Have you heard of Glens Falls, New York?
Maybe not. Unless you live here. Or you're into urological diagnostic and interventional products. Or paper.
It's where I work.
A small town.
But I've learned it's not too small for gang activity.
I can't tell you enough how much I feel at home when I see boxers and butt cracks hanging out over saggy jeans with red, blue or purple bandanas looped through belt loops.
I understand the Blood, Crip, and peace colors, but I'm not quite sure which group Cookie Monster apparel represents...
It all takes me back to my days at Bret Harte Elementary School in Long Beach, California. (Named after the author, not the wrestler. But isn't it funny Mr. Harte was born just 30 miles south of where I live today?)
We weren't allowed to wear British Knights because the BK logo was also used by the local Blood Killers. Thanks guys. Instead of cool pink shoes with multi colored laces I had to get Reebok high tops known for their excellent arch support among grandmothers.
And L.A. Raiders gear was also out for the same reason. This did not affect me. Neither me nor my Barbies owned, or wanted to own, any such clothing.
Perhaps this, and the drive by the previous year, prompted gang education classes that began when I was in Mrs. Montgomery's fourth grade class (also the teacher who caused me to miss my straight A prize: a blue bike that changed colors in the sun. Still bitter.) This class, along with pamphlets now handed out to area educators upon the upsurge in gang presence, is how I can recognize the Cookie Monster Crips walking by my office daily.
Apparently, untapped drug markets like Glens Falls are extremely attractive to hoodlums.
Luckily, most of these guys are still relatively harmless. They spray paint "LILT" on buildings and make drug runs for the really scary guys in New York City. But thanks to ex-Latin Queen Ms. Garcia and my two weeks of gang education, should the situation escalate I feel fully capable of protecting the entire community from the threat of gang violence with my bare hands. And bulletproof vest.