Damon, The Urban King

Damon, The Urban King

The black boy with dreads.


The black boy with dreads. More like twists. People care more about is skin color than his soul. He is a good person in a bad environment. He is trying his best, it’s not working.


He tries to provide for his two brothers and three sisters. His mom works three jobs, at the McDonalds down the street, babysitting, and a side business he does not like to talk about. Sometimes his friends ask him to go to parties, he doesn’t want to yet he goes anyway. He cares more for what people think of him than his well-being. He’s prideful.


He is an all-state athlete. Many people view him as someone that could get out of this town and achieve greatness. The moves he makes, how he makes defenders look, audiences rave and cannot help but cheer. Nevertheless, he does not do it for the cheers. He doesn’t do it for the accolades. He plays for the love of the game. It is the only thing that has made sense in his life. When he had nothing, the game was there. The game is always there.


Sports aren’t the only thing that Damon is excelling at presently. He secretly writes rhymes. He is a rapper with a higher mind than most. He is highly complex and well-thought out. No one knows and he wishes to keep it that way.


A boy who became a man before he needed to. A man who is struggling with influences.


Many times, he has been looked at strange. Whether it be at a new church his family tries to attend. Any grocery store or public space. Even people in the crowd at games reference his race rather than his skill. It is a problem and it upsets him.


After he puts his siblings to bed and when the parties are going on, the darkness in his life comes out. The so-called friends are a part of a gang called the Royalty. Kings and Queens of the night. Rulers who steal and Monarchs who are very violent. They are not role models especially for his brothers and sisters. He usually doesn’t like contributing and certainly doesn’t instigate. When push comes to shove he is only there because it’s how he was raised. He never knew anything else.


It is mostly his father’s fault. He left before he turned 6. The boy was never taught how to be a man so he taught himself. Misguided. It is ironic isn’t that he is going down the same path as the man that left him all those years ago and never taught him a thing. His mom was broken hearted for a while. She coped with a certain profession that entails shame and casted their family out of most things. She wrecked relationships and totally demolished her self-esteem.He didn’t trust his mother and didn’t respect his father. A boy who turned into a man. A misguided man.


He is getting by though. Even though his hometown is very VERY small, college recruiters are starting to come around. He is the obvious top athlete around and his grades are looking better than ever. He might make it out. Or perhaps he won’t. If he allows things to get in his way. His gang. His mother. His father. His friends. His pride. It’s funny is it, that if he achieves great things people will glorify him but if he stays he will be a “King”. But the king that he will be won’t be of honor and greatness yet one of treachery and lawlessness.


The black boy with dreads. More like twists. People care more about is skin color than his soul. He will make it out, not only for his family but for himself.

Cover Image Credit: Carson Mann

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Because they are the best dogs.


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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?


With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.

We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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