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Homophobic pit bull at Kinko's
by Michael Giardina



I've got a secret. I'll reveal it, but promise not to tell my family. I'd be ashamed if they knew I broke one of Davis' cherished laws and was nearly tossed into prison.

At the local FedEx Kinko's, I regretfully broke Davis Municipal Code 26.01.010. Thank God those paper pushers take pity on poor, destitute writers with cute, puppy-dog eyes.

Not familiar with Davis Municipal Code 26.01.010? It reads: "No person shall in any public place be guilty of conduct annoying to persons passing or being upon the streets or public grounds or upon adjacent premises."

Yes, it's against the law to be annoying in Davis. Forgive me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Frustrated with their quirky copy machines, I attempt to ignore the routine click and obnoxious buzz as the copy beast spits out 500 copies of my latest sonnet.

Suddenly, I spot all 400 pounds of her eyeing me with a piercing, angry squint. Her facial expression can be summarized as fecal matter meets nose.

"Is there a problem?" I ask.

"IS THERE A PROBLEM?" she whines, like an indignant 4-year-old.

At a loss for words, I take a step back.

"Maybe I don't like people hovering over me while I'm working," she says.

"I'm using this copier," I tell her, hopping up to sit on the machine. "You're perfectly welcome to use that one."

"Maybe you should learn to talk like a man," she says bitterly, "instead of like some pathetic fag."

A young man wearing a pink shirt turns around, surprised.

"You don't like homosexuals?" I say, louder than necessary. Customers turn to look.

"Homosexuals are sodomites," she yells, "Of course I hate fags."

I bite my tongue. I might be able to embarrass her, but she seems to be doing a fine job of it already.

"You're a sad human being," I whisper. Then, with the stance of a fat pit bull in heat, she yells at nearby employees, "I can't work next to this fag."

The Fedex Kinko's employee turns around, confused.

"Next to this what?" the employee asks with genuine curiosity. The homophobic pit bull storms out.

How could anyone be so frightened by my cute charisma?

That day I learned an important lesson: Every person's interpretation of the moment is mere interpretation. There is no objective observer.

We expect people to act rationally, but there's no way to understand everyone's underlying motivations. I did nothing wrong, yet that woman's hatred for others is clearly a reflection her own fear of inadequacy. Unable to understand another's motivations, she finds comfort accusing heterosexual male strangers of failing to live up to her deluded expectations of manliness.

This woman undoubtedly grew up fearing others. Many of us fear others, and I believe this unnatural fear is highly correlated to the "don't talk to strangers" moral-panic crusade that we force on our children.

Instead, let's teach our children to be observant and good judges of character. Then, perhaps people will feel comfortable saying hello to a bored stranger instead of fabricating a story to command superiority.

What's the moral here? Don't be like Bertha. Address your shallow biases and self-loathing with a little meditation. There's always that chance you'll meet the creepy guy who likes to toss bunnies into wood grinders for visceral amusement, but take the chance.

Crawl into your sad, crustacean cave and dwell on the dangers of the world if you must, but I recommend meeting some unique new people. I recommend Kinko's.



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