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.