I try not to be a judgmental person but there are certain times I have an involuntary reaction to someone else. To wit: I was driving down the highway on the way to a meeting when I saw a young man with a long Mullet Haircut, wearing a Rebel Flag tee shirt and a pair of cutoff jeans. He was also wearing flip flops and smoking a cigarette. This is Joe Dirt’s illegitimate son, Joe Dirt The Second, known to his friends as “Number Two”. You see how I am? This guy could be a perfectly nice person and here I am fictionalizing his whole life simply because he looks like he would get kicked off of “Swamp People” for being a hick. Oh, and he also had a twelve pack of Natty Lite in one hand, clearly visible through the nearly transparent Mal-Wart bag. That pretty much sealed it for Number Two running along as fiction in my mind. Do I need someone like this in a story? Hmmm.
So this is a meeting that is sure to be very quick because it’s an outside meeting and it is 97 degrees in the shade. Get out in the open and add ten to that. The fact there isn’t a breath of air and you now know how it feels when you begin to die. I like this kind of weather. It separates the people who really want to speak with me about things that are important to me from those who are just killing time. I’m hungry, really very hungry, and it’s still an hour before lunch. Maybe the end of the meeting and the beginning of lunch will occur at the same time.
Let’s revisit, shall we, my thoughts on being judgmental?
Being judgmental creates an internal support group. You know better than to start applying stereotypes to random people but you just did it. So, in your mind, you look for some sort of justification, don’t you? Oh, Mullet Man! He can’t get a job, he walks down the road, he’s too lazy to jog, he drinks Natty Lite cause it’s four for a dollar and bought that damn shirt from a man in the holler.
Yes, in my mind, I started trying to figure out if Mullet Man had a job and if he ever wondered if the way he looked might keep him from it. Then that little ditty broke out and I had to laugh, which made me feel bad…while I was grinning.
Okay, I pegged him as a racist slacker with substance abuse problems and genetic tendencies towards prison tattoos and sexually transmitted diseases as well as a Wal-Martian.
I know it’s wrong okay?
But I can see him tossing his hair like a quasi-male Paris Hilton as he walks through the door of the single wide holding the bag up for his woman to see. She’s just gotten the early pregnancy test back just in time to apply for her Learner’s Permit online as soon as her little sister gets off Match Dot Com.
Anyway, there’s this business meeting and I could count the number of people who wanted to be out in direct sunlight. I didn’t but I always wear long sleeves and a wide brim hat. I’m ready for it to be 100 degrees and it’s only 97. The meeting, incredibly, resolves nothing, but there has to be another meeting. Then an Outsider shows up, right before the meeting ends, and this is a man created for a television movie. I can’t write fiction like this because no one will believe me, really. The wind changes direction and I realize that Karma has come to call and as always, I am not going to like it.
The man weighs about four hundred pounds, maybe more. He’s wearing a tee shirt that would be tight on me. It’s made out of the same fabric that the Incredible Hulk’s pants are made of because they never rip off of him either. Yeah, that shirt goes in a second but you gotta love a monster that wears pants all the time, really.
Old Spice. The Tee Shirt Titan is wearing Old Spice. No, to say the man is wearing Old Spice is like saying Tammy Faye wore make-up. It’s like saying Elton John wore a hat. It’s like saying Miley Cyrus wears trashy like a tattoo. Or a trashy tattoo. Or even a tattoo of trash, that wouldn’t surprise you know, which is a sad commentary…it’s caffeine that does this to me, I’ll be okay, really.
Old Spice. I have no idea if his little girls slung water balloons full of the stuff at him or if he fell into a vat of it in the factory, or oh please dog no, he self-applied willingly. That one thought dominates my mind. The smell dominates my nose. But then I notice the man has a following. A rather large following of the small follows the large. The man has attracted the largest swarm of gnats I have ever seen in my life.
Billions and billions.
This is a man not remotely involved in the meeting but rather just someone walked up and said, “Canna’ ask a question, maybe?”
Sure. Why not. What’s it going to hurt?
The man’s inanity was enough to kill at close range but then the gnats hit. By the hundreds, nay, by the thousands, then by the millions they flew in like loopy kamikazes without orange rising suns painted on their wings, because that would look weird.
Do you know gnats? Gnats are tiny flying insects who look like miniature houseflies. Imagine a house fly at about one-twentieth the size. They don’t sting or bite but they invade every orifice and they swarm around the human face. Ears, noses, the mouth and eyes are not safe. I tried snorting hard to get one out of my nose, we Southerners are experts at this, but two or three dove into my mouth as I spoke.
I could taste, I swear it, Old Spice.
You have no idea what was going through my head. Did I just devour three, four, a half dozen of these creatures that had dined on some part of…that? The thoughts of lunch left me as breakfast was threatening to do so literally. More and more of the flying spice spheres swarmed at me and I tried desperately not to speak or breathe or look. I could not get the taste out of my mouth or mind. I felt like puking.
That’s what I get, you know. I fictionalize people because they make great stories sometimes and this is why it’s bad. Karma; that great equalizing force in the Universe stands ready to unleash justice at a whim.
I can’t eat. I swear I still taste Old Spice.