, take me away. You gotta be careful ‘cause they will say you was out lookin’ for trouble, when all you wanted was a night out.

First off, Tondy, you want to stay OUT of fights. You don’t know who that other dude is. He might be carryin' a razor, or a gun. He might tazer you. He maybe just got out of jail and want to kill someone. Do what you can to get out of the situation. I’d better be embarrassed and be alive than be a big man and be crippled up or dead. Get up and leave.

Tondeleo: “But what if he blocks your way, or molests your date, or shoves you first?”

Doc: Well, you have to come up with your own weapons that ain’t really weapons. My wallet with a chain on it is a good example of a weapon what ain't no weapon. I might carry a thick sock in my coat pocket an’ a pool ball or somethin’ like that in my other pocket. If a fight is breakin’ out, I can put that pool ball in the toe of that sock an’ hit someone upside the head with it. Bam. He’s down, an’ I just had that sock cause I lost the other one at the laundromat!

You can use a drawstring marble bag, with a bunch of change in it for the same thing. Or put it in the toe of that sock for gettin’ leverage. You can protect yourself with a dollar’s worth of change in a marble bag, and a sock.

A roll of quarters is a good weapon in your pocket. Wrap your hand around it when you punch. I would say to punch with the BACK of your left hand, up against the left side of the head of the guy what’s causing problems, and follow up with a right up under his jaw while you move forward and knee him in the groin.

"Don’t never think you can break a beer bottle and hit him with it. It will break off in your hand and cut you. That only works on TV. Not in a real fight."

One of them bicycle locks with a cable or chain on it is a cheap weapon you can’t get in trouble for having. But you sling it into someone’s head, they’ll know it. You can get one of them for less than five bucks and it’s legal anywhere.

If I’m in a place an’ I feel something’s going down, I get me a cup of hot coffee. I can throw it in someone’s face an’ then jam the rim of the cup into his face. You don’t slap someone with a glass or mug. It’ll break an’ cut your hand. No, you grab the bottom of it and jam it into his face. Leaves a red ring on his face and breaks his nose, so you can get out of there. Always, try to not get in a fight and just do enough to get out of there and get lost. You can use a beer mug or heavy glass the same way.

Don’t never think you can break a beer bottle and hit him with it. It will break off in your hand and cut you. That only works on TV. Not in a real fight.

Tondy, you can use the salt and pepper shakers. Screw off the lid and throw the salt or pepper in his eyes, and then use the shaker in your hand so you can punch him and not hurt your knuckles. You can use it wrapped in your fist to hit him on top of the head, too.

Hot sauce works the same way. Swing the bottle with the lid off, into his eyes and then close your fist around it, and you can jab, hit his nose with the bottom of it, jam the little tip of it into his belly right here [solar plexus] or into his privates.

If you’re holding a can of beer or soda, you can take one last drink of it, while he’s running his mouth, an’ as you bring it down from your mouth, crush it, and then swing hard into his face. It will cut him a happy face. But you got to follow through.

Tondeleo: “Ouch! That would hurt!”

Doc: Well, of COURSE it’ll hurt, Tondy! It ain’t patty cake. A man’s tryin’ to hurt you. He is a snake and there ain't no shortage of snakes. If he will fight you, he will kill you. You have to make him so he cain’t hurt anyone.

You can tear up a man with a belt, if you wrap the end with the holes in it around your wrist and then cross it across you hand, and back around your wrist. You can put that on camera, Tondy. Makes the belt short so it can’t hit you in your own head, an’ with it wrapped, you won’t drop it an’ aint no one gonna take it away from you and beat you with it. You can knock a man down with the belt buckle, if you hit him upside the head. I wear a thick belt I got at Dollar General and it has a good sized buckle. That’s why I got it.

Always try to knock him down. Get him on the floor. Then you can stomp his, what’s that called... his groin, yeah, that’s it, an’ he won’t get up. You can grab his wrist and yank it up an’ stomp your foot into his armpit. It’ll jerk it out of the socket an’ he’ll walk around with his arm all limp and he won’t be hittin’ anyone for a while.

