Sunday, June 8, 2008
Don't let this entry's title fool you thirdsies (hey, if I don't keep this trend up, who will?), I am a very tolerant man. My father, however, is not.
OK, that's not really true. OK, it is but not when it comes to religion. He honestly doesn't care what faith you profess, but like most Black men born in the 1940's, he can smell racism at a million paces. In films, cartoons, cereal boxes -- the man is like a golden retriever for bigotry.
So when you see my father and want to start espousing your faith, don't be afraid -- he'll listen and only silently judge you.
But if your faith has even a whiff of racist doctrine be prepared for this Baltimore-born, West Philly raised Negro to hop directly in your face.
Case in point:
It was the year of our lord 19 and 87; Michael Jackson lost his third shade of melanin, Prince's masterpiece "Sign O the Times" was still a year away and I was in the seventh grade. It was summer, and despite the fact that we lived in Pennsylvania, I remember the day felt distinctly Houston-ish -- hot and humid enough to melt your face like a Nazi in "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Now, like most children, I grew up thinking my father was Superman. And like supes, my dad has his own kryptonite -- heat. Remember "Superman 3" with Richard Pryor where Superman encountered red kryptonite and turned into a badly-shaven asshole? Well, that's what heat does to my dad. Not that he becomes an asshole or badly shaven but he does get damned cranky. He starts cursing more (though that might be hard to notice) and complains of sweating. Keep in the mind, this is a man who turns the AC on in the car during WINTER. Nutshell: Dude does not like heat.
Next on my father's shit list is grass, specifically, tending to it. However, since we were one of three Black families in our neighborhood, so racial pride kept him mowing, edging and weeding our lawn.
And it was on this fateful day of heat and lawn care that two Mormon boys strolled up to my father with recruitment on their minds.
"Sir, have you heard about Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints?"
Now, I don't know exactly what they said because I was inside enjoying the air-conditioning and NOT doing the lawn, but one thing I can be sure of is that my father had indeed heard of them.
Having spent years in hotel rooms during company trips, he took it upon himself to read the Mormon bibles while staying in Marriots. Now, without reiterating everything ( see what Mormons believe right here), the Mormons believe that Black people have dark skin and kinky hair because they were cursed by the biblical Cain (the first brother-on-brother crime in history).
So you have to imagine -- heat + lawn + racism parading as religion = the perfect storm.
Sorry -- back to the story.
"Sir, have you heard about Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints?" -- I imagine them asking in unison.
"Get the fuck off my lawn!" -- That part I know is true.
"I said get the fuck off my lawn. Don't come to my house with that racist bullshit!"
"How the hell do you expect me to buy into a religion where I'm a second-class citizen? I can't even get into the same heaven as White people and you expect me to join your little cult?"
"You know why Brigham Young started that shit out in the midwest? It's because he couldn't hack it in New York? The only way he could get people to swallow his bullshit was to move to the middle of fucking nowhere."
"How would you feel if I came to YOUR house and asked you to join the Black Muslims? Do you know what they think of you? How about you do that? Does that make any fuckin' sense to you?"
And then my father punched them both in the face with a single punch.
OK, that part isn't true but it's a great way to end the story as I really have no idea what happened next.