“It’s like the war in Iraq, ‘protecting the people,’ blah blah I am a liberal,” said the pipsqueak with the confidence that comes from knowing for a fact that everyone around you shares your white upper middle class Bay Area upbringing. “I’m sorry,” he said as Dr. V and the Lad and I all mentally rolled our eyes at this blase college liberalism, “I didn’t even bother to ask – how do you folks feel about the war?”
(There is a certain kind of college freshman who uses the term “you folks” to refer to his peers. This pipsqueak was one such freshman.)
“Well,” I said, “I’m a Young Republican, so I’m really for it.”
“You’re a Rung Yepublican?” he actually said, which when combined with the nearly empty keg in the corner will give you some clue as to why he bought the rest of my tale. His interested expression became, if anything, MORE interested. Not only might this girl sleep with me, he was thinking, not having yet cottoned on to the Lad’s role, but perhaps I can change her mind on some key points while I am dazzling her with the knowledge I gleaned from my Poli Sci class first semester.
“So you’re a rung yepublican,” he said again, I swear to God, and began to fire questions at me rapidly, either in an attempt to keep me off balance or because he couldn�t remember where the conversation was from one sentence to the next. This isn’t the whole dialogue by any means, but it’s what I can remember at 1:30 in the morning with work looming on the horizon. “Tell me, what do you think about this war?”
“Well, I pretty much support the president,” I said.
“Really? And why is that?”
“I just think he’s been really misunderstood by this minority movement. And the majority of the population supports him, and I like to be in the majority.”
“What do you think about abortion?”
“Well…I think it’s understandable in the case of rape or incest. Although of course I don’t condone it. Basically I just think a lot of people use it as a form of birth control.”
“I see. Have you ever been pregnant?”
“ME? No way! I wouldn’t be pregnant unless I was married!”
“Uh huh. Okay. And what do you think about BLACK people?”
“Well, I don’t really know any. They don’t really live in my neighborhood.”
“And do you believe that just MIGHT be due to the LEGACY OF SLAVERY, or do you just think they’re somehow genetically inclined to poverty?”
“I guess I just don’t really see why I need to think about it.”
“Tell me, have you ever BEEN black?”
Dr. V and the Lad and Kati Vol were fully giggling like schoolgirls at this point, and periodically one of them applauded or encouraged me in some way, which was probably not a good idea. Finally, we wound our way back around to the war.
I said, “It’s just – look, Saddam used weapons of mass destruction – on his OWN PEOPLE! I mean, we’ve never done THAT.”
“Oh no? The Civil War, perhaps? The Gatling gun?”
“A machine gun!”
“Does that…is that a weapon of mass destruction?”
Lucky for Pipsqueak�s logic, it was right about then that Dr. V muttered, “I don’t care HOW this war goes, as long as we get to kill us some sand ni**ers. ” (You know the word, I know the word, I’m not typing it.) Naturally, this set Pipsqueak off into a tirade about wars in general, including WWII, which led the Lad to employ the term “nips.” At which point Pipsqueak had had just about enough. He got so far up in the Lad’s grill that his face was cross-hatched. (From the soot. On the Lad’s grill.) Taking a deep breath, this tiny white boy with glasses who had earlier been boasting about his ROWING CREW, asked the Lad “Oh yeah? And how would you feel if I called you a CRACKER-ASS BITCH?”
This pretty much ended the conversation, as all the surrounding people gently prevailed on Pipsqueak to leave off harrying this mildly amused man of twice his height. He shook all of our hands with an agreement to disagree and stalked off to bitch to his fellow party-goers about the fascists holding court outside.
I felt so bad I had to leave immediately. It’s like this, you see: when I lie on Carthage, I am lying to a group. I’m not trying to single any of you out for humiliation. Here, this was not the case. Here, I was the devil himself. I�m not proud of this, and this is my public penance.
At the same time�it felt so good. Lying is something that I was born into the wrong society to do. It�s like having a muscle that I�m not allowed to use. I have a streak of cruelty in me that I hardly ever let loose like this, and even this was nothing compared to what I could have done to this Pipsqueak. And maybe everyone has it and doesn�t use it, maybe it�s not just me. How do people do it, though? When it feels so healthy and good to reduce a man to a scrapping terrier? How can I resist?