Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oy Vey! Verklempt Again Because of the Rambling of a Shmuck

You know, every person in New York knows 20-30-40 Yiddish words. Oy Vey--Oh, my...; Smaltz: chicken fat you save and then spread on bread. Shmata: Rags. Verklempt (Faklempt, farklempt) left speechless; meshugganer: crazy person; Shmuck: Idiot.
We sprinkle them into our daily routine, even us Irish Catholics. As do the African Americans, the Puerto Ricans and the Baptists. It gives us another level of expression. Just as we all know 20 words of French and Spanish and Greek. It's what lends New York speech such color.
Here in Texas, I've found some people who understand colorful speech. Who understand that there are better words at hand sometimes than what the English language offers, words that most people understand even if they can't define them.
Today, I was verklempt over the loudmouthed ear-bully shmuck at the next table. I was interviewing a woman who'd just had her house repossessed, less than $10 grand from finishing payments, and she was lost. I was interviewing her with a person from LULAC, the Latin American Citizens group out here that is trying to keep the playing field level for Latin Americn citizens who so often get the short straw.
Our conversation was primarily in Spanish, because that's what the woman was most comfortable with. She's been here 20 years, speaks English haltingly, but not well enough to express emotions. And when you're asking someone about having lost their home, it's 10% fact; 90% emotion. So Spanish it was.
We were in a little place called the Waffle House. It's a breakfast joint like a Denny's, where you can get pancakes and waffles all day, or fried chicken or chicken fried steak--which, after 8 years here in Texas I can't quite describe. Essentially a very cheap cut of steak, pounded by a meat hammer into submission, coated in 1/2 inch of batter, fried, then covered in sausage-seasoned white cream gravy. It's not a bad dish, other than that it will give you a heart attact at age 12 if you eat it often--it's just a strange one as the meat is the meaningless part of things.
Anyway.....I'm there and at the next booth there's this 6' 6" 400 pound white guy with the baby-est soft hands I've seen on a human since my granddaughters, He's about 55 and he had a walking cane like they give away at the public hospital.
And he talked. And talked. At first to someone sitting with him. Then shouted to the waiters and waitresses until they came to his booth, one by one, to get talked at. He was talking about Obamacare. And Obama. And more Obama. And talking about people who spoke Spanish who ought to go back to where they came from---what? I should go back to Whitestone? Fine, but my brother bought my mom's house and I can't live there anymore--and talked about illegal workers and talked about socialism, and talked about how Texas will secede so "us Texans don't have to worry about the federal government because it's illegal and we won't even be part of that mess in another year. We're out. We don't need no socialist Muslim telling us how to live...."
And he spoke loudly enough that I couldn't quite ignore him. He made a point of it.
And I wanted to say: If you gave half the food you eat to poor people there wouldn't be any poor people, you freaking pig!
And then he ordered 3 orders of the Grand Slam: Each order has 3 eggs, two pieces of bacon, two slices of ham, two sausages, home fries, toast, a short stack of pancakes and a waffle. THREE OF THEM! That's 9 eggs, 6 bacon, six sausage, six ham, 9 pancakes, 3 waffles, 3 orders of home fries and 6 pieces of toast.
And he told the waiter and waitresses that Obama would be taking their salary in new taxes this year, despite the biggest cuts for the middle class we've gotten in some time. And he told them about the debt they'd have to pay for Obama's spending and how the new insurance laws--though they won't apply in Texas and will be proven illegal--will prevent them from ever seeing a doctor because only illegal aliens will get to see doctors. And he told them that all the Mexicans were eating into Social Security so that they wouldn't have any, despite it being illegal Mexicans with copied Social Security cards who are paying into the system but will never collect, who are the only class of people propping up a system that's been ravaged by several former administrations.
I finally told my company I had to leave, abruptly.
"Why?" asked Lee, the spokesman for Lulac.
"Because I'm so fucking verklempt I might just have to knock that fat fuck on his ass."
I shook hands and left, shaking.
I do not mind living in an America where there are diverse opinions. I don't mind you not agreeing with me. And I hope you don't mind the same.
But listening to that fat fuck, whom I will bet my last buck is on the public dole (the cane being the only evidence I have, at least for medicare or medicaid, listening to that man I wanted to shout: You didn't mind that when Bush took over we had nearly $3 trillion in the federal coffers and when he left we were Trillions in the hole? You didn't mind the bailout of the banks but don't want citizens to get to see a doctor? You didn't mind the attempt to privatize social security into the hands of bankers who sent us into this recession? You didn't mind being lied to about Iraq--knowingly lied to--but object to middle class tax cuts?
I don't know why he got under my skin that way. But he did. And he still is there and in a minute I am going to bless myself with Agua Florida and Comalonga medicine to clean that up and get rid of it.
On the way home I thought of telling him, and wished I had, that I "wish I had a huge balloon."
He would have taken the bait, I'm sure, if given the attention.
And I would have said something like: "Because the hot air coming off the shit you're spewing would be enough to even lift your fat fuck body out of that booth and send you sailing up and up the more you talked. And when you stopped talking the balloon would fall and you would wind up fertilizer for a whole field somewhere."
But I didn't say that. Because I was verklempt.
And that was a mitzfah, because peace is always better than war.

4 comments:

Sean said...

Well done! And the only real solution. I'm sure the latter would have felt better, but as you already knew, what does it accomplish? And what would it change? There are the ignorant and then there are the willfully ignorant. In situations like that, I always try to remember what Mark Twain said: "Never argue with a fool. The onlookers might not be able to tell the difference." But man, it's so tempting...

23 said...

What a sad man. He's starving for a human connection while, at the same time, creating a 3 plate 400 pound buffer zone and hurling out the rhetoric he hears on the AM stations.
This is clearly a sign of one who has not known the richness of self reflection and lived with an open heart. I appreciate my life more after reading your story. Thanks Peter!

travel said...

He sounds like a fine specimen for rural-ish North Texas, a fine specimen indeed.

You should have agreed with him about what a piece of shit the country is turning into...and then called him a series of bad words, assaulted him with the cane he was using (that you paid for) and then suggested he take advantage of his 2nd amendment right (before the gubmint steals his guns) and perhaps kill himself, because lord knows the gubmint won't pay for his pain, diabetes, depression, cholesterol and erectile disfunction medication for much longer.

Rule #1 about living in the South--avoid Waffle House.

Mark said...

I like what travel said.