Kelly's World | Keep mopping Loco, that's life
One of my favourite movies of all time is South Central, a gritty take on the oft-visited world of the American inner cities and specifically on how the average African-American male deals with life in those areas.
There is a scene in it where Bobby Johnson (played seamlessly by Glenn Plummer) is leaving prison after successfully getting paroled.
He had spent nearly 10 years in prison for killing a rival to his gang, the Hoover Street Deuces.
Bobby had a friend and fellow Deuce named Loco who ended up in the same prison that he did. Loco was a little on the 'slow' side, hence the reason for his unfortunate nickname.
In prison, Bobby is reformed by Ali (also played effortlessly by Carl Lumbly, an American actor of Jamaican parentage).
The movie shows Bobby's transformation and the parole board is impressed enough to let him out.
As Bobby walks down the corridor of his cell block for the last time, he looks at Loco, and Loco back at him.
Bobby then takes his cap and puts it in his Loco's pocket, before continuing his journey to freedom.
For me, the camera shot of Loco staring at Bobby walking out of that prison is one that will always stick with me.
I took a few things from that scene which have stayed with me ever since.
First, I have to believe that Loco was terrified that his friend, and one of the few people who could really protect him in prison, was leaving him there.
But I also believe there was a part of Loco that was happy that his friend had made it out, and by all indications would not end up back in prison.
I wonder, too, if Loco maybe felt somewhat responsible for even helping to get Bobby in prison in the first place.
Truth is, the man Bobby killed was causing issues for the Deuces and their hood.
Bobby was somewhat reluctant but he had to 'put in work', as they called it.
I realise that at some point or another, we're either Bobby leaving the prison or Loco mopping the floor.
We may, at times, have to walk away from some people who, though we have genuine affection for them, really ain't any good for us.
It also struck me that sometimes we hold other people back from attaining their own greatness.
Sure, it's human to hang on desperately to someone who we think is essential to our survival.
However, sometimes in trying to save yourself from drowning, you may end up dragging both of you down.
It's hard, but sometimes the best thing to do is let go, and try to swim on your own, while hoping your friend also makes it to shore.
I've watched South Central more than a few times and I still wonder whatever happened to Loco.
I still don't know. Maybe he, too, made it to shore. Or maybe the ocean swallowed him up.
Either way, we all have to learn to let go, or be OK with being let go. It's just a part of life.
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