“Gee, Officer Krupke”


Springboro's Guy Pasvogel, published author, shares his thoughts

Warren County Resident Guy Pasvogel shares his take on life in today's world.

 For those of you who have not seen the movie “West Side Story” or saw it too long ago to remember, allow me to introduce you to Officer Krupke. Officer Krupke was the foot patrolman walking the beat in the Bronx of New York City in the late 1950s, who was constantly harassed by the competing gangs of teens labeled “juvenile delinquents.”

The song, “Gee, Officer Krupke '' will be forever embedded in my mind for the many life lessons that can be picked up if one digs far enough down the rabbit hole. Please allow me to set the stage.

Actors ready? 

Start singing.

One hot summer day Officer Krupke confronts the Jets gang who are loitering in the neighborhood. Officer Krupke shouts out, “Hey you!” 

One gang member replies, “Who me?” 

Officer Krupke then retorts, “Yea you! Give me one good reason for not dragging you down to the station house, you punk!”

What follows in song is not one reason, but a whole lifetime of troubled reasons that brought the Jets gang to behave like hooligans on the streets of New York.

“Gee, Officer Krupke, we’re very upset. We never had the love that every child oughta get. We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood. Deep down inside us there is good.”

“The trouble is he’s crazy, the trouble is he drinks. The trouble is he’s lazy, the trouble is he stinks. The trouble is he’s growing, the trouble is he’s grown. Krupke, we got troubles of our own!”

Today’s youth confronts the same issues that the Jet’s gang sang about to Officer Krupke in the 1950s. The road to bad behavior does not happen overnight. The love (or lack of the same) will shape a child’s image of himself (or herself) far beyond the teen years into adulthood.

Like the song says, “deep down inside us there is good.” When a child misbehaves he (or she) is not a bad child, just a GOOD child that made a bad choice ...“We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood.” 

When was the last time you had a sit-down with your child to try to understand their thinking? A child needs to know that you are there for them to offer guidance, patience and understanding without judging them. If you aren't there, where will they get it?

Too many times a tragedy happens today and the parents say that the young adult showed no signs of a problem. 

Sorry, in my opinion that cop out does not wash. There are all sorts of signs if one takes time to look deep into the upbringing.

For instance, did the parents instill right from wrong at an early age?  The Ten Commandments are a start. Who is your child hanging around with and are they a good or bad influence on them? What kind of video games are they playing? What kind of movies are they watching? Who are their heroes on TV that they want to emulate?

One other quote from West Side Story that rings true is when Doc confronts one of the Jets at the Candy store about the gang killing.  The Jet defends his actions by saying, “It’s not us Doc, it’s everything around us.” Environment plays a big part in who you become.

Lastly, the line in the song that I have used more than once when a friend confronts me of their long list of troubles, illnesses and overall negative downloads, I reply, “Krupke I’ve got troubles of my own ... Deal with it."

Everyone has issues. Our character, upbringing and conscience will determine whether we react in a positive or negative way. Hopefully, the good in all of us will prevail.

If not, when Officer Krupke comes knocking at your door, it maybe too late. So, choose wisely my friends. 

West Side Story... https://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/westsidestory/geeofficerkrupke.htm

According to Secondhandsongs.com The song "Gee, Officer Krupke" was written by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein and was first performed by Eddie Roll and Grover Dale and was first performed on August 19, 1957. It was performed by Russ Tamablyn and The Jets in the movies October 18, 1961. 

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