Lloyd’s Life Lessons: Meet Joe

By: Lloyd Marcus

I was 17. The summer before beginning at the Maryland Institute College of Art on a scholarship, I landed a job at Joe Canale Signs. Mr. Canale was a kind and jolly Italian. He had four young black artists working for him.

One of us four blacks was Joe F. who was a few years older than me. I lived in suburbia with my intact family. Joe was raised in a low income area of the inner city by his grandmother. Joe spent a year in jail for petty crime.

Joe was also attending the Maryland Institute a year or so ahead of me. I am the oldest of five children. Joe became the big brother I never had. Along with his “street smarts”, I was fascinated by Joe’s common sense logic, go get what you want nature and individual mindedness.

This was the early 70s. While our black buddies were consumed with black power protests and believing white America was burning the midnight oil thinking of ways to “keep blacks down”, Joe focused on his studies and working part-time to pay his tuition. The quality I admired most about Joe is that he never allowed anyone’s beliefs or limitations to influence his choices.

Joe and I were working on a college project together. My job was to find a special paper. I told Joe I looked everywhere and could not find the paper. Joe interrogated me and concluded I had not looked “everywhere”. I was annoyed at Joe, but in my heart I knew he was right. That was Joe; simply get it done without excuses.

After graduation, Joe drove a school bus to work his way through grad school. Joe became the first black to land a job as an art director at a major Baltimore Advertising Agency. Today, Joe enjoys substantial prestige and wealth.

An artist whom I will call Jim was hands down the most artistically talented/gifted of the four of us blacks who worked at Joe Canale Signs. Extremely street smart, Jim thought he was too smart for college. He got caught stealing from our generous and kind employer on at least two occasions. Amazingly, our employer forgave Jim. Jim justified his betrayal of our boss saying he is white and they owe us. Without remorse, referring to our employer, Jim said, “F” him”.

Joe told me he saw Jim a few years ago. Our super talented charismatic friend had become a drug addict and looked like a homeless person. Joe said the horrific decline of our friend broke his heart.

Joe believed he could become successful and he did. Jim believed blacks can’t make it in a white man’s world and he could not. The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

About The Author Lloyd Marcus:
Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American Lloyd is singer/songwriter of the American Tea Party Anthem and author of Confessions of a Black Conservative, foreword by Michele Malkin. Spokesperson for Tea Party Express Please help me spread my message by joining my Liberty Network.

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