I turned 75 this past Tuesday. But I almost didn’t.
Two days earlier Paula and I were standing with two friends outside a Maryland restaurant waiting for another party of four to be seated. Suddenly a man burst out of the door, sternly flipping the finger, wildly boxing the air, and bellowing:
WOW. Pop-up theater. Cool.
But it wasn’t. That was no act. That was no actor.
He stomped away, raising clenched fists like Rocky. He felt victorious.
Not a single liberal cursed him back. Not a single liberal made chase. We were in line. We had reservations.
Liberals are tolerant, generous, and gracious. Liberals believe in peace, love, and understanding. Liberals don’t yell obscenities at the other side. Liberals welcome dialogue. Liberals believe people are reasonable, even drunks.
I’m a liberal.
So I called out after the raging bull: Hey there! How can you tell who’s a liberal?
I wanted to learn from him. I wanted to walk in his flip-flops. I wanted to feel his pain.
He stopped, turned, and screamed:
And he meant it. He charged at me like a loose cannon, arms flailing while spewing his two favorite syllables.
I wasn’t afraid.
I do yoga.
I stood my ground trying to think of the yoga pose that protects against an attack, only to realize that yoga isn’t karate.
The bull roared.
I struck the mountain pose, inner core tight, taut, deeply rooted in love for all people and all creatures great and small. Breathe in. Breathe out. Namaste.
The bull lunged.
Joe Pesci jumped between us.
Touch me and you’ll be in big trouble, mister. I will call the law.
Okay. It wasn’t Joe Pesci. It was the bartender. He was short but wiry. You know, Joe Pesci.
The bull pawed the ground, grimaced, and then waddled away muttering.
(What a great country! Even a drunk idiot knows he’s not above the law.)
The bartender apologized and led us inside. Well, that was different, we all agreed. We ate and drank liberally and left a liberal tip.
The next morning I searched the internet for Maryland’s gun laws. Oh, boy! That drunk idiot could have been packing. Legally!
What was I thinking?
Will reason stop a guy with a gun?
Are liberals too nice?
Are we stupid?
Are we f**ked?
Please let me know.