Don’t forget you can kick him in the privates as hard as you can. And you still gotta keep whaling on him. You don’t just hit a man and then stop to see what you done. It aint kinny garten stuff. No.

You hit and keep hitting. You kick, you stomp. Bite a man if you have to. Here’s how you bite a man. You don’t take a bunch of meat and muscle into your teeth. You just take skin. He might have his arm around your neck like he’s chokin’ you. You lower your head just enough to sink your teeth into the skin on his fore arm, and you bite and pull it off. It’ll look like a wet potato chip. That’s what hurts, not biting into the muscle. Your jaws ain’t strong enough. But you can pull off a patch of skin. Or off his neck. That works, too.

What they gonna do: outlaw teeth?

More on Success and Excuses

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 11:57 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Doc: “That neighbor’s boy – ain’t a boy, he’s a man – he’s 25. But he ain’t no man cause he won’t work or support himself. No, he sleeps in the bed his mama put there for him when he was 5 years old, and he don’t know nothin’ about bein’ a man.

He ain’t stupid, as far as him not havin’ a mind. He just fills his mind with trash that don’t do him no good at all. He gets on that interweb an’ types to people he don’t even know, but he ain’t got a job. He does that for hours.

He plays them ‘puter games all night, an’ then sleeps til 2 in the afternoon. Tells me he got on a new level last night. I said a new level of stupidity? He said he killed seven ninja warriors last night an’ now he is a champion. He is a champion of his head being a garbage can with a hairy lid, that’s what he’s the champion of.

Ain’t nobody payin’ him to play those games or be on his 'puter. Told me he is takin’ over the universe. I said why don’t you work on takin’ over a car an’ takin’ over a job so yer mama don’t have to feed you an’ wipe your rear end. An’ he went inside the house an’ pouted about it.

"I wish his mama would put him out an’ when his stomach gets close enough to his spine, he’ll get a job. Guarantee it."

That boy or man or whatever you call him, a male type creature but he ain’t no man, won’t go to bed so he can catch a ride with someone who goes to work every day. Two or three people goes to La Plata every day an’ go right past his house, but he’s in bed. I ain’t got no use for him. I wish his mama would put him out an’ when his stomach gets close enough to his spine, he’ll get a job. Guarantee it.

What’s he gonna do when his mama dies? Prob’ly move in with some girl he’s knocked up by then an’ mooch offa her like a big overgrown baby. An' any girl who would sleep with him is as stupid as he is – cause now you got TWO stupid grown ups an’ they will be two times as stupid as parents. If I was their kid I would commit suicide.

That’s why so many kids commit suicide, Tondy – they’s parents are not grown up themselves an’ are still actin’ like teenagers an’ wantin’ their kids to act like grownups. Not all of em, but a lot of em. I see it everyday, bunch of drunken weed heads an' crack heads an’ meth heads. An' I ain’t talkin Methodists.

Excuses and Success

Thursday, June 12, 2008 12:09 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Doc: “I talked to my neighbor down the road’s no good son today. Twenty five years old an’ he cain’t even wipe his own rear end. He’s out there sittin’ on the porch waitin’ for someone to come by an’ give him a ride up to the mall in Waldorf [a town 30 miles away from Nanjemoy, MD]. I stay outta Waldorf.

I’m askin’ him why he ain’t left the nest yet. He says things cost too much. I say they ain’t cost too much, you just ain’t makin’ enough. Get out there an’ make some money, Sport, an get outta your mama’s house.

"A man don’t make excuses, he makes a life and helps other folk."

He says ain’t nobody hirin.’ He ain’t had a job more than two weeks since he got outta school, an he DOES have a diploma, just got no ambition. I ain’t got no diploma, but I got a fire in my belly to stand on my own two feet and be a man.

I tell him they’s hirin’ up at the Walmart in La Plata. But he don’t want to work at Walmart. He says he would have to leave too early an’ besides he ain’t got no car. That’s cause he won’t work a real job. An’ because he smokes reefer an’ ain’t got no drive. But they ain’t givin’ him that weed for free. He don’t say IT cost too much!

