Northeast Times

Corner Kids: people that time forgot

This week's River­wards Rant in­tends to serve as something of a dat­ing guide for singles throughout the neigh­bor­hood.

This week isn’t just a rant, it’s also a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment for the river­wards: Be care­ful if you’re single be­cause there are people you need to avoid at all costs.

We will call them “Corner Kids.”

Guys, this neigh­bor­hood tends to have a lot of what some call “Corner Girls.” If you meet one, she may be at­tract­ive — even though it’s 5 p.m. and she’s still wear­ing pa­jama pants — and you might even find it oddly al­lur­ing that she chooses to wear ear­rings the width of trash­can lids with her name in the middle of the hoop.

But in most cases, no mat­ter what she says or how nice she acts, make sure you keep away, be­cause there’s a load of bag­gage right be­hind her. This bag­gage tends to be angry “Corner Guy” ex-boy­friends who have only a week left be­fore they’re off house ar­rest.

Girls, you have to watch out for these Corner Guys, who are a lot like the Corner Girls ex­cept the male vari­ety of this urb­an phe­nomen­on of­ten has more neck tat­toos and a fresh two-year sen­tence for beat­ing up someone in the bar for hit­ting on his “baby mama.”

You can’t grow up in the river­wards without know­ing about Corner Girls and Corner Guys. Like most of us, they hung out on the corner when they were kids, too.

But re­mem­ber that mo­ment — usu­ally right after you gradu­ated from high school — when you real­ized there was more to do in the world than just hang around in the street and be a knuckle­head?

These people didn’t.

There are cer­tain things you can get away with as a teen­ager. The “I was young and dumb” ex­cuse is of­ten used, but this tends to lose its valid­ity when you’re a job­less 30-year-old.

But I di­gress.

Stay­ing away from these Corner Kids can be dif­fi­cult, mostly be­cause, if you haven’t grown up here, you might not re­cog­nize the signs.

His­tor­ic­ally, non-Kens­ing­ton res­id­ents might con­sider all Corner Kids to be “Ken­zos.”

This is far from the truth. You can find them in any neigh­bor­hood just as eas­ily — be­ing an im­ma­ture, un­em­ployed dead­beat knows no bound­ar­ies.

Now, bear with me, be­cause this part may smack of Jeff Fox­worthy’s “you might be a red­neck if …” routine, but there are ways to tell if the per­son you’re flirt­ing with is a Corner Kid.

First, you gen­er­ally can tell if someone you meet is a Corner Kid by check­ing out their Face­book page.

Look at their pic­tures. If they have even one im­age of them­selves stand­ing on Frank­ford Av­en­ue with their hands in the shape of what may or may not be a gang sign, you should prob­ably de­lete them from your friends list and for­get you two ever met.

On­line gram­mar also is in­dic­at­ive of Corner Kid stature.

Look for words mis­spelled on pur­pose, spe­cific­ally mono­syl­lab­ic words that are prac­tic­ally im­possible to spell wrong. For in­stance, if someone’s status up­date says “Gon go 2 da park l8r wit mah ba­beeee,” you’re most likely deal­ing with a Corner Kid.

Also look for up­per-case-lower-case typ­ing, as in “LoVe MaH NeW PiCz.”

If you don’t de­lete them promptly, be pre­pared to have your Face­book page flooded with links to ma­li­cious sites and apps that will lit­er­ally make your com­puter leak vir­uses, thanks to their con­stant post­ings.

However, these people can be much more de­struct­ive in real life, so re­cog­niz­ing them is im­port­ant. Not every Corner Girl rocks pa­jama pants and hoop ear­rings and not every Corner Guy has a tat­too on his fore­head.

Some ap­pear per­fectly nor­mal, not rough around the edges in the least. But you’ll find out real quick that you’re deal­ing with Corner Kids if you get a phone num­ber at the bar.

Let’s say you’ve just got­ten a Corner Girl’s num­ber at some dive bar. Well, you might soon meet the Corner Guy by the pool table — the one with the neck tat­toos — after he storms over and throttles you for dar­ing to ap­proach the moth­er of his child.

And don’t think the Corner Girl will stand quietly to the side while you’re beg­ging for your life. You see, the only reas­on she gave you her num­ber in the first place was to get her Corner Guy ex-boy­friend angry.

While most wo­men would try to break up a scuffle between you and her ex-boy­friend, the Corner Girl prefers to pro­voke a fight. She’ll prob­ably even shout in­sults to the Corner Guy about how you’re his child’s new and im­proved fath­er, just as he’s try­ing to de­cide if pum­mel­ing you is worth vi­ol­at­ing his pro­ba­tion.

But this scen­ario needn’t hap­pen to you. 

Here’s a word of cau­tion be­fore things get to that point: Don’t get in­volved with Corner Kids, es­pe­cially in the con­text of a street fight.

Just con­cen­trate on run­ning away. ••

River­ward Rants re­flects the opin­ions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown res­id­ent, area nat­ive and writer of the Web site PhillyNeigh­bor.com, where he makes cyn­ic­al (and un­censored) com­ments about life in the river wards while shame­lessly ped­dling his nov­el, “Hol­d­out.” He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com.

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