As with all interestingly ludicrous stories, this one starts in a bar.
I don’t imbibe the way I used to, but I do enjoy tipping back the occasional drink. After a long day of gazing at a blank page, I sometimes build up a desire to have a few. So I do, and who knew it would lead to inspiration.
Last night I sat in my normal booth, at my normal bar, and drank my normal drink. In the booth behind me I could hear the voices of two men. I couldn’t completely understand what was being said. I heard the occasional curse word. The rest was an intoxicated version of what the adults sound like on the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Out of nowhere I hear, “I am a racist.”
I looked up and there he was, the self-proclaimed “racist”. He was older than me, but not ancient, I’d say fifty-five or so. The racist statement wasn’t what caught me off guard. It was the fact that he was an African-American. Because, when I hear the word “Racist” I immediately picture a bald, sheet wearing white guy with singed eyebrows from his weekly cross burning. So this was a little different but not all together unbelievable. We all know anybody can be a racist.
“You must be proud” I sarcastically fired back.
“I am proud, nothing makes me prouder.” He said as he left his booth and took a seat in mine.
“Being a racist is the only thing I have ever wanted to be. When I was a kid my dreams were filled with the life of a racist. I can’t say that it has always ended in victory for me, but for the most part I come out on top. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can go round and round with me and I will win. There was a time, when I was younger, that it didn’t matter what race or who it was, I would beat them down. My dad always taught me to treat people with kindness and respect. But, if you have a passion for something never let anyone take that from you.” He paused and smiled at me expecting some sort of irrationally motivated retort. I nodded my head, smiled and waited for the punch line.
“The kid is a racist too” He started back up. “Not my kid, I call him kid because he is half my age. Come over here!” He barked as he moved over to make room for the “kid”.
Imagine my confusion when a white guy about twenty-three or so walks around the booth and sits down.
“I’m confused” I stuttered.
Without hesitation the man says, “Why because a black man like me is friends with a white man like him? Do you have some sort of problem with a black man and a white man being pals and having a drink together? Is our ‘kind’ not welcome here? Who the hell are you to say that two racist friends can’t have a drink? What kind of establishment is this? It must be one that caters to people like you who have a prejudice against racists.”
Before I could be completely overwhelmed with intimidation, they both started laughing.
“We race,” he said. “We race cars and motorcycles. A guitar player is a guitarist. A person who creates art is an artist. Someone who has nothing better to do with their time than yell at other people is an activist. So, we thought it only logical to call a person who races, a racist.” He smiled and he took a drink.
I am not going to lie, I laughed so hard beer came out my nose. I also learned a lesson.
Never lash out incoherently at others until you’ve heard the whole story. Sometimes the important part or the part you need to hear arrives at the end of the story or conversation. Lashing out like a child forced to eat carrots never ends well. Someone could end up hurt, or private property destroyed. You will end up banned from the only bar within walking distance. Eventually you drive to a bar and end up getting pulled over on your way home. You lose your license and then your job because you can’t drive. This all happens after you get out of jail for assault and destruction of private property.
Never begin an irrational child like tantrum until you’ve heard the entire story. If, at the end, you decide that a violently ignorant tirade is warranted. Then by all means be foolish and create a situation that will get you locked up, banned, and branded a “wack-job”.
I do not condone, promote, or support racism or violence in any way, shape, or form. I do support and condone rational conversations, calm interactions, and peaceful resolutions.