I was raised in an east European Jewish Socialist working class neighborhood in the Bronx, New York City. I guess today, they would term us, “disadvantaged,” but we call ourselves, “poor” and that did not mean we felt any disadvantage. I learned Street Corner Wisdom. Some, I retain, other aspects of this “wisdom” have been discarded.


When playing stickball, hit the ball where they ain’t.

Always trust an Irish politician, he keeps his word.

When walking in a strange neighborhood, walk on heels, not toes. Toe walking is too aggressive.

Never rat on anyone.

Jewish girls don’t do IT. Irish girls DO.

Never sign a paper. Your handshake is your word.

Teachers never go to the toilet. Where they go is the mystery of life.

Never vote for a Republican. They are for the rich.

If you see a police car coming, just run.

Never step on a blade of grass growing out of the pavement.