12/20/2017 | by Chris Brewer & Jon Miller
He was supposed to be the next king of futons. He was supposed to follow in his father's footsteps. but no, Rick Katz wanted to be a bigshot. and maybe, just maybe he will be. only time will tell.
We sit in his parent’s home in Brooklyn. I’ve never seen so many books in my life on one subject, futons. Rick Katz’ parents Morty and Ruth sit on the loveseat across from me. I also had never seen a couch with plastic on it. Sitting on a small futon is Rick Katz. His Kangol hat is hanging to the side just a bit and his gold chain dangles from his neck like a ring of garlic. Its big and and in your face. However, even with his attitude and whatever he is trying to sell you on, his posture is perfect. “Yo, mom…sit up straight. Come on we’ve talked about this.”
Ruth smiles and turns to me embarrassed but proud. “He always had perfect posture. Even as a little boy. I would take him out and people would stop and comment on his posture. They would say, is that your son Ruth. My, he has such good posture.”
Morty turns to Ruth behind his glasses and adds “don’t forget the spelling.” She nods in agreement. “This kid could spell. I would put him in charge of making all of the signs at the store. This all could have been his you know.” Morty pauses and looks down in disappointment. “But he wanted to be a big shot professional athlete.”
Rick turns to his parents. “You don’t understand. Parents just don’t understand!” Suddenly he asks me for paper and a pen. “I wanna write that down. That could be good. Like in a song or something.” Morty and Ruth shake their head. Morty raises his hands and looks towards the ceiling. “I need a latka.”
After writing down his notes Rick turns to me and says “yo, lets talk dutch.”
“I wasn’t supposed to be a jumper you know. I was supposed to rap. It’s what I did, its what I do. We all did. Me, Gabe, David and Mike B. Before we dutched we rapped.
I knew this but wanted to hear the story from Rick.
“We started rhyming at Brooklyn Gardens in like the 5th grade. Gabe’s older brother was really into Kurtis Blow. We all wanted to be like him or Sugarhill Gang. So every day we started practicing.” We got to play at a few friend’s birthday parties and the chicks loved us. But I wasn’t into it for the chicks. I was into it for the craft yo. We called ourselves Triple Bypass. We thought, we was so good we could give you a heart attack!”
I nodded and looked at Ruth and Morty who only shook their heads.
“Mike B. had an Uncle, Mr. Friedberg who represented some groups in Brooklyn. We was like super excited. Like yo, we got representation. We can do this yo. “ He got us a gig at some high school in Flatbush, Nazareth I think.” Anyway, it’s a high school and he’s like trying to negotiate with the high school. He tells them that we should get 20 percent of the gate. The school tells him there is no gate. It’s a dance. Then he tells them we should all get free lunches from the cafeteria. They tell him no. He insists that we get free lunches. He says that all the big shots get paid and they get fed. We were like, yo, we just want to perform. Anyway the school cancelled and we lost our big break. We was so good.”
Howeva, he did make one good recommendation for us. As we was performing we noticed that our balance, coordination wasn’t so up to par.” He said we should try jump roping. So we did. He signed us up for a jump roping class at the Y. We was like jumping with 12 year old girls and shi…
He stops himself short before finishing the word. Ruth gets up and hits him on top of the head.
“So here we are jumping at the Y and we were like. Hey man, this is pretty cool yo. So we started jumping. But we don’t say we jump. We bounce, yo.
Rick takes out a rope that he apparently had in his back pocket. “Watch me bounce, yo.”
He breaks out the slide swing and scissor moves in the small family room.
Ruth and Morty watch in complete shock and approval. “My boy can jump!” Rick suddenly stops and says “bounce Dad, I can bounce.”
“We’ve been practicing a lot. Like a lot yo. That’s what we do. We’re like Charles Oakley. We’re gonna bounce, we’re gonna be in your face and we’re gonna win. “ It’s happening. We’ve got this one move, spin the dreidel. It’s gonna shock people yo. It’s ill.
Rick starts to go but stops himself.
“Word. We got this.”
I look at Ruth and Morty. Ruth has a tear in her eye. Morty has suddenly turned his kippah to the side. Sort of.
Maybe parents do understand.