Luck*y sev*en (luk’ sev’ n) n. The renegade bunch of self-proclaimed party animals of south California; group of rapscallions that gained notoriety through reckless mischief and endless hype during the late 90’s.
Founded by Drizzit, Ez, Noid, Doughboy, Stinky, and the Wizard, the Lucky 7 was a counterculture phenomenon. Countless recruits dogged the L7 to be included, to get a piece of the glory or at least share the peripheral benefits. Their code is to raise hell and increase mayhem by getting as messed up as possible, which was in demand for deaf social functions for the 20 something year olds …
The foundations were already in place within the Deaf Mecca for a year, long before the members of the L7 formed. The deaf Mecca was a half-way house of sorts for the deaf, where assorted folks of various ethnic groups met for social purposes, which was more often than not the escape from the reality of a hearing-dominated world. Conveniently located in north Long Beach, the house was home to geeks, to jocks, to grease monkeys, and all kinds of factions. The residents Cracker, Doughboy and the Wizard, all hard of hearing roommates, promoted deaf pride by hosting parties at least once a month in order to float the rent and bills.
It all had begun when the rebel Drizzit first moved into the deaf Mecca, replacing the popular Elf. As the landlady’s son, the Cracker surreptitiously made the decision of inviting him without his roommates’ consent. Sporting a 50’s rebel look, Drizzit was heavily covered with tattoos and carried an aura of unpredictability that unnerved others. Everyone knew of Drizzit only by reputation, which was gained by the occasional beer at local bashes. His reputation as a dangerous force of mayhem bode ill for the Deaf Mecca’s future. Little did anyone know that was the start of something big.
Within days of moving in, Drizzit had a friend over to play cards: EZ. Aptly named, he had resurfaced in the deaf community after a long hiatus. A wiry, athletic slim-jim, EZ exuded the essence of leniency. His laid-back tendencies helped chill the insecurities of others, which also helped his own initiation within the group. A former track star, EZ also had various nicknames from different social groups – ‘Roadrunner’ to the track team, ‘Wired’ to the ballers on the playground, and to his brothers, he was the ‘Dragon.’
EZ introduced the Drizzit a new kind of card game called Magic the Gathering. It has the best elements of chess and playing cards where the selling point was a fantasy theme while the rules were innovative to allow limitless strategies. They both treated the game with a deep reverence and played with a ritualistic demeanor that tempered their natural competitiveness, which both confounded and intrigued the roommates’ interest.
Noid, a former football player, kept popping in the Mecca, and kept Drizzit company with a never-ending supply of bizarre tales and maryjane. Both Drizzit and Noid hailed from the same neighborhood. After downing a few Noid’s legendary paranoia overtook his personality and dictated just about everything in the room. His distinctive antics determined his nickname Noid, which is derived from the word ‘paranoid.’ A genial sort, Noid’s deep seated need for validation only outstripped his love for the magic herb and his outlandish, off-the-cuff remarks kept everyone on their toes.
Another disciple, and one of the historically greatest, Stinky is a muscle bound Creole whose sophomoric behavior belied his frightening visage. Stinky and Doughboy were both close friends, being homeboys from the ghetto. Stinky may have been often the butt of jokes, but an incurable inability to take himself seriously prevented things from ever becoming serious. In addition, Stinky’s curiosity initialized Drizzit and EZ with other regulars by learning the basics of Magic the Gathering game. His infectious attitude in turn influenced the other, more reluctant Doughboy and Wizard into participating.
The game, unforgiving in its tests of survival, became a fulcrum for the boys – who hailed from different backgrounds – to bond together.
Doughboy, being a music connoisseur usually stayed upstairs in his room to listen to Thug-N-Harmony and other hardcore street rap. He was the source of humor for the Lucky 7, ready to rib someone at the drop of the hat. His gregariousness got even the stoic chuckling. Half Hispanic and half Afro-American, Doughboy was the quintessential party animal who could belong equally to the hearing and the deaf crowds. A double agent of sorts, Doughboy commanded respect with his mobster tendencies: the swagger in the walk, the lisp, the ‘tude, the whole package of a gangbanger. The truth is that he was a loveable teddy bear underneath all that posturing – unless he was pissed. Doughboy put up the most resistance before befriending Drizzit, Noid and EZ, but over time, that became a non-issue.
