“Is it better to be loved or feared? That’s a good question. It’s great to be both, but it’s very difficult. But if I had my choice, I would rather be feared. Fear lasts longer than love.”
These were the words Sonny spoke to “C” (Calogero) in A Bronx Tale, at the diner right before enjoying what I assume would be Cappuccino and Fettichini. I was obsessed. As children watching the bad guys win throughout these type of movies, and even real life for me, I believe we were all obsessed.
Sonny, the neighborhood boss reminded so much of my father and that’s who I admired. It’s the way these street guys carry themselves. And I’m not speaking on street guys like today’s “gangsters.” I’m talking about having a business mind, conducting yourself with respect, and putting fear into the soul of anyone who dared to challenge your power.
Calogero’s father, Lorenzo, the average working man, would always try to steer his son from being around these type of guys. But just as I admired them, Calogero did too. Was it the money? Was it the fear and the respect?
I couldn’t respect or understand Lorenzo’s way of living. Working hard as hell to put scraps on the table, busting your ass for hours for someone you’ll never meet, let alone make a decent portion of what you’re making him. I was not rocking. Calogero, my pal, jump off the fucking porch and make some money, b.
That was then.
I’m an adult now.
I have a felony now.
I’m a father now.
I used to want to be like Sonny so bad but the more mature I became, the more I respected Lorenzo. There comes a time when everything changes. You randomly get this feeling of forgiveness.
You begin to forgive people for things they’re not really sorry for, or even have knowledge of doing. You forgive your environment for never changing. But most importantly, you forgive yourself for allowing others to control your emotions.
The Sonny’s in your life aren’t aware of the negative impact they have on those watching. They never seen these big time corporate guys with major success. They didn’t have Twitter to follow inspirational people. Their way of affording a nice meal was by the sword. I don’t blame them. I understand the codes and I respect them but I will never, ever live by them, ever again.
When you become a felon you have two choices: be more careful next time you’re in the streets, or completely change everything about yourself that caused you to even be on the streets.
My choice was change.
It wasn’t doing another bid that scared me. It was being in that cell knowing how completely fire my art is and knowing no one will ever see it, hear it, read it, or appreciate it. I’m a provider to many and knowing they need me keeps me grounded regardless of how high of a pedestal they place me.
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent” – Sonny.
Life. Is. About. Change.
Throughout the entire movie, everyone would tell Calogero… “when you get older, you’ll understand.”
I understand now.
Carmelo “Mellzy” Sanchez is born again, and has dedicated his life to raising the bar one wave at a time. Stay jiggy. Ask him about his younger creative self, and you might hear some stories you’ll never forget.