Tucked away in Newfoundland, Canada’s most eastern province, living predominantly in North America’s oldest settlement, St. John’s, is a particularly interesting sub-breed of individual, who are known to locals simply as skeets. However, you won’t be shooting clay pigeons anytime soon in these parts. Instead, you’ll find the east coast equivalent of a Brooklyn gangster, teens and young adults mainly, which isn’t found quite the same in any other place in the world.
So, what exactly is a skeet? Though they’re easy to recognize, they’re hard to define. These people speak with a thick accent, hard to place in your mind, which is an odd combination of Newfoundland outport accents and African-American dialect. The sound is best described as uneducated, as poor use of the English language is consistent. The “h” sound is dropped from “th” and thus words like “think” and “throw” become “t’ink” and “t’row”. Also, the letter “s” is added to almost every verb in speech, especially when they’re talking about themselves. Words such as mother and father become “mudder” and “fadder”. Me is a common replacement for my.
“Me mudder t’inks I goes to school every day but I don’t, I just goes to the mall and sits outside with me smokes.”
But what about the physical appearance? Many people worldwide are familiar with the term “wigger”, and that term best describes how skeets appear as well. Baseball hats on awkward angles, basketball jerseys, “bling”, perhaps a cigarette wedged behind the ear. A hunched strut marks their approach, one hand curved toward their crotches. Menacing expressions are usually plastered on their faces.
So what’s the fuss? What’s the big deal?
Well, their habits and actions are very distinct in Newfoundland. If you are a young smoker in St. John’s, chances are you’re a skeet. Skeets operate like gangs within their friends, but no gangs are actually established. Also, these people are quite aggressive, and they tend to initiate fights without even being provoked. They will fight anybody who looks, talks, walks, or acts different than they do. However, there are rarely spoils in their efforts, so worry not for your money or jewelery. It seems to simply be the thrill of the hunt. Most skeets come from the poor neighborhoods, such as Buckmaster’s Circle, Mundy Pond, Barachois Street and a few places downtown. Their performance in school is as dismal as their attendance is sparse, few completing any form of post-secondary education, their potential squandered by drugs and alcohol. In public, they are the cause of general mischief, throwing ice at cars in the winter months, causing fights, vandalizing public and private property.
Skeets can make life more difficult for a young person, as their presence makes walking alone a frightful endeavor at times. The best way to cope with the problem is to keep to yourself, as to not aggrivate the beast. Uneducated, aggressive and unruly, skeets are at once a source of aggrivation, fear, and entertainment for the people of St. John’s.