Where I’m From: The Best of Times; the Worst of Times

Contel Bradford
4 min readJul 19, 2022

I’ll always cherish the era I grew up in. I mean, we experienced things that today’s and perhaps future generations may never get to experience simply because life is so different. Running wild up and down the block playing tag and hide-n-seek, in addition to lesser known games like Redlight, Greenlight, STOP! and Hit the Top (that was my shit!).

Video games were in their infancy, and with the internet being a far-fetched concept the average person had yet to even hear of, we made the most of life by getting together, getting out, and seeing what shenanigans we could get into.

That said, the era I grew up in was, as the kids say, toxic AF. Just our mindset and belief systems. Take oral sex, for example. In this timeline, going down on a girl was something that would have you branded a sucka. I don’t even know where this shit came from; at least in my case. I mean, my Uncle used to tell us how doing it would help you grow a flavor savor, AKA mustache. We just laughed it off, like “naw, that’s all you, Unk.”

It was just one of those silly ass unwritten rules. Real niggas don’t eat pussy! And we were very passionate about it. To the point where in 12th grade, me and my homeboy had a spirited argument in the middle of class with his future baby mama about how we would never succumb to this sucka activity. (Rest in Peace, Tasha) Needless to say, both our milf teacher, Ms. Barb, and our fellow classmates found this exchange very amusing.

So when I did submit to that urge, with my ex, in the back of my Dad’s Mustang, I was devastated! For real, for real. I felt like I had let down all of mankind. It wasn’t until a few years later that I finally realized eating pussy was not only NOT a big deal, it was fuckin’ incredible. A virtual trump card you could wield to take your sex game to new heights.

Another example of our generational toxicity had a race component. For as long as I’ve been lusting females, I had been led to believe that white girls had flat butts. Why? Well, because they’re white. What more rationale did I need? Didn’t make a lick of sense, but in my limited experience, I felt I knew enough to tout this foolish stereotype as fact. Even after smashing my first PAWG, I wrote it off as “ehh, she probably half Mexican or somethin’.”

It wasn’t until I started working with white people and going to rave parties that I learned my whole life had been a lie. And the proof is in the pudding, because thanks to the internet and on-demand movie classics, you can go back in time to see that white women with booty haven’t just evolved … they’ve always been here! Idiots like me were just blinded by stereotypes, and missing out in the process. SMH.

Last but not least, the unhealthy normalized way of living in my surroundings. Like all the violence. While I was cool by nature and would go on to transcend popularity, to the point where I was beating the shit out of all the so-called cool kids, there were times when even I had to prove myself. Doing shit I didn’t want to be doing to either fit in, or just survive … because if you didn’t, you just might not make it out of this senseless neighborhood squabble that had suddenly become do or die. I was experiencing these things as young as 13 years old and my sweet parents didn’t have a clue.

Sometimes, I think it would’ve been nice to have had some of this modern technology to escape to. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had to lead the Helter Skelter lifestyle (as my Ma so elegantly put it) that stole a slice of my freedom and threatened my life on several occasions. But knowing me, I would’ve just found a way to get in trouble just the same. Incriminating myself all over video and social media. Like Anakin Skywalker, maybe I was just destined to walk the path of the Dark Side before learning the error of my ways, smartening up (sorta), and finding redemption.

Toxic shenanigans aside, I’m happy that I came up when I did, because I feel like I’ve experienced and survived the best of all worlds. Jheri curls. VHS and audio cassettes. Skating rinks. Arcades. Nintendo. PlayStation. The height of gang bangin’. AOL. Internet porn. MySpace. Bootleg CD’s and DVDs. Crappy street weed. Legal weed. All that and more.

So as I turn 44 years old, still feeling and looking like myself, with the exception of my cool ass hair, which betrayed me in my mid 30’s, I am very grateful for the life I’ve been afforded and look forward to the opportunity to see what my future has in store. Thanks for reading!

Contel Bradford is a mystical and complex individual. You can attempt to unravel some of the mystery by visiting his author site at countkrewpublications.com.

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Contel Bradford

A seasoned freelance journalist and author, Contel Bradford is into reading, botanicals, horror, video games, and pro wrestling. Moreover, he LOVES adulting.