Like a mischievous child with poor impulse control, my father just can't help it. When things are too quiet and too civil for too long, he has to poke someone in the ribs or otherwise pick a fight. Fortunately, he prefers a verbal brawl to a physical one, preferentially in the form of e-mail. Although he knows I don't welcome (and, in fact, disdain) his habit of forwarding crude right-wing messages, every so often he “forgets” and accidentally includes me among the forwardees. I am not amused.
In his most recent display of execrable taste, he sent out the following:
I managed to read the entire thing without bursting into good-natured laughter. Imagine that. I guess I can't take a light-hearted joke, can I? Dad knows that I will not keep silent in the face of such noxious trash and can be relied upon to use “Reply All” in response. Not wanting to disappoint him (even while understanding that I was feeding the troll), I fired this off:My Dogs
This morning I went to sign my dogs up for welfare.
At first the lady said,
"Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare."
So I explained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddy's are.
They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care.
So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify.
My dogs get their first checks Friday.
Damn, this is a great country.
Yes, it’s a great country, and perhaps in Obama’s second term it’ll become a still greater country in which overtly racist humor is even more disdained than it is today.Despite years of combat, I am still unable to predict which bright and shiny thing in my ripostes will attract Dad's attention. Would he blow up at the thought of a second Obama term, a notion that haunts his nightmares? Would he take umbrage at the charge of racism? He chose the latter, and replied with wounded innocence:
sorry but I DID NOT SEE ANY THING RACIST ABOUT THE DOGS!!!Tsk tsk. Not the dogs, old man. You.
Antics like these unpleasantly remind me of early harbingers in the days when my father was not so overtly a right-wing nutter. Even back then he couldn't always keep it tamped down. I recall some forty-plus years ago when I was sitting at the kitchen table, painstakingly filling out a college application. In those days many schools required that you attach a wallet-size photo to the finished packet. Dad peeked over my shoulder as I carefully glued the photo in the indicated spot.
“What's that for?” he asked. “Do they want to make sure you're not a nigger?”
Several seconds went by as the rubber cement set and I silently rubbed off the excess from the margins of the photo.
“Hey,” said Dad. “I asked you a question. Didn't you hear me?”
“Yes, I heard you,” I replied with a brittle voice. “I was ignoring you.” (In my brain's playback mechanism I can hear myself archly saying, “I was doing you the courtesy of ignoring you,” but I'm pretty certain that's the fictionalized version that came to me later via l'esprit de l'escalier. Maybe I'll save it for a book.)
But he presumes. Damn, but he presumes.