Don't nobody care if you use to be small and got big, was big and got bigger, had hair and went bald. But seriously don’t show up with some jacked up toupee, hair plugs, or weaves that look crazy. ‘Cause we love you and we’ll tell you…some things haven’t changed. But seriously, on the real, we could care less if you have bills in the bank, or got bills you can’t pay. Most of us are out here robbin’ Peter to pay Paul on a monthly basis, anyway. It doesn’t matter if you used to be straight and now you’re gay, or gay and now you’re straight. I repeat, don’t nobody care. The water is safe. JUST COME HOME!
2) Don't Procrastinate
If you're smart, you have a long-standing agreement with your spouse about your yearly pilgrimage back to Fair St. and Brawley. And then there’s the rest of the bunch…those that have to negotiate for their hall pass. That pass might be granted annually, bi-annually, and for some it might have been revoked which might explain why we use to see you on the yard, on social media and then “POOF”, you disappeared.
But seriously, don’t procrastinate. We are less than a month out. Fellas, all things on the “honey do” list should be completed and if more get added don’t complain. You’ll earn good favor if you clean the house, do the laundry, go see the chick flick, and take the kids on Saturday so she can have a day of solitude. Happy Wife= Happy Homecoming Life. Ladies, make sure you are up on ALL your “wifely” duties. And when I say all, I mean ALL even the ones you only do on his birthday.
3) You're Closer to 50 than 20 (50 is not the new 30)
Remember you're in your 40's closer to 50 than to 30. You are not young alumni. Although your spirit may feel like it’s 25, its not. Don’t go strutting into the Friday night party; it’s not for you. Go to your age appropriate functions. Remember you have 40-year old knees. You can’t “shake what your mama gave you” like you did when you were twenty. Don’t get stuck down there looking like you’re in a Life Alert commercial. Not everybody can butterfly their way back up. You don’t want to be the one in the crew saying, “I need some Ben-Gay.” And leave the yeekin’ to the professionals. It’s invite only. Unless someone from the Yeek Crew endorses you, just stand around like everyone else and watch.
Pace yourself, we’ve got some days to get it in. Don’t get passed out face down on the table drunk with your people having to help walk you out at the Alumni House. It wasn’t cute when you were an undergrad and it’s surely unbecoming now.
Rest and properly hydrate the entire week before you come. Your turkey doesn't strut like it use to you'll need that full eight hours. And work on your alcohol tolerance in advance. 'Cause once you get in HC mode, your alarm clock could be a martini shaker depending on who you hang with.
If you go real hard in the paint the recovery time takes longer the older you get. You might not want to go back to work till Tuesday. You don’t want your boss, co-workers, or whoever else gets on your nerves messing with your HC high or even worse you end up cussing them out 'cause you are so damn tired. I don’t want you messing up your corporate or “Gubment” money. Take a day of reprieve.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’m putting it out there. Make sure your bills are paid before you come. And by this age you should know to bring your water bottle to the yard and wear comfortable shoes. You’re not new to this.
4) There's A Protocol
When the wife, husband, significant other, fiancée, fiancé can’t use your comb, went to a PWI, or didn’t go to an HBCU, there’s some things you need to inform them of before they come. Don’t have them on the yard doing and saying dumb shit. You know it’s a reflection of you, right? Don’t bring them down here without knowing the rules of engagement.
Let 'em know this is the biggest congregation of black people they'll probably EVER see in one place. That family reunion you took them to is child's play in comparison. But there is nothing to fear. Unlike some of ya'll's families we don't bite.
Make sure they know that CAU alumni genuinely love each other. We're family and beyond elated when we convene in October. There's something about laying eyes on 'errbody that makes it all better. Lots of hugs and kisses are exchanged so don't get in 'ya feelings. Nobody trying to steal your piece; it's likely somebody has already been there, done that, & ain't trying to go back.
For those of ya'll making those first-time introductions of the second, maybe the third spouse, or for some the starter spouse, schedule it for another time. There's too much going on on the yard for all that.
5) Nips and Tucks
Don't let your addiction to reality television, the fakeness you see on the Kardashians and every iteration of "Love & Hip Hop" and "Real Housewives" get you feelin' some kinda way. Don’t get sucked, tucked, and pushed up right before HC ‘cause you wanna look cute on the yard. Then on top of that create this elaborate back-story on how all of “that” or “lack of that” came to be. If you paid for it, just own it. You do it with your wigs and your weaves. Nobody cares if you went under the knife. If you decide to get cosmetic procedures, make sure you factor in enough time for all your healing and recovery to be done before Homecoming. Don’t come on the yard still in bandages acting funny style not wanting anybody touching you. We your folks; we are going to grab you, hug you, and love on you! Don’t mess up and play with our love expressions. And please, please refrain from some crazy gibberish about not having lap band surgery. NO NOW! You were 300 pounds two months ago. Nobody loses weight that fast, not even cancer patients.
6) The Sanctified, Saved, & Holy
"If you love the Lord with all your heart and you know he heard your cry", it's all right you can leave him at the crib. You know he’s always with you. You’re not going to lose your place in line at the pearly gates. So don’t bring the sanctified side self of yourself to the yard cause you’ll go home professing a new religion. You started Baptist and will go back Catholic. In the streets convincing your saved self that going to confession is easier and works best. And don’t even try to go to convocation or whatever place you call your house of worship ‘cause the day party is about to start. "Go have a little talk with Jesus" about what you did next Sunday. Ya’ll don’t have nothing to talk about till then. Homecoming Sunday is not the day to leave it at the cross.
7) Secret Lovers
A few of you start sounding like Biggie, "I want that old thang back" when October comes peaking around the corner. You’ve been sending emails through Messenger, sliding into DM’s, sneakin’ in calls and texts like a teenager for a few weeks now or maybe even months. “You hang up, no you hang up, on three hang up.” Some of ya’ll live for your yearly grab and smash.
8) The Day Party Is That In Name Only
Daytime is just what time it starts. But you could very well eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same venue especially if the DJ is rockin’, the alcohol is flowin’, and the drink specials are endless. I guarantee somebody will channel their inner Oprah yelling, “you get a drink, you get a drink, everybody get a drink” which could easily cause the day party to turn into a pajama jammy jam. Once that alcohol and music get good and mixed, you’re liable to get hit with a flashback like you caught the Holy Ghost and have a religious experience on the dance floor. You’ll be in Hartsfield on Monday with your shades on, a "tad bit hung", standing in the TSA line humming “last night a DJ saved my life.”
9) The Greeks (whether you pledged grad or undergrad)
Quite a few of you for various reasons: your GPA, you messed with someone's boo thang in undergrad, the chapter was suspended, etc...had to go through grad chapter to get your letters and feel a little hesitant about coming under your organization’s tent. I know CAU greek culture is a little different, can be somewhat intimidating, and cliquish at times. But ain’t nobody trippin’, just come on! Hang out under the tent, you frat, you soror now (in my Shug Avery voice). Please! Girl, boy BYE! Some of the folks that got theirs in undergrad weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.
Just remember, in all your excitement to finally wear your letters on the yard don’t run up on that Greek that never liked you and ask to take a picture. You might end up feeling like you did when you were interested. You’ve been warned.
Now to the Greeks that pledged in undergrad, don’t come up under the tent expecting the babies that pledged in the 2000’s or the 90’s for that fact to even know who you are. Let alone your line name or your number. You are Greek AARP. They don’t know you. As long as they are respectable to their Greek elders, know their history; know their chapter, that’s the most you can ask. And before you give me that cross eye (I can see it through the computer). Yes, you can mean mug and give some ‘tude if your neo’s babies don’t know who you are. All bets are off then…proceed and do what it is you do. Don’t forget hazing is illegal.
10) Workout Lies
This is for those that stay on social media posting about their fitness "health is wealth" life. Always checking in at the gym, showing weekly meal prep, providing pics & video of their workouts. Don’t come to HC looking like the only thing you’ve been lifting is a fork to your mouth, and the only place you’ve been running to is the refrigerator. There should be visible changes. Not some "I envisioned it and it manifested in my mind” nonsense. There better not be any naked lies. I’m just sayin’…
If you looked at the calendar and was like, "Oh snap, I need to get in shape." MAAN, just forget about it! You should have started that eight weeks ago. You're just going to have to be ok with being a 'lil fat, a 'lil fluffy. Rock the "fits" with elastic.
11) Social Media
Last but not least. By far the most important rule as we are living in a technology world (yes, I am singing it my “Material World” voice). Everything is not for public consumption and HC is one of those things. Use some damn discretion. Change your privacy settings now to timeline review before you forget. Create a group for your work friends and change the settings to limit what they can see. If you don’t know how to do any of this, ask your kids or whatever millennial is in your life. If all else fails, find a tutorial on YouTube or just Google it. Use some common sense when posting pics of others. Stop and think, "do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." For those of you addicted to FB Live don’t use it on the yard. What’s the point, all your followers are going to be on the yard partying with you. Don't put the business on the 'Gram.
Safe travels, Happy Homecoming, Find A Way Or Make One
*For all the OCD readers, I apologize. I know the rules don't end on an even number. It's bothering my sensibilities too. But "witty" and her homie "sarcasm" have left the building. So its just going to have to "do what it do". Even it will end next year.
Photo courtesy of RUN CAU
She is a contributing writer for Watch The Yard.
And knows a thing or two about Marketing & Brand Development.
She's a product of find a way or make one.
And a shoe lover, lover of shoes. She lives in L.A. (not a transplant, a native).
LA Black Parent Mag Guest Blogger, Laura D. Reid
Laura's Blog: http://thisisldr.wixsite.com/mysite