Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, January 5, 2018, 8:49 a.m.
At some point, this feeding frenzy has to run its course. As with all feeding frenzies, some good has been achieved. Tides of frenzy sweep along with them some rampaging tyranny.
To this very day, I am kind to women who wait on me at restaurants because, when I was a boy, my mother waited tables at the steakhouse our family once owned, and I watched her being tormented by patrons who were snide, belligerent, and drunk, most often all three. If I get poor service, I usually, unless I’m in one of those rare bad moods that afflict me, keep my silence and don’t go back.
I’m getting a bit more cranky as I grow older. About a month ago, for the first time in my life, I refused a prime-rib dinner because I ordered it medium-rare and, if it had been any more well-done, it would have come with barbecue sauce instead of horseradish. The manager came, I told her I wasn’t paying for it, got up and left, and had a seafood special, for which I was not in the mood, at the next exit.
I think I was particularly annoyed because my finances do not allow for many steak suppers, and I wanted it to be perfect. To me, well-done is not well done.
Thank God for small favors. Were I not poverty-stricken, I’d probably be eligible for sexual misconduct charges. I’ve noticed that one does not even have to have sex for there to be misconduct. A woman I know recently asked if she could touch the fluffy white hair on the beard I am now wearing for the first time in more than thirty years. I told her she could ruffle my beard any time, and, immediately, I wondered if anyone could detect any innuendo in that.
Since I work for myself and not very successfully, I think I’m in the clear. I’ve not yet seen this on the CNN “crawl”:
IMPOVERISHED SPORTSWRITER ACCUSED OF HIRSUTE MISCONDUCT
When I was seven years old, in the playground of Hampton Avenue School, I struck a little girl on the shoulder. My timing was imperfect as my father pulled up at precisely that moment. He tanned my hide in much the same fashion as the prime rib fifty-two years later, but I learned a lesson and didn’t do it again until I was in college and very drunk, and it was a reflex action, because a young woman slapped me and, before I thought about it, I slapped her back. I regret this incident deeply. I’m cringing right now, just thinking about it. As incredible as this may seem, I cringe about many episodes of my collegiate youth.
Two days ago, in a phone conversation, a friend remarked that I should run for Congress. I told him that no one who has read one of my novels would vote for me. Characters in my fiction have been known to use vile language, partake of illegal drugs, and, occasionally, even have … sex.
Commit murder? Not a problem.
If I had a lick of sense, I’d scrub the hard drive of this laptop because, on occasion, people have taken what were then known as “gag photos” with me in them. Many people don’t get such gags anymore.
“What did you mean by that?”
“I meant to be funny.”
Al Franken recently resigned from the United States Senate because – I’ve heard this term over and over – he was accused of “sexual misconduct.” The most damning evidence was a “gag photo” in which Senator Franken, before he was a senator, posed next to a woman who was apparently sleeping. In my opinion, based on carefully looking at the photo, he didn’t touch her. Somehow this was “sexual misconduct.” To me, it seemed more like poor judgment.
Surely this will run its course. Surely, before every male anyone has heard of has been told he “will never work in this business again,” regardless of the business, some reasonable boundary will be established. I’m all for reasonable boundaries. I’ve no desire to defend Harvey Weinstein. I feel sorry for Al Franken. My reasonable boundary is somewhere between those two.
Jesus preached the doctrine of forgiveness. If he espoused zero tolerance, I can’t find it in the New Testament.
As Mark Twain is alleged to have said, “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir … mighty scarce.”
I shouldn’t divulge this, but, on rare occasions, I have known women who were, and I write this with the full knowledge that someone will deem it sexist, flirts. Some of these women were capable of getting me to approve of almost anything they asked. Nothing scandalous, mind you. Nothing more untoward than agreeing to edit their copy, or give them advice, or provide a source, or pump their gas at the Gate station.
By “pump their gas,” I mean, literally, pump their gas. Into their car. Gasoline. At a pump.
That doesn’t make me a monster. Does it?
This may be a bad time to mention it, but in the off chance that you are amused by my writing, please consider a small pledge to the site where I derive some income from people who, astonishingly, enjoy what I do. Click here.
If I haven’t scared you off, please consider my considerable selection of books here.
Signed copies of three of my novels – Cowboys Come Home, Lightning in a Bottle, and Life Gets Complicated – are available in uptown Clinton at Emma Jane’s and L&L Office Supply.