As the brains, the Wizard was the most cynical. He and Drizzit shared similar tastes in books – fantasy. Many a night passed where books were analyzed, authors exposed, and characters deconstructed. If the blood alcohol content was northwards of legal, the name of the conversation was scathing, withering faint praise, which thus earned each other’s respect. The wizard held a specialty – he could draw the living bejeezebus out of anything.
The Lucky 7 was born on a freezing Saturday night about a month after Drizzit had moved in, where all six of the aforementioned people huddled up over a game of Magic in Drizzit’s room. That game was brutal, ejecting two members early because they failed to establish allegiances within the first few turns. The wizard, an early loser, retired to his sketchpad. Drizzit, after downing 40 oz. of Mickey’s, suggested the Wiz to draw everyone present. Heavily intoxicated, yet inspired, the Wiz scribbled furiously a garish caricature of the others in the midst of the game, including the absentee roommate, the Cracker. Splendidly rendered in the vintage tradition of Yoshiyuki Sadomoto, the drawing surpassed the others’ expectations. Everyone, that is, except for the Cracker. His rendition was far from flattering – it suggested that he was a neutered male, under the beck and call of a scandalous film majorette.
To the reader who has detected that there are only six members – congratulations. The missing member does not exist- because it is an empty position, and a revolving spot to be filled with the extra Johnny of the day. For every time the L7ers met, the 7th could be a new Johnny. This was the case because in order to join the L7 the recruit had to pass each of the founding father’s tests, which themselves were next to impossible. Drizzit’s test required the recruit to maintain lucidity (as in carry a clear and distinct conversation, remain conscious) after finishing off an entire bottle of jack Daniels. Ez’s was even harder: beat him at a footrace. Stinky’s test involved pinning him at wrestling. You get the idea.
Immortalized with such a masterpiece, the Lucky 7 began to attend parties together. One of the local bashes for the deaf served as training grounds for their debut. Outclassing the hosts, the boys emptied the kegs and created alcohol-fueled mayhem, instilling life into the otherwise moribund party. Once the others realized that the boys from different backgrounds were now a force to be reckoned with, various inquiries were prompted about their identity. The girls mocked about who was the luckiest, and the other boys, threatened, engaged in dismissive remarks like ‘Seven Loo-sahs.’
As a group they were invincible, capable of matching any posse with their own set of skills – be it athleticism, music, wrestling, drinking, blazing, the art of rhetoric, vidgames, etcetera, etc, etcetera. The more parties the lucky 7 crashed, the more they began to depend on one another, the more experience in party situations contributed to the now careening out of control hype, bolstering their legend. In successive bashes, the L7 gained enough ill-repute that people from other cities and states became curious and started their own parallel clubs. Even longtime friends started calling them by their L7 nicknames instead of their birth names. Other hosts of parties, in order to ensure a successful turnout, brokered quid pro quo deals with the L7 boys to attend their bashes in order to validate it. Recruits, merchandising, and perks were the rage.
However, the truism – all good things must come to an end – was never more true when the L7 boys succumbed to the harsh realities of the real world, and grew apart. All the members went their ways – Noid transferred to CSUN, Wizard and Doughboy both moved out, possibly due to burnout, EZ turned over a new leaf, Stinky became a father, and Drizzit slunk off for employment. While Cracker still lives in the now defunct Mecca, the endless stream of the deaf people slowed to a pittance, a trickle. However, the Lucky 7 still lives on as a ghostly reminder of the gloriously perfect days of wasted youth. When the boys are reunited – albeit always incomplete – the conversations revolve around the theme of “remember when…”
Rest in Peace, Stinky.
(ETA: this essay was originally written for English class in Spring of 1999)