One Method of Handling a Bigot
I made a mess in Abe’s Deli recently. I had a lunch meeting with someone we’ll call “Ervin.” I’d already had a long, not good day: a 45-minute hold with Verizon billing with no good result, followed by a Mazda nearly backing into me at the Ralph’s parking lot (and the guy is swearing at ME!) followed by our Wi-Fi going down.
So by the time of my meeting with Ervin, I was in no mood for bozos. Ervin is one of those unfunny obnoxious people who believes he is nature’s gift to the populace. He knows I’m a Scientologist, and I know that he knows, but, being a certified boor, details like tolerance and simple courtesy elude him, so when he made a couple of snortful cracks about my religion, I refrained from my usual deep meaningful discussion concerning Scientology’s belief in man’s basic goodness, and why that’s a good thing, after all, and went straight into action.
It’s OK to be honestly irked. It’s OK to have a zero-tolerance policy for bigots and bozos.
I poured my water into his coffee. Slowly, casually. Ervin didn’t notice at first, so wrapped up was he in his own cleverness. So I continued pouring water into his cup as he continued spewing. At length he felt the liquid trickling from the table and dribbling onto his lap.
“Hey!” he said.
“Yes?” I answered, continuing to pour water into his coffee cup.
“You’re pouring water into my coffee!”
“Yes, I am,” I answered, now taking his water glass (mine now being empty) and continuing to pour.
“You’re being moronic and that irks me. So apologize, or I keep pouring.”
“OK, I apologize! Now stop!”
I felt satisfied, sanctified, cleansed. I had handled a budding bigot, not with words but with actions. I loved it. I’d communicated that he had outstepped the boundaries more effectively than had I explained things to him or shown him a pie chart.
What did I learn from this? It’s OK to be honestly irked. It’s OK to have a zero-tolerance policy for bigots and bozos. And you don’t need eloquence if you have impingement.
What did he learn?
Well, if you can’t say something nice, make sure you don’t have a full cup of coffee in front of you.