Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"Lemme Get a Sheet of Paper"
by Salvador Gabor

Remember that saying......."Lemme get a sheet of paper?". We used to say that in school. You'd go to a class that was kinda boring and not care at all. The class wasnt important.......well at least to you it wasnt. The teacher was boring. But, in order to look like you were doing SOMETHING, you'd ask your buddy for a sheet of paper. Who knows what you would do with that sheet. You MIGHT takes notes. You might SEND notes to the pretty girl in class. You might draw your friend's big head on that sheet of paper. Who knows?? But asking for that sheet meant nothing. It was just going to determine how you would spend your next 50 minutes in that boring class.

Well some might say, "What is the significance of paper?". Paper is used throughout our society. Money, licenses, contracts, and degrees are ALL important documents on paper. But what is the value of a sheet of paper? Has it gotten to the point where asking for a sheet of paper means doodling on it? Is ONE sheet of paper still valuable in this society? Lets take some of the examples of paper that we used earlier.

Let's talk about money. Money is a type of paper. But, how valuable is it? My mother once told me "Being nice can get you places that money cant". It may seem hard to believe but its true. Money isnt ALWAYS the answer. Me being a black man in America........I am educated, skilled and I'm a great learner. Its very possible that I could become rich and successful. What if I join a country club.......or should I say TRY to join a country club? Does my money make it a sure bet that I'll get in? I would be a First-Generation "rich man" in my family. My grandfathers weren't rich. My father isn't rich. Some societies and clubs require that your family be drenched in wealth before you can be deemed as fit to enter. Do you think Lebron James or "50 Cent" can just UP and join certain societies? Naw, I dont think so. They both come from the hood and I couldnt see LeBron's mother sipping Tea with no uppidity ladies. I dont see the Augusta Country Club playing "Go Shawdy" anytime soon. Nor do I see the golfers wearing LeBron James Jerseys while playing 18 holes. Not to say that eventually these two stars wont ease their way in. Their older counterparts, Michael Jordan and "Jay-Z" have begun to brush shoulders with the big shots. But it isnt JUST the money. They've gained the respect after years of carrying themselves like class acts. You cant just win the lottery coming out of Milwaukee or Detroit in the slums and think that you can go anywhere you want. Un uh, no sir. That "paper" dont mean as much as you think.

What about licenses? You might have a driver's license, a gun license or a marriage license. You might have all three. But if you just shot somebody coming from your mistress' house and you get pulled over for speeding, none of those licenses mean anything. You shot somebody. So what that you have a license?? You have a license to carry a gun, not to shoot someone. You were speeding. So what that you have a Driver's license?? You have a license to drive, not to be wreckless. You just came from your mistress' house. So what that you are married?? You didnt think about that license 45 minutes ago.

Let's go onto contracts. A contract is a document with agreements included. Two or more parties come together and agree on the stipulations of the contracts. Their agreement is documented by signatures. You'd think that this is etched in stone right?......uhhh Not quite. Do you know that on some jobs, companies agree to offer you X,Y and Z and at the end of the contract there is a clause. The clause says "We reserve the right not to fulfill X,Y and Z". What kinda sense does that make? I sign a contract that says I get X,Y, and Z but, then again the job doesnt have to give me X,Y, and Z??? Houses have contracts too. You sign a mortgage. You pay on that mortgage. You eventually own that house. But if the local government decides to build a stadium on your property, unless you want your living room to be the visitors' locker room......you're gonna have to move. The same idea applies if the city wants to build a subway stop on your property. I'd hate to hear "Ladies & Gentlemen please refrain from leaning on all doors......Next Stop...Silas' Room........"

What about degrees? Alot of us paid $60,000 for a sheet of paper. Alot of us are STILL paying for that sheet of paper. Some of us went to two or three schools to get that sheet of paper. The ink that it took to write your name on that sheet with the school name and the President's signature is worth about $2. I tell ya, thats some expensive paper. It must be made outta Eqyptian cotton on something. I just wonder sometimes what is this particular paper all about????

My point to all of this is that, the power is in the person, not the paper. That sheet means nothing if I dont have control over the situation. If I have some money and no clout behind it, im just some guy looking to spend money. Ever heard the phrase "your money's no good here"? Ask that question to some black folks that lived during segregation. Ask a gay person if their marriage license means anything in certain states. Ask a college graduate working at Denny's if their degree means anything.
So I wonder how many of you still put value in a sheet of paper? The powers that be look at your sheet of paper like that kid in the class that bores him. Sometimes I think we waste our time and money buying toilet paper. All the other papers we have seem fit enough to wipe ourselves with. "Boooooooossssshhhhhhhh"........Oh yeah, dont leave the toilet seat up and for God's sake put the exhaust on!!!!!!!

"Lemme Get a Sheet too"
by Reggie Dinkins, Jr

Lemme get a sheet too,
Would you pass the sheet to me,
a piece of top paper so I can twist this doobie.
People feel the need to jot stuff down,
history notes on Board of Education and some dude named Brown.
All the while they write stuff down,
they miss real reason of how it all went down.
Lemme get a piece of paper and I will take you to town,
pick up some eggs some milk, and play my numbers by six.
Matter of fact drop that paper and gimme a stick,
It looks as though I got some gum on my shoe grip.

Lemme get a sheet too,
Wont you gimme just one,
naw I aint concerned about the spiral rippings Ms. Johnson.
Now let me get that piece and I will show you its worth,
I'll rip it and tear it and send it back to the earth,
Why did I do it, well its simple and plain.
If you can do it dont document it, just execute the insane.
Business plans to crazy man bump that just pay me,
A swoosh is just a dinner spoon without the gravy.

Lemme get a sheet too,
Or maybe even two,
I need a receipt for that number you gave me.
Numbers on napkins are worth more than wide-ruled baby.
Wide-ruled means study group, that you wanna borrow my book,
But that there napkin, that is a different sorta look
"call me round ten" tone of voice saying she'll give you the nook.
Napkins can be the basis for a binding contract,
a kinky waitress attracted by your binding contact.
Maybe even a figure that will get you to sign that car contract,
0 down, no monthly payments might find your pockets Koons attracts.

Lemme get a sheet too,
whether its top, or spiral
it's what's on the inside that is what is vital,
tricky words, sticky herbs, or a pill named Midol
The man behind the paper tells the world's survival,
Mr. Xerox or that nigga whose words you quoting
or even that nigga down 58th whose reefer you toking.
Spend less time with sheets, and more with your memory
unless you on the comode the same color as emory.