The Hive

I'm just another dude with too much time on his hands. It really doesn't have anything to do with ants.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Two times I've been inadvertently insulted

Was just thinking about this today. It's probably happened more than twice, but these are two I remember clearly:

The second time was fairly recently here at work. I got this next day air letter that had an unorthodox label, so I took care of it best I could and waited to go over it with my boss, Jim, the next day. Turned out we needed a new label, so as I was explaining that to Jim, he took a look at the letter and noticed it'd been taped on instead of attached via these plastic pouches we're supposed to use.

"Huh, and those boneheads taped it on," he said, in the mild but harmless disgruntlement he often shows for minor slip-ups like that.

"Uhh.. actually, I did that," I said. At which point he taught me the magical convenience of the carrier pouch.

First time was about a year and a half ago when I was in talking with a writing professor named Wetta about my second book. I'd been working with him since starting my first novel another year and a half before that, and we'd had an independent study of some sort for a couple semesters at that point, but we weren't exactly buddy-buddy or anything--he was a funny guy, a lot like me in a lot of ways, both in physical appearance (both about 5' 8", thin, both wore leather jackets and fedoras, a weird coincidence that was obvious from the first day of his fiction class) and in temperament in that we kind of kept to ourselves and had a general low-key disregard for most everything, be it university-related, politics, or much contemporary writing. In fact, our tastes in fiction were remarkably similar: he got me into Faulkner, was surprised to learn he wasn't the one who recommended John Fante to me when I brought him up one day (Fante being a fairly obscure early 20th century LA dude), and had an endless supply of bizarre but unfailingly hilarious eastern European authors I started reading obsessively.

Anyway, point is, me and Wetta were sort of close and had seen each other semi-weekly for approaching three years, but there was a distance about us both that prevented us from ever truly becoming friends, like the way I was with my advisor, Nettie, a 60-year-old writing prof who took me to my first American bar when I was still 20. We'd swear around each other, and occasionally talk shit about university practices and other such things in a way you don't with a prof you know purely professionally, but that didn't prevent a strange aloofness from popping up between us now and then.

Like the first time I was inadventently insulted.

We were sitting around talking politics--he was more right-wing than I liked, but we both held a lot of contempt for our own sides, so it was easy fo find common ground. I think we were talking about the Iraq war, and specifically the protestors of it, when the topic turned to Unitarians.

"Bunch of damn happy do-gooders," Wetta said, smiling with half his mouth, speaking in that light Virginia accent that always sounds so great when it's condemning people. "All out to save the world. Why don't they just shut up."

"I was raised Unitarian," I said, blank-faced. It was true, but I hadn't been religious since I was about 8 and I happened to agree with him; I just said it to mess with him a little, stir up some trouble for the hell of it.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" he said, leaning forward with a palm out, face all stretched out in surprise but already laughing. That's what kind of guy he was--he'd unknowingly insult your childhood and roots one moment, then laugh about it when he found out the next, even though he was sorry. Sitting around BSing with him was one of the things I miss most about college, even if he hasn't yet shown my novel to his agent, the old bastard.


At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and how does that make you feel? heh

At 1:52 AM, Blogger Ed said...

I actually think it's pretty funny, cause that always makes the insulter the jerk in said situation, but idiot customers kept coming in and I had to cut it short.

Jeez I hate how they keep indirectly paying my wages like that

HAHAH! So I forgot to fill in the comment verifier cause I've been drinking a bit, and this second time it's "hkenxhug"

Of COURSE I'll hug you Kenny!

At 9:10 PM, Blogger RhysDavid said...

It seems like I'm usually the one doing the inadvertant insulting. Like when I insulted a co-worker by announcing my belief in evolution (after she asked me);
and not understanding why certain people ignore science in favor of superstitious dogma.

I later discovered that she was a home-schooled hardcore-evangilast, and believed lots of crazy-shit.

I didn't feel guilty about it. Stupid chick. I wasn't about to feel bad for questioning her retarded beliefs.

At 2:42 AM, Blogger Ed said...

I've got lots of opinions, but my desire to spread the gospel to the general populace has burned down in the past few years, and so when I'm raving about politics or whatever these days I try to be more even-handed about it all.

Either that or intentionally dig at my opponents' views in an over-the-top way, the kind of thing Al Franken calls "kidding on the square": joking, yeah, but also meaning it.

At the same time, retarded beliefs are retarded beliefs, and screw those jerks if they believe in magical dinosaur-bone-depositing Gods and that all America needs to become a great place is a solid dose of good ol'-fashioned personal responsiblity.

It's more complex than that, douchebags.


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