The Last Bastion of Sanity

4 06 2008

I took a delivery out to a car dealership yesterday. This in itself isn’t that interesting, but the awful joke I heard, and its source, are at least a little bit compelling. First, the joke:

“Hell, I could sell suntan lotion to old niggers!”

Well, yes… Okay. The set-up to that won’t explain much, either, since it more or less came from a deep corner of left field. I was standing around waiting for the person with the money for the order, when a few of the salesmen decided to strike up a conversation with me.

“Well, he should be down any minute now. Say, how much does the cost’a gas affect you drivers?”

“It isn’t that bad, as long as your car gets decent mileage.”

“What you get in that ol’ Mustang–about 18?”

“About twenty-three in the city, I guess. A lot more on the highway.”

“Well, ol’ Mike should be down in here in a second…”

“And don’t worry about the tip–he’s got ya covered.”

“He might try to sell you a car, though.”

“Oh, I’m a pretty tough sell.”

A new voice from behind says, “Hell, I could sell suