Going Postal

28 08 2008

On a recent August afternoon , I went to the downtown branch of the Trenton Post Office to mail a package. It was the mild, pleasant afternoon of a quiet day. I confidently expected an uneventful mission. I’ve been to this post office more times than I can count and never has there been a moment of discord or an inkling of difficulty – other, of course, than the glacial pace at wich the line moves. It was therefore, a few moments before I realized the elderly man in front of me was talking to a lady in front of him about…me! Well, not me precisely but about “those ho-mo-sexyulls” in general. He didn’t look like a redneck. He was a fit, man of about 65 or 70, nicely dressed in what appeared to be tennis clothes. As I stood in increasing anger, he proceeded to explain that God was going to destroy the United States becuase of the rapidly increasing tolerance of evil – “ho-mo-sexyulls! Now they let ’em adopt kids! That’s just wrong, lettin’ kids grow up with perverts. I’ve studied the word of God and it says that’s wrong! Don’t really matter who wins the election ’cause God’s going to destroy this country just like he’s destroyed every civilization that tolterated ho-mo-sexyulls!”

The lady he was burdening with all this unrequested analysis had adopted a far-away look and periodically nodded, repeating “oh, I know,” as a mantra. Clearly what she knew was that she was dealing with a nut-case fundie and argument was futile. In this regard her self control is more advanced than mine. After about five minutes of this discourse, I broke in with “excuse me sir, but you are wrong. No civilization in all of history ever fell because of gay liberation. It simply never happened.”  The old man wheeled on me and loudly informed me God told him differently. “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” Yes he really did trot out that old chestnut. I relied that was a myth. He replied it was in the Bible and back and forth we went, getting louder and louder. He informed me we would ruin any kids we adopted. I asked him how many kids he had adopted. He said he’d had his the normal way. I asked “where are they now?” He replied “doin’ real good. The kid’s down to Yardville (Youth Correctional Center) getting his GED.” I said, “so, let me get this straight now – your kid is in jail, getting a GED and my adopted son is in an Ivy League grad school, getting an M.A., another is conquering the fashon world, another is talking to Harper Collins about a book deal and another is on the Dean’s List …but it’s YOU that are providing the good home and ME that’s going to destroy kids. I see.” (turning to the rest of the long line behind us) Does that make sense to you people? I mean, are you with us here? Are you following this chain of impeccable logic this gentleman is blessing us with?” (The crowd mutters – this could turn ugly!)

“I love ya,” the old man countered with. “I hate what you do but I love you.” “Oh Puh-lease,” I reply. “Spare me the condescension.”  Two people behind us were now getting involved. One man was muttering “it aint right. It just aint right.” The woman next to him lit into him with “what do you know about raising kids anyway. You only see yours at Christmas!”  He countered with “maybe, but they know I’m there if they need me.” The woman snorted. “Yeah, they need you and you’re there, waaay over there in left field somewhere useless.”

At this point the clerk behind the counter, a man of substantial presence, slammed a book hard on the counter and firmly said “all of you folks that want to debate,  please step OUTside and let the people that want to get stamps do business, NOW!” That reduced us all to muttering and evil looks. Don’t ask me why I got involved in the useless effort of arguing with the old man. I knew before I began it was an absolute waste of effort, except for one thing – it would have been worse to not challenge him – to cede the ground, any ground, without a fight. At least he learned that you never know who is listening and when stupidity and bigotry will be confronted with unexpected anger. Maybe he’ll watch his mouth next time.




2 responses

28 08 2008
Darren S.

Brilliant as always!

Ya know, Toby. If i didn’t know better, you might want to consider finding some time – hell, we all know that you’ll need to make time – to set down your stories in print. My dear, you have a gift. And, lord only knows you need to keep doing the whole OIJ thing. But you know…the stories you tell…need to be shared with an even wider audience! Think along the lines of a gay Garrison Keillor. yes?

28 08 2008
taylor Siluwe

Wonderful!!! I love it!!! Never let an old fundie homophobe slide.

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