Naughty by Nature-al Instinct

naughty by nature

Where it all went down

You down with O.P.P.? That last P has stood for many things, raising a debate about the actual meaning of the popular 90’s hip hop song. I’m going to try to decipher the true meaning in relation to my own experiences.

Summer 2004. I was working in a drugstore in the swanky Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia. The store was attached to a popular hotel, and our stockrooms were shared common spaces with hotel staff. From the moment I started my shift, I knew it was going to be “one of those days”.

Since it was centered in a prime tourist spot, Saturdays were always busy. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have six registers open with lines of 3 people deep. The store had a separate “One Hour Photo” center, where we kept many of our high dollar items (electric razors, appliances, etc.). I was scheduled to be the closing manager, again not uncommon, as I was a full time college student and weekends were fair game.

The first incident occurred after the rest of the management staff had left for the day. It was early afternoon and busy was as usual, until I noticed a shady looking fellow hovering around the photo area. I did as I was trained, and asked him if he needed any assistance. He politely declined and I continued about my business. Next thing I know, the fire alarm is ringing.

 

This too wasn’t all that uncommon, especially being attached to a hotel. It seems like a guest was always burning something in the provided kitchenette. So, as I was rallying up the employees and the customers to promptly evacuate the store as per protocol, I noticed the same shady fellow cleaning out the high dollar items behind the photo counter. I also noticed his friend standing by the fire alarm. The guys swept the photo center and took off, long before the cops or fire department arrived.

Oh well. Write up the report and move on. The fire department cleared us to reopen and we went about our day, resuming business as usual. It was early evening when the next incident occurred. I caught a young boy, probably about 12 or so, stuffing his shirt with DVD’s. I stopped him at the door and asked him to return them. He told me I better leave him alone.

“Give me back my merchandise. Those DVD’s aren’t yours,” I said.

He pushed me out of the way and gave a cue to his friends, waiting outside. Unfortunately for me, his friends were the shady characters from earlier. They drug me onto the busy sidewalk, (where no one stopped, by the way). I kicked at them, and I heard one say: “Get her into the alley.”

Oh hell no. I watch too much SVU to know what happens in alleyways. I struggled against them and broke free of their hold. As I turned to run back into the store, my face was met with a fist. I stumbled back into the lobby of the store, where my body gave in and collapsed. I was out for a few seconds, and when I got up, I found a group of people hovered around me.

“I’m sorry everyone! Please go about your day and thank you for shopping here,” I said.

I was helped up by a 17 year old cashier named Mary. She helped me to the office.

“I didn’t know you were such a big fan,” she said.

“Fan? What are you talking about?” I asked.

I was pretty dazed but I was sure she was the one not making sense.

“Didn’t you just faint because you saw the guys from Naughty by Nature?”

“What?”

Apparently, while everything was occurring outside the store, two of the members of the 90’s hip hop group were busy buying antacids and candy inside the store.

“So, I got jumped by some thugs and Naughty by Nature just stood by?” I asked.

“You got jumped?” Mary was truly surprised.

After several years of reflecting on the situation, I realize now that O.P.P. obviously stands for Other People’s Punches. Even in a potentially violent situation, the universe still finds a way to throw a curveball at me to make me laugh in the end. So, No. I am not down with O.P.P and am not part of the whole party.