Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Jew Take Me For?

I go to the bar with a friend, J. We meet up with his roommate, A, who’s with his brother and his brother’s friends. They’re all decked out in Capitols gear and give off a distinct douchebag vibe. By the time we leave they’ve had plenty to drink and are stamping and cussing and shouting down the road, at 12:30 AM on a wee Wednesday morning.

One of them, hereafter referred to as Dickweed, is walking alongside J, calling him a pussy and seemingly trying to goad him into a fight. He’s joking, of course, in the back-handed, alpha male undercurrent of dominance manner of joking endemic to jocks and fratboys, which, because I was part of a fraternity that kept its asshole quotient under control, irritates me endlessly. J keeps his cool, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to hit the bastard.

We go back to the apartment (I’m sleeping on the couch since the trains are done running for the night) and all crowd into the kitchen. And somewhere amid the idle chatter the Dickweed looks to me and asks apropos of nothing, with an audible near-sneer:

“Are you a Jew?”

“Why?” I ask.


“Why are you asking me if I’m a Jew?”

“I want to know.”

“What does it matter?”

And so on and back and forth. He really wants to know if I’m a Jew, and to my delight is convinced by my refusal to answer that I am a Jew. I’m of the mind that to insult one group is to insult to all of humanity, but arguing these matters is exhausting and usually fruitless, especially with a drunk. As it is I’m content to let him get behind the driver’s seat and steer the conversation off a cliff all by himself.

At one point he tries to test me with “Shabbot Shalom” or something of that nature, to which I merely smile knowingly. After several more “Shalom Shabbot”s I give him the curt, Jewcy reply of “Shalom, motherfucker.”

Ordinarily such impertinence might have provoked further aggression, but Dickweed is now convinced that I am one of the people of the book and really wants to be on superficially good terms with me and repeatedly asks me to dap (fist bump) him, shake hands, be cool. I refuse and he persists, even after his friends astutely observe, “Dude, he doesn’t like you. Just let it go.”

We step outside so some of the others can smoke, and he continues his attempts to win me over, with a defense as old as bigotry itself:

“Man, I don’t hate Jews. I’ve got lots of Jewish friends.”

“But we’re not talking about your Jewish friends. We’re talking about what you’re saying here and now.”

He doesn’t have any good response to this, and his friends are starting to take off. A’s brother wants a dap, and even though I don’t much care for any of the lot I oblige him; he hasn’t personally offended me, and I know it will further vex Dickweed, who continues to seek validation right up until I turn my back to him and walk back inside.

It’s a curious satisfaction one gets in watching such a bag of dogshit set itself aflame. Outside of the restraint necessary to keep from being too outwardly snarky, it’s almost too easy. When someone like that is so inebriated, he’s bound to trip not only on his feet, but his words too. But for the better part of two hours Dickweed had brayed and run riot, and he ended the night half-coherently asking to be cool with a near-stranger he didn’t even know he hadn’t actually insulted. Would that all such troglodytes were so easily dispatched.

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