The first thing I thought when I saw him was: I bet he’s a vegetarian.
He had all the telltale signs. Tall and lanky. Overgrown, curly gray hair. Knitted mittens. Plaid hat with ear flaps. Sallow, sallow eyes. And a general air about him that said, ‘I haven’t eaten flesh in years and I’m hungry, goddammit!’
For a brief moment, I considered getting in another line. But every other line had at least 8 people ahead of me and all I wanted was a bunch of bananas. I like bananas, but generally not enough to wait in line for a half an hour for them. So with great trepidation, I got behind the lanky potential vegetarian.
He hefted a large bag of dog food onto the conveyor belt and began a very animated conversation with no one in particular. The teenage cashier smiled and nodded politely as she held her hand out for payment. Instead of completing his transaction, Mr. Crazy Eyes ignored her completely to announce very loudly to everyone within earshot, “Well! I’ll tell ya! The rich just keep getting richer and the poor just keep getting poorer! Isn’t that right?”
The cashier smiled weakly, “I guess so.”
“You know what we should do?” he continued, “We should gather up all the world’s resources…all the oil…all the food…all the shelter…everything…and divide it up equally between everyone! We should! We should really do that!”
The cashier said nothing. She merely re-presented her hand for payment.
Still fired up and obviously needing an outlet, he turned and looked me (of all people) directly in the eyes. Most sane individuals would consider that a mistake.
“Don’t you think that’s what we should do? Divide it up all equally?”
“So you’re a communist.” I remarked dryly.
“I’ll tell you one thing! Jesus was a communist! He was! Jesus and God were both communists! I know you probably don’t believe this, but I read the Bible once—”
(What the fuck? Why wouldn’t I believe that?)
“—And it said that Jesus was a communist. I read it! I read it when I was 32 years old! Jesus wants us ALL to be CHEERFUL GIVERS!”
He was getting more and more worked up, almost shouting, and a line was forming behind us both. All I wanted was my bananas, so I desperately searched my mind for the perfect thing to say to shut him up for good.
“Well, being that I’m an Atheist, what Jesus says really doesn’t apply to me.”
Unfortunately, this ended up being the exact wrong thing to say.
With a shocked inhalation of breath, Mr. Crazy Eyes froze. His gnarled and bony hand covered his gaping mouth. Then, with eyes rolling in all directions at once, he screamed at me.
“DON’T SAY THAT! You can’t say that! You’ll go to HELL if you say that!”
I took a short, quick step backwards because for a second there, it looked like he was going to grab me by my shoulders and shake the shit out of me. Instead, he clenched his fists and screamed at the sky.
“JESUS IS COMING BACK, MAN! HE’S COMING BACK! AND IF YOU SAY THAT, YOU’LL GO STRAIGHT TO HELL!”
I am going to interrupt this story right now because I want to make something perfectly clear. All my life, I have defended Christians. Even though devout Christians are nothing more than America’s little retards, I have stood beside them against my fellow Atheists. I have repeatedly told my brethren, “Hey look, I know they’ve got drool on their chins and snot bubbles on their nostrils, but they’re people, dammit! And as people, they have the right to believe in whatever ridiculous goddamn thing they want free from condescending persecution from you!”
I defend Christians. And this is the thanks I get? THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?
“WORLD BE FREE!” Mr. Crazy Eyes suddenly shrieked, “World Be Free! You probably don’t remember him, but he was a famous basketball star! He was! His real name was World Be Free!”
Have you ever been mid-conversation when you’ve suddenly gotten the sneaking suspicion that you had just been bonked on the head and briefly rendered comatose? Mr. Crazy Eyes had gone from communism to Jesus to professional basketball in 3 minutes flat. Obviously, I had missed a fucking segue or two somewhere.
Mr. Crazy Eyes suddenly singled out the older gentleman standing in line behind me. “You remember, don’t you? You remember World Be Free!”
“Actually,” the gentleman replied, “His real name was Lloyd.” Then, under his breath, “Fucking commie.”
Clearly horrified, Mr. Crazy Eyes paused his tirade. Slowly, I glanced around the grocery store and noticed that everyone within screaming earshot of us had frozen mannequin-like to watch the scene unfold. The cashier was stiffly standing there, hand still upturned, with a perfect ‘O’ of surprised glued to her face.
“LLOYD?” Mr. Crazy Eyes shrieked a final time, “LLOYD!!!!”
Then, with one bony paw, he slapped an entire box of candy bars off of a shelf. Hershey’s bars went flying. Apparently satisfied, Mr. Crazy Eyes turned and stomped out of the store without paying for his dog food.
For a single, endless second, no one said a word.
Then, the older gentleman behind me muttered again, “Fucking Commie.”
- Just Between You and Me
- The Next Mormon Prophet Will Be a Woman
- Where Are the Baby Factories? On Livejournal, Of Course!
- How To Get Free Ice Cream
- Warning: My Brother is a Terrible Job Reference