As the Urban Dictionary has quoted Tupac Shakur* as defining it, “a thug is someone who is going through struggles, has gone through struggles, and continues to live day by day with nothing for them. That person is a thug. and the life they are living is the thug life.”
There was a time when Newburyport was full of thugs. Like old South Boston, it was inhabited by a group of hard-drinking, hard-working but demoralized, and just existing from day-to-day; trying to survive and make ends meet. A thug has no time for afternoon tea or hangin’ in a yuppie coffee shop and when trying ‘to make it’, all the time is devoted to just scrambling. Sophisticated means of making money and long-term financial planning loses out over just making sure there is enough food on the table and struggling to peck away at a growing stack of hurt.
Unfortunately as our city has transferred to a more affluent city, we no longer by and large are scrambling and yet the thuggish attitude is still with us!
Aesthetics is our bread and butter but the thug looks on with incredulity and mocks anyone indulging in such talk. Let’s just slather blacktop, cold concrete and any old building in the historic district rather than continue the money-generating historic district theme.
Taking care of our houses and gardens is crucial to making our city a desirable place to live and the thug couldn’t care less – it is not important – chain link fences and pit bulls are fine to him over spiffy flowers and well-pointed buildings.
It is crucial for property values and safety that our sidewalks are historic and evenly surfaced since we’re a walking town. The thug could care less – better to drive everywhere in a car than to spend one moment walking – and they laugh at those who are environmentally sensitive.
Scraping by is the mindset of a thug and taking care of our city is just a waste of time. Parks are a waste of time – quality of life issues are stupid – jobs are what are needed. Tourists aren’t needed – who cares about property values or such sophisticated investment tools such as equity.
Unfortunately, if we allow the thug mentality to propagate, we will be destroying the allure of Newburyport and in the end, the city will only be fit for the habitation of more thugs.
* Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), was an American rapper and actor. The themes of most of Shakur’s songs are the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism, social problems, and conflicts with other rappers.