Monday, May 22, 2006

Good ol' Jake

Back home, I used to have this neighbor named Jake, who was a 72-year-old American WWII vet. He was a good guy, but being of a different generation, he wasn't always so politically correct. One time we were having a beer in the only bar in the little hamlet of Rockport, which was on the ground floor of a bed-and-breakfast run by two gentlemen who'd lately relocated there from Toronto. Jake was regaling me with stories about how he and his buddies from the navy used to go ashore on leave and go gay-bashing.

"Hey, remember that rainbow flag hanging over the door?" I asked. "Did you know what it means?"

The colour drained out of Jake's face as I told him, and he looked around nervously. But did he stop going there? Hell, no. It was the only bar in Rockport after all. And he seemed to get used to things. After that, I'd hear him tell stories that started "Me and George went down to the gay bar again last night," without so much as blinking an eye.

But man, he still didn't get any more politically correct. I spent a summer helping him renovate his house. We tore that sucker down and built it back up again. One blazing hot day, we were doing some really menial job. He stopped, wiped his brow, and said, "Boy, this is nigger work."

Then he paused to reconsider, and said, "This is worse than nigger work. This is nigger-Chinese work."


Blogger Chance said...

You have to defer to his inventive use of language.

5/22/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

I'll grant that it's a much shorter way of saying the work was as difficult as building a railroad with a bale of cotton strapped to one's back.

5/23/2006 01:25:00 AM  

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