Going Right Around the Bend
Recently there was a news item than came up in my feed about a Puerto Rican t-shirt. Perhaps you heard about it, or maybe not. In case you didn’t know, Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory. The people who live there are natural born U.S. citizens. It has been considered for statehood on numerous occasions. They have their own flag like any other state or commonwealth, and it looks just about as patriotically American as 4th of July bunting.
With all that going for it, apparently some idiot thought that a woman wearing a t-shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it was somehow offensively un-American. The video footage was cringe inducing. It was so outrageous that I almost thought it had to be some kind of setup. I mean, no one could be that stupid, could they? But it turns out this really did happen. I’m still wondering what precipitated this altercation. Was this just some rando looking for brown people to harass? Who does that shit?
I was sitting in the break room at work across from “Steve” (obviously not his real name) when I first saw this article on my phone. Now don’t get me wrong: I like Steve, and we get along fairly well. Like most of the people where I work, Steve is a redneck, and boastfully proud of it. He’s pretty much a bad caricature of “Duck Dynasty”, and would probably happily agree with that assessment. Steve’s a nice guy, but…
Anyway, a regrettable human characteristic I possess is to make conversation with people. I mentioned the article I was reading to Steve. The video had just gone viral, and the “national discussion” hadn’t yet taken hold. I don’t know what kind of response I was expecting, but he immediately started muttering about those “damn liberals”.
I thought maybe he misunderstood the premise, so I said, “It’s not about liberals, it’s about a woman wearing a t-shirt with the Puerto Rican flag on it.”
This sent him careening on a rant about people not respecting the history of the Confederate flag, and, “If people did any research at all, they’d know that…” then he trailed into some incomprehensible mutterings about black people designing the confederate flag. I can’t make this shit up.
Of course at that point I glanced at the clock and said, “Looks like my break time’s over.”
So what’s my point? Apparently my whole life has become one long gas lit non sequitur. The world has gone mad, and I’m trapped inside this insane asylum with people who can no longer pass a Turing test. I might as well start drinking again and have conversations with my Magic 8-Ball.