Working as a door-to-door salesman in Chicago has taught me a simple, but very important, fact about human nature:

Nice neighbor hoods make you feel nice.

Bad neighbor hoods make you feel bad.

An attractive environment is like a massage for the brain.

An ugly environment is like getting your brain punched with brass knuckles every four minutes.

Positive people make your soul swell with energy.

Negative people steal your precious life force.

A typical day in a Midwestern ghetto:

1:00 PM –

Vacant houses everywhere. Occupied homes look vacant. Peeling paint. Rotting porches. Broken windows.

1:30 PM –

A dirty man lights a blunt on the dirty sidewalk.

1:45 PM –

A huge woman is punching a dog in the face.

2:00 PM –

A pit bull locks eyes with me through the bay windows of the living room as I approach the house from the drive way. It rams it’s face into the glass. Territorial aggression. This little monster face-rams the glass again and again and again. Blood pours. The owner screams.

I decide to leave.

3:00 PM –

A high school graduation party is underway. Music and barbecue and dancing. A rusted Caprice drives up. A handgun appears from the passenger’s window, aimed at the grey sky. Four shots. Dancing turns to fleeing. Everyone is screaming and the car pulls away.

I decide to leave.

4:00 PM –

A gigantic man answers the door. His eyes light up when he sees it is me.

He’s wearing a woman’s shower cap. Make up. A woman’s bathrobe. Nail polish and woman’s slippers.

“Oh, hey baby. Why don’t you come on inside,”

I decide to leave.

5:00 PM –

I’m inside the living room of the only nuclear family on the block.

The “mother” approaches me with two 100 dollar bills in her hand.

“She a virgin and don’t nobody want her. Fuck dis bitch and da money’s yours.” she says, pointing to her teenage, albino daughter who is sitting on the couch.

“You know the best part? She a V (V being virgin). No one will fuck her cause’ a how she is (albino).”

She’s serious.

I look to the father in disbelief and see that he is chuckling like the whole thing is a good-natured joke.

I decide to leave.

I would rather live in an upper class community, ripe with breathtaking architecture and circular driveways lined with luxury cars, where everyone hates me, than be the king of a low income community where every citizen worshiped me as their lord and savior.

Askari Rey