Friday, March 25, 2011

No permission required…

…around here for the truth. Ken at Popehat begs our indulgence, which is his without asking...
Allow me a sweeping generalization: nobody ever said anything worthwhile after beginning “I know this isn’t politically correct, but . . .” or “I’m not racist, but” or “I have nothing against gays/blacks/Asians/Muslims/ whatever, but...”
Nobody. Ever.

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Anonymous Terry Parkhurst said...

The phrase, I use, is "I don't mean to offend you but..." and it's almost always used exclusively in conversations with people concerning religion, politics or sex; the three topics not intended for what used to be called "polite company" or "polite conversation."

I employed that prefix, at least once, in a conversation with a then 90-year old (long) retired fishermen (don't have anything against women who fish, but won't use "fisher") at the now defunct Winchell's Donut (sic) House in the Wallingfor district of Seattle, circa 2004. Said fisherman started a conversation with me, after looking up from a daily newspaper - Seattle still had two then - and saying, "They should just tell the women and children to get out (of Iraq) and drop a nuclear bomb."

I looked at him, figuring he expected either "You betcha!" or, on the other hand, "Hell no! Are you nuts?" Instead, I tried to employ logic; and responded, "But where would the women and children go, after that? They'd have no place to go back to live."

That threw him. He just looked at me, thinking. That somehow led to a conversation over the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the election, then on-going. It also led me to mention that John Kerry was, in point of fact, a genuine war hero who had served in-country, during the Vietnam War; when then President Bush was keeping the skies of Texas safe (as John McCain once said, during the campaign of 2000).

It was towards the end of our conversation that I found out the guy's age - he looked to be about 65 - and marvelled at his fitness. That's when he told me, "It's important to take a multivitamin everyday" and that his former occupation had kept him fit.

When he shook my hand, and grasped it strongly to test my grit, I admitted that I wasn't a supporter of the current president and supported "someone else."

He replied, "Well, I support the other fella. But you've told me some things today I didn't know."

I often wonder if he changed his mind by November. Even if he didn't, it was a good conversation; that occurred despite his politically incorrect opening and the ability to talk freely, openly and without fear of offending each other. In the military, it's called being able "to talk freely" and is usually prefaced by asking to do just that.

Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Richard Pryor would understand.

8:11 PM  

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