"LADIES, my Mercedes Hold fo' in the back, two if it's fat Keep a gat, for cats that try to test me, don't know what you heard about me."
That Notorious B.I.G. He’s a sage.
Isn’t there something so cool about being a “playa”? We want to be deep and dark, but most Irish guys can only dream of the ghetto pimpin’ life that is in stark contrast with our cheery pub cherub realities.
I know. A pudgy 44-year-old Irish guy doesn’t have the swagger or the big hand to “slap any ‘ho’ in line,” but Michael Keaton was one of the most memorable agents of the flesh in 1982’s Night Shift, so there you go. It gives us Celtic aspiring pimps some hope.
I don’t know if I will ever have what it takes, but I do know that one of the downstream effects of having to drive your broke rear end in second hand American cars over the years is that you do spend a bit more on nicer rides once you have a few nickels to rub together. Uh-huh. Pimp cars.
This morning I am contemplating my next mack daddy ride because the lease of my Cadillac CTS is up. In the same way you call an Irishman to find the best bar to abuse your liver in Manhattan, I called one of my close African American friends from Bedford Stuyvesant to get his advice on my next ghetto-fab pimp-mobile. Steve is actually a hero of mine, a renaissance man who rose from dire circumstances to create a thriving digital advertising firm. We both have island relatives; mine are from Ireland and his are from Barbados. It was in some dimly lit Irish bar that he acknowledged our connection and christened himself Dark Pint.
“So, I have been looking at some pimp-able cars,” I said. “We got us a list of rides I can afford and I’ve done some online research. Can I run some by you?”
“Go ahead,” came Dark Pint’s reply.
The BMW 328xi. “That is a pimp car,” he said. “But it’s like a soccer mom pimp, the kind of housewife that runs her stable out of the gals in her carpool. It’s for the pimp who’s packing a feminine napkin instead of a gat, if you catch my drift.”
I nodded my head and smiled knowingly. Clearly, I came to the right place for advice. The Volvo XC60? “That’s a bit better, but not by much,” he declared with not a small measure of authority. “The pimp with this ride is socially conscious. He’s gonna smack his girl around a bit, just like everyone else, but when he’s done, he’ll extend his hand, lift her up, and dust her off. Hell, he might even crawl on the floor and help her look for the missing tooth in the carpet.”
The Mercedes GLK350? “Now we’re talkin’,” Dark Pint replied enthusiastically. “This says, ‘I know I’m a pimp, you know I’m a pimp, but some cracker that writes for an Irish newspaper doesn’t quite know the extent of my pimpness.’ Any Mercedes model is gonna say that.
“I think it’s a lot more pimpin’ than that poseur Cadillac CTS you’re drivin’ now. I mean, that’s like the green garbage they sell at Irish festivals. It’s just this cartoon crap that passes off as Irish. Am I understood?”
I understand. I also understand the love of a Cadillac that is in my genes. It’s an immigrant’s way to show the world he made it in this new land. I remember my father’s first Caddy. As memory serves, it was a white 1965 Coupe Deville, with aerodynamic fins at the tail end of a trunk that was the size of a one bedroom apartment. The front of the car got to your destination a full 10 seconds before you did, or at least that’s the way it seemed to the eight-year-old in the back seat. Of course, we didn’t get the car until 1974, nine years after it rolled off the assembly line.
It was on its last legs by the time my dad held the title, but I remember his pride of ownership. He lined the family in front of it one morning, snapped a picture, and sent it home to his mother in Ballyglunin. Mind you, he did this not to be boastful, because “Herself” back on the Irish farm would not tolerate it. Rather, he mailed the photo as assurance that her son was surviving and thriving in America, and she could stop worrying and wringing her bony hands by the turf fire. It was proof positive that thanks to hard work and overtime pay, her son was keeping his Athenry playa hand strong in Jersey City.
I’m told by people in the Irish Voice offices that Irish construction workers home from England on the weekend back in the eighties would make sure they rented the most expensive car at Shannon Airport before driving to their little village. A week’s wage would be blown on the show, but everyone at the pub would think he was a playa. I’m guessing that my family tree is not the only one with a flashy car parked under it.
After all’s said and done, I will probably either get the Mercedes GLK or buy the Caddy lease out.
I guess Method Man got it right: “This pimpin’ that I got in my blood, it came from a family tree. My granddaddy was a pimp, my great great GREAT granddaddy was a pimp!”
Now all I need are dice hanging off the rearview mirror and fur on the steering wheel and my ride will be complete!