OK. This is it. Yesterday fellow blogger Mason Bushell, and I discussed writing stories about throwing verbal bombs. If you are out there pardner come on out and meet me in the street… I’m calling’ ya out! Reach for that keyboard!
Who knew? she only warned me before we left for her uncle’s house. “Lou, uncle Charlie is an equal opportunity hater, but he’s my favorite relative, so please don’t say anything inflammatory.”
“Wait, you invited me to dinner with your aunt and uncle, but you failed to mention that I shouldn’t open my mouth except to ask for the peas to be passed? “Uncle Charlie and aunt Maud despise peas, so you won’t have to do that. Just don’t mention anything controversial, and you’ll be fine. – Oh, don’t mention that you’re an anthropologist uncle Charlie will think that you’re a CIA operative.”
“Uh, you do realize that I am more than just a tad unconventional, don’t you?” ” You just talk a good line to get the students stirred up; you’re a real sweety. Now don’t worry, Uncle Charlie’s approval is necessary to get my dad willing to accept you.” I ground my teeth and silently swore.
We arrived for dinner in separate cars, I had work that evening, but Diane wanted to stay and socialize after dinner. It took me about ten minutes to drive around their Brookline neighborhood to find a legal parking spot, and when I arrived at their apartment, uncle Charlie was in a rant about how the Holocaust had never happened. Diane shot me an apologetic look that also seemed to beg for my silence. I bit my tongue.
Dinner was an overcooked roast with undercooked vegetables. There was blessed silence after the Grace until aunt Maud served the cheesecake. That seemed to be the signal for uncle Charlie to start in again. I found that Charlie was a genuinely equal opportunity hater. He lit into the Republicans as often as he descended upon the Democrats. He blamed the CIA and FBI for the moral degradation of American society. His choice words for Evangelicals, Mainline churches, and religion, in general, had a sort of Old Testament arrogance that I found original, though.
Aunt Maude and Diane had limited their participation to simple nods or a rare hmmm. I looked at my watch; it was time to go. It was then that uncle Charlie fixed me with a gimlet glare and croaked out,” and what do you do for a living?” Standing to go, I looked at Charlie, and it seemed for a second that I was looking at a parrot, capable of a sort of speech but not of understanding. Diane, who knew me all too well, looked at me with a glare and a bit of a plea. I smiled back broadly. As I opened the door I looked at Charlie and said: ” Oh, I work for a little federal agency, you might have heard of it – the CIA? I’m sure my boss will be interested in your opinions. Be seeing you soon.”
With that, I was out the door and off to work. The blow-up with Diane never happened. She told me that aunt Maud laughed so hard they almost had to take her to the Emergency room. That Christmas, Maud sent me a lovely knitted sweater with the letters CIA embroidered over the heart.