So I tell him he already SMOKED his car! Ten, twenty dollars a day worth an’ now he is sittin’ on his mama’s porch makin’ excuses. If he HAD a car he couldn’t keep it cause insurance would be too much, tags would be too much, gas would be too much an’ wherever he got a job, they would be too mean an’ he would quit. He got excuse- itis.

I ain’t no Eisenstein, Tondy, but I ain’t no ‘scusemaker. Seems to me it’s just common sense when you ain’t got nothing, an’ are broke, that you get out there an’ take any job what’s legal an’ learn a little bit, get a car, get a place to stay an stand on your own two feet like a grown up. He’s a 25 year old crybaby. A man don’t make excuses, he makes a life and helps other folk.

My daddy use to say a woman looks for a strong shoulder to cry on. A man wants to have that strong shoulder for her to cry on. He also use to say if you wait for all the lights to turn green before you head into town you ain’t never gonna get outta the house. You do what you can and you BE something so you can stand tall an’ look any man in the eye.”

Career, Jobs, Money, Retirement

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:53 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: “You’ve worked a lot of jobs in your life. Some people would look at that and say you’re not in a position to tell anybody anything.

Doc: So what? I ain’t TRYIN’ to tell anybody anything. YOU’RE the one askin’ me all these questions an’ I’m just talkin’.

I ain’t got no advice. Here’s what I done. When daddy died an’ I had to drop outta school, I took a job at the sawmill cause they was hirin’ an’ I needed money for mamma an’ my brothers an’ sister. I didn’t like sawmill work an’ didn’t like Mr. Burch my boss. So what? I wasn’t there to like a job or like a boss. I was there to help my family, so I did it til I could find something else. Ain’t got nothin’ to do with did I like it or not.

Then I got a job at a body shop. I liked it better. It was an inside job, so I was warmer in the winter an’ outta the sun in the summer. I like cars. It paid better too. My boss, Leon was hard on me, but he paid me every Friday, so it was ok. I learnt a lot from him, an’ got pretty good at basic bodywork an’ paintin.’

With bodywork, I could get a job anywhere in the country. People ‘s always dentin’ their cars or needin’ a paint job. If they cain’t afford a new car, sometimes they will paint their old one. It’s a good trade an’ you can travel a lot. I have worked shops all over the south an’ made pretty fair money. That’s worth somethin’ when you like it an’ also get paid an’ can live anywhere you want.

Learned sign painting, making signs. Back then it was all hand lettered. I was at a body shop an’ when trucks came in that was lettered an’ had to be redone, I would put masking tape over the old letters an’trace them. Then I’d put it on the new door or whatever an’ cut it out with a razor knife, a exacto. An’ I would spray paint through where I had cut and presto! It looked pretty good if you stood back.

A old sign painter thought I had a knack for it an’ got me a night job at his shop. I stayed there longer than anywhere else. Two years an’ learned how to use a brush an’ real sign paint and make a real layout and do lettering. That’s been good to me, too. I can go anywhere an’ there are signs, windows, race cars… umm, trucks, boats, you name it what needs letterin’ An here I am. I done that a lot in my life.

So I have gotten to travel, I have always had a roof over my head if I wanted one, I have sent money back to mama and my family every week, most the time, an’ I met a lot of people.

Now and then I meet some office boy who looks down at me because I can dress the way I want, work when I want an’ I like my life – an all he got to show for his life is a ulcer an’ some money an’ he hates it all. That’s all I need to say about it, Tondy.

"I got nieces an’ nephews an some grown men what I helped when they was young an’ was goin’ astray. That’s a retirement, too. It ain’t all money."


Tondeleo: What about retirement? You don’t have one, do you, Doc?

Doc: “No I aint got no retirement money set away. But I can work, I can help folks, I got Marilyn, my brother’s daughter an’ she will help me like I help her, if I ever need it. When she gets married her an’ her husband will help me when I get that far. That’s a retirement. I got nieces an’ nephews an some grown men what I helped when they was young an’ was goin’ astray. That’s a retirement, too. It ain’t all money. An’ I will end up in the same nursin’ home as that office boy when he gets too old to shuffle papers an’ they put him out to pasture. OK. We’re done here talkin' about them days what ain't even here yet.

