For some time my neighborhood has existed as a sort of shrine to Edgar. Edgar was a kid from around the corner who was shot and killed. For the past five years, around Christmas or his birthday, we get some new graffiti reminding us of the loss of Edgar. Most of them read, "RIP Edgar." These are, no doubt, contemporaries of Edgar who had the good fortune not to be shot and killed doing the memorializing. I wonder sometimes if Edgar wouldn't rest more peacefully if his spirit wasn't being spray painted on fences, sidewalks and bus benches. I wonder if his contemporaries might rest more peacefully here on earth if they were to let him go.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a usurper in our midst. Porky is currently the name on everyone's blank wall. Now we want Porky to rest in peace. I don't know what part of the neighborhood Porky is from. I can't be sure that Porky is even from the neighborhood, but his name is certainly in evidence there. I don't know all the teenagers on the block, but I am pretty sure that none of their Christian names are "Porky." Or were.
Porky's fans are a little more industrious than Edgar's. They have marked a much wider swath through our streets. They don't seems as fixed on one particular corner. They also don't seem as limited in media and color. Where Edgar's clan seems to be limited primarily to black Sharpie marker or spray paint, Porky's gang favors a much wider pallet of colors, paint, and even chalk. In some places, Porky has overwritten Edgar.
Did I say "gang" just a paragraph ago? Maybe that's the problem. I don't understand this whole gang thing. Why would we want to celebrate someone when they die? Why not appreciate all that they are and can be while they are alive? Live in peace? Sounds like a nice dream.