Dangerous MindsBy: Jack Walker“No, son… if you lead with the “Blank-Five” you’re gonna’ get smashed,” said a father to his son. “Wash em’ up and do it again”….. In a corporate-housing unit in South, Fort Worth; the light is never on but the contentment is contagious… “We filed the work-order about two and a half months ago,” said Nexalie Sanchez or better known throughout the neighborhood as the ‘Boss Lady’. “There’s a broken window in the living room that hasn’t been fixed in over months and our master-bathroom Ceiling has completely caved in.” Code Compliance for the city has verbally verified that these, still, unresolved issues have caused their electric-bill to sky-rocket. In essence, it’s never light in there. Or is it . . .? “Twenty!” … a domino is slammed on the candle-lit table… “Write it down, Dad… the flashlight’s right there!” They don’t complain. “Nexie” walks about a half-mile to work every day… Roberto Sr. will wake up at 5 AM and saddle a donated bicycle and happily “pedal the crap out of that thing” just over seven miles to work every day. It’s mid-Summer in Texas, where the temperature is most of the time sinister, and every so often “Okay” … Don’t ask the Sanchez family for a translation though, because no matter what happens, they still do the same thing… every day and manage to remain thankful…. “Domino! Tito [Roberto Sanchez Jr], you see! You set yourself up!” said a father to his son. “Wash em’ up and do it again”…. With no electricity at times, some harvested water and occasional food brought home from Roberto Sr. and Nexie’s service-industry jobs… Everything is still “Okay”… Especially when It rains. Despite a cross-town high-school being within a half-mile, “Tito” hikes up-hill for roughly 20 minutes every morning because he transferred from Harrisburg PA and a closer school wouldn’t accept him based on his transcripts and in their perception or stereotype: troubled academic past. Independent School District advisors said Tito was a “special” kid and recommended him to be placed in a “special” class. In this case, “special” doesn’t come off in proper context if you apply it to Tito and his family. It comes off in more of a “Dangerous Minds” sort of way… Like the 1995 cinema sensation where Michelle Pfeiffer won a Blockbuster Award for her portrayal of a retired U.S. Marine that whole-heartedly attempted in helping the “special kids”, that were stereo-typed based on their descent, socio-economic- status and prior set-backs. Moreover, the plot surrounded a misplaced “solider of faith”, who convinced the “special kids” how special they really were, are now, and always will be. That is, at least when compared to the regular folks. At this point the domino game on the candle-lit table, bolstered by the treacherous heat of the Texas Sun is really beginning to heat up. “Why did you open up the ‘Spinner’ when you could’ve played off the ‘Blanks’…”, said a father to his son… “You just locked yourself out of the game”…“Wash em’ up and do it again”….. While, Nexie, Roberto Sr. and Tito walk or ride uphill to their necessary destinations in the thick and humid heat, make no mistake about it; they cruise back, down-hill… in the rain. Because… Everything is still okay. In the morning, when it’s time to get to work or school each member of the Sanchez family will part ways and head out to their necessary destination. Nexie will walk her half-mile to work, Roberto Sr. will jump on his bike and happily “pedal the crap out of that thing” his just over seven miles to work and Tito will hike for twenty minutes to get to his “bell-ringer” on-time at a school that accepted him and he’s currently making all A’s and B’s: outpacing the majority of the regular kids, in a regular, not “special” class. But, then again… Don’t ask the Sanchez family what regular or special means… They wouldn’t translate it for you anyways…. Why…? Because everything is still okay… And in the morning, when it’s time to get to work or school…. Regardless of how inconsistent the temperature might be and whether the place has no light –with or without the rain- one philosophy remains the same: “Wash em’ up and do it again”………. Domino.