Education, School, Family & Success

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 1:57 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas
Tondeleo: Doc, I’ve known you and have been talking to you for what, four or five years now, and I have to say I’m impressed for what you know, since you didn’t finish school, you quit in what, tenth grade and…

Doc interrupting: No, Tondy, I didn’t QUIT. I had to stop goin’ to school so’s I could support mama and my two brothers an’ my sister. I ain’t no quitter. I had to make a choice over whether it was more important to learn math and English or be a decent human bein’ after daddy died.

Tondeleo: So you’re happy with that . . .

Doc: I’m happy to be breathin’, I’m happy to be a decent person. Plenty of people with diploma’s ain’t happy an’ they ain’t decent. I wouldn’t give a dollar for their sorry selves. They cain’t raise a kid, they cain’t stay in a marriage, they work some job they hate an’ all for what? For a society they don’t even like. An’ where’d they learn that? At SCHOOL.

They taught us history. What other people did right an’ wrong. So what? They’s dead an’ gone. They ain’t never taught us nothin’ about bein’ a decent person an standin’ on your own two feet which is why all those folks are on assistance an’ welfare an’ still hate the government. I ain’t fond of it, but I ain’t gonna take their handout an’ be dependent on ‘em. I’d rather starve first, an’ I ain’t too big on starvin’. So I learn what I gotta learn, an’ I work a couple of trades what I learned an’ I stand on my own two feet.

"They teach you how to learn stuff that you ain’t never gonna use an’ they don’t teach you how to live right."

School don’t never teach that, Tondy. Never, unless they got some new school out there now. They teach you how to learn stuff that you ain’t never gonna use an’ they don’t teach you how to live right. I ain’t talkin’ religion, but they ain’t taught me how to stay sober. Had to learn that on my own. Didn’t teach me how to handle money when I get my hands on it. I’m still learnin’ but school ain’t taught me.”

You don’t think I done too well. I know that. But my daddy only learnt what he could so he could get outta Scott County, an’ help mama an’ us kids have a better life. He died when I was 16. He worked all the time for a little bit of nothin’ and he taught us how to work, but he ain’t taught nothin’ else, and then he died. I was lost an’ didn’t know what to do when he died, but I knew I needed to help mama and we all pulled together as a family and done the best we could. Learnt trades, and a good work ethic, and how to be decent human beings. That is a lifetime to learn that one. Still learnin'.

Self defense, gun rights, etc.

Friday, June 6, 2008 10:45 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc, you have seen a lot in your time. You’ve lived a rough life, done some jail time, been in a fair share of fights. I bet it gives you some real insights as to self defense, gun ownership and all that.

Doc: Ain’t no insights. Just what nature an' the good Lord teaches you. God never sent no animal into the wild without a means of defending itself. A turtle ain’t fast, but he has a shell. A rabbit got strong back legs to outrun dogs, cats an' foxes an' what not. A cat can run fast an’ has claws an’ teeth. A dog is strong, has teeth and can run. All of ‘em can defend themselves against what’s trying to hurt them.

Then comes man who thinks that no one should be able to defend himself against predators. I learnt that word from Marilyn, my brother who died’s girl. Means someone who is out to get someone else who is weaker. Predators ain’t on the “goin’ extinct” list, last I looked. But they ought to be.

On TV, they say if someone wants to rob you, just give ‘em what they’s askin’ for. If they’s robbin’ me, they’s asking for my knee in their private parts and I’m gonna cut ‘em pretty bad, too. That’s for tryin’ to scare me outta my stuff what I worked hard for.

I wouldn’t kill a man for just tryin’ to take my stuff, but I would hurt him real bad. Some only learn that way. I hurt a few men in my day. One of ‘em in a shelter tried to rob me whilst I was SLEEPIN’! I faked stayin’ asleep an’ when he bent over my bed to go through my pockets, I grabbed him by his collar and pulled his head into my forehead an’ broke his nose for starters. Then I grabbed his privates real hard an’ gave a squeeze, to pull myself outta the bed. I took his head an’ smashed his face over an’ over into the door of my locker and then stuck a ice pick into his leg about four times. I said “Do not steal from a sleeping man AGAIN!” I got throwed outta that shelter and was questioned by the cops an’ released on my own cognizance. Dude had a knife on him an' had a long record for arm robbery an' stealin'. Cops tol' me to leave town an' not come back, an' I ain't really gone back there much since then.

There is the problem with crime. I didn’t steal from him, but he tried to steal from me, an’ I got throwed out. But I took him to school first. I taught him a ‘portant life lesson.

"If some piece of trash wants to rob a poor man, he is lower than dirt. And he will wind up believing in Jesus about a second after someone pulls the trigger."

“Now, I’m not livin’ on the streets no more. I got me a little place to stay and to put my things. I got a little patch of ground with turnips, ‘tater’s, ‘maters, beans an’ some white corn. I got a shotgun with a pistol grip an’ I am ready to use it to deal with whatever needs dealin' with. Where we are takes about a half hour for the cops to get there, and that is IF you got a phone. Cell phone ain't got no signal out here, so you is on your own, Tondy.

Mos' people out here is poor, and they know it is up to them to protect they owm property and loved ones. Mos' us got dogs. I got three. Hank Williams, Dale Junior and Stubby. A rockwhiler, and two American Bulldogs.

I tell you, out here, if some piece of trash wants to rob a poor man, he is lower than dirt and he will wind up believing in Jesus about a second after someone pulls the trigger. I taught Marilyn how to use a shotgun to take out the trash, too! Know what I mean? She ain’t scared one bit to shoot a man if she is alone and if he needs shootin’.

“See, the sheriff can’t protect you or your property. They ain't but so many sheriff’s and cops in a whole county. That’s YOUR job to protect your stuff. Then, when they get there, you tell ‘em what happened. You got a right to protect your house and ones that you love. When someone comes to rob you, they know they is taken a risk. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. That’s it. But I don’t go lookin’ for trouble. ONly a fool goes lookin' for trouble.

Nothing more on how to find a girlfriend. Mexicans, Immigration & Work

Thursday, June 5, 2008 12:00 PM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: Doc, I’m wondering if there’s anything else you can tell me about meeting women? How a out some smooth lines – can you tell me and my readers anything else?

Doc: “No. I don’t wanna talk about how you can find a girlfriend, Tondy. Not today. You’re in over your head now. Why you want a girl on each arm? A man can’t please ONE woman! So I aint talkin’ bout that for a while. Don’t even ask.

Ask me 'bout Mexicans. I can talk about Mexicans.”

Tondeleo: OK, Doc, what about Mexicans? Immigration, all that.

Doc: “Well, a Mexican is just like you an’ me. They want what we want. We just got here afore they did. Even black folks got here afore they did. Most of them din’t wanna come an' din't have no choice in the matter. Some of they’s grandchildren and great grandchildren is still mad about it and lots of them got an attitude. That’s the devil robbin’ ‘em of what COULD be a good life. Bein' mad ain't gonna bring nobody nothin' good. Black folks have a good ‘vantage over immigrants though.

First ‘cause they’s American.They is not HALF Americans, they is WHOLE Americans.They can speak English, they can work if they want; they got family here. Black folks ain't gotta run when the po-po comes! [Doc is being silly, referring to the Police - Tondeleo] They can go to school, get good jobs what pay a legal wage, an’ they have rights.

A Mexican don’t have to get minimum wage and can’t even work legal mos’ the time.

A bad attitude'll give you a bad life, no matter WHO you are.

But a lot of Americans, red or yellow black and white lets their attitude stop them and they live like they ain’t no money to be made unless it’s to be made in dope or robbin’ folks. A bad attitude'll give you a bad life, no matter WHO you are. It’s just a attitude; but that attitude will kill a man after keepin’ him broke an’ miserable all his life.

But Mexicans, they’s here cause they WANT to be, so they’s attitudes different. A lot of them don’t speak the language, they aint got no people here, they left their people to come here, an’ they work hard as they can to make a good life, not for themselves but for their kids and grandkids. That’s called having a gold. They have a gold to work for. Not all them, but a lot of ‘em.

I respect anyone who will get out there and work. Specially if they work cheap, knowing they will make a life. I don’t respect a man who won’t work. That ain't no man. They should send a 'merican man who won’t work, send HIM to Mexico and keep a Mexican here who will work. That is a real man – a man who will get out an’ do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.

“Havin’ poor people workin’ for a little bit of nothin’ ain’t anything new. A hundred years ago it was the Chinese who was poor an’ buildin’ the railroads and doin’ peoples’ laundry to get the chance to make a life in America. Then there was the Irish an’ the people from like Hungary and Poland. They was hard workers who was willing to prove themselves an’ work for a little bit of nothing’ so their kids could have a chance.

They’s always gotta be poor people who work hard for a little bit of nothin’. It aint that bad. My people have been poor from way back, but each generation is less poor than they’s parents. My granddaddy worked the coal mines startin’ twelve years old. But he got out. That was down Scott County, VA. My daddy worked tobacco and share cropped in North Carolina.

I always been poor an' I always work. I done all kinds of work since I was a kid. Quit school in 10th grade, but din’t quit learnin’. I cain’t write too well, but I can think clear, I can play music, I can paint a sign if you write it out what you want to say, I’ll make it real pretty, an’ I got heart.

If a man is poor but will work, his life will be full. I have lived all over the south and over to Memphis. I have worked tobacco, worked in junkyards, fixed cars, been a bouncer, been a handyman and a sign painter. I still got my old sign paintin’ truck. It’s a '50 Chevy panel truck. You name it, I done it. I have slept in that truck, lived in that truck an’ done a lot o’ things in it. It is my old friend.

"No, I ain’t never killed a man with that guitar but I have hurt a few.”

I have sat on the sidewalk playin’ guitar and singin’ to feed myself and my-brother-who-died’s girl, Marilyn. That’s what America is about. They say being American is about heart, not where your body been born. A man who will work hard and not steal is an American, no matter where he is born. A man who will not work and steals or sells drugs is not an American. He is scum and needs a good whoopin’. An' I have whooped one or two.

“Listen, one time, I was playin’ guitar out on the streets with Marilyn. Playin’ my telecaster through a battery powered amp. Some young punk came to take it away from me so he could sell it for drugs. I am trying to use that thing so we can EAT.

I know one thing. He picked the wrong American man to mess with. I'd had a bad week, I was hungry an' he was threatenin’ my existance. I grabbed that guitar by the neck and BLAM! I hit him upside the head with it and then I knocked him down an’ pulled his arm outta the socket. I said, ‘Don’t pick on poor people again! You ain’t no American!’ An’ he got up an’ ran off sideways, holdin’ his arm!

All you do is grab a man’s arm when he is knocked down and pull up on it, an’ stomp your foot into his armpit. POP! It’ll come right out! Then he won’t steal for a few days. No, I ain’t never killed a man with that guitar but I have hurt a few. And I am not proud to have been put upon to do it.

Nowadays I do pray an' ask the Lord to help people give an' to keep us outta them kinds of situations. There IS a devil you know, Tondy and he lives in people.

Catching a Girlfriend in a Cold Cruel World - Part 4 Learning to Stand Out

11:36 AM Posted by Tondeleo Lee Thomas

Tondeleo: In college, I learned that to succeed in business, you need a USP, a unique selling position. Would you say that pertains to having success with women?

Doc: “A what? UPS? That's for packages! But women like packages. 'Specially if they's jewelry in 'em. I ain't been to no college, but they is right about you got to package what you got.”

Tondeleo: Uh … OK, it does mean something that makes you different from other people, something that makes you unique, special. Is that true for meeting women to date?

Doc: “Well YEH – no wonder you ain’t no good with women! You gotta stand out, but not like a freak or a sissy. Like, you got to have money or a nice pickup with good speakers, or a nice house or somethin’ that sets you apart from the other guys who can’t catch a woman. Everybody knows that. How’s come you don’t know that?

“For me, I learnt to play guitar an’ sing when I was just twelve. I never been tall or good lookin’, but I can sing a song and play a guitar. My first guitar, I still got it. It says Colgate on the neck so I called it my toothpaste guitar.”

[Note: It says actually “Collegiate.” Collegiates were cheap guitars back in the 50’s. They cost about $15 brand new – Tondeleo]

“My Colgate guitar has been all over the place with me. It has been busted a lot of times. I have a bolt up there on the neck where the strings go up to where you tune ‘em, an’ a piece of molding down on the body where the strings go over the hole. It’s split and cracked an’ I learnt with it only havin’ 3 strings. I still play it like that. A guitar is s’posed to have 6 strings. But my Colgate only has 3.

“Playin’ guitar an’ singing makes a man stand out. Playin’ a guitar with only 3 strings makes a man stand out even more, cause most people can’t play a 3 string guitar. But I can. I can sing country, blues, rock n roll an’ even Jimmy Hendrickson. All on a 3 string guitar. You cain’t do that.”

Tondeleo: Three strings – no, I can’t do that. You also play a normal guitar too, right, Doc?

Doc: “Well YEH. What if I went somewhere an’ all there was were 6 string guitars? I need to be able to play ‘em all. I can play a bass guitar too. They have 4 strings.

If I got to play a ‘lectric guitar, I can do that too. I got a handful of ‘lectric guitars, one is called a Telecaster that I play. It’s from about 1971, somewhere back there. Someone said they’s worth about a thousand dollars nowadays. But mine ain’t for sale.

Tondeleo: WOW! I should think it's worth a lot more than a thousand dollars... I've seen those old Fender guitars on Ebay, Doc and they go for big money...

Doc: Why would I care what it’s worth if I ain’t tryin’ to sell it? I don’t care if it’s worth a million dollars, I ain’t sellin’ it an’ I would hurt a man if he tried to steal it ‘cause sometimes I make a livin’ off that guitar, an’ it provides food an’ shelter for me an’ for Marilyn. She’s my brother’s girl, my brother what died.

You can either blend in so you don’t get eaten or you can stand out to scare off the predators. Standing out is better.

I also got me a SEVEN string guitar what I play. It’s electric, like the Telecaster, but it’s a Ibanez. I got it from a devil worshiper with long black hair who played a club when I was in Memphis. ‘Bout 1998. So I been havin’ it for a while. This boy, I think he was a devil worshiper, cause he had long hair and played that yee-yee-yee music where all they do is scream.

He got himself in some trouble at a bar he was playin’ at an’ they was beatin’ him up on the sidewalk. He flicked somebody off or somethin’. Nobody ought to be beat like that, so I went over an’ pulled them boys off him. I sent two of ‘em to the hospital. Weren’t no big thing, I caught ‘em off guard an’ hurt ‘em pretty bad. But they had it comin. I took that guy to the room I was stayin’ at an’ let him get better for a couple of days. He left and gave me his 7 string guitar as a thank you. I aint never played a seven string afore. But he wanted me to have it.

I didn’t play it for a year, but then one day I was drivin’ down the road an’ a voice told me to put two bass guitar strings on it. So I stopped at Wal-Mart an’ bought bass strings an’ put ‘em on it. I still play it like that. Use my thumb on the bass an’ my other fingers on the other strings. That makes a man stand out, too. He had it all painted blue with purple stripes and that makes a man stand out.

“When I get work in another place I ain’t from, I might sit outside an’ play guitar an’ sing until someone comes by an’ starts talkin’. Sometimes, my brother’s girl, he’s dead, Marilyn comes with me. She’s a waitress an’ sings an’ plays harp [harmonica]. We sing and play whatever spirit takes us at the moment. Country, blues, gospel, rock, I don’t care.

When people see her with me, they know I am not dangerous an’ then they will talk with me. An’ I protect Marilyn from boys what gets the wrong idea about her. She’s a nice girl, a church going girl an’ I aim to keep her that way. She ain’t no fish for a man to catch with a plastic lure. Nope.”

Tondeleo: Thanks Doc. I’ll need to work on my USP with the ladies. I’ll do something to stand out…

Doc: Well, boy, remember it’s like the law of the jungle. You can either blend in so you don’t get eaten or you can stand out to scare off the predators. Standing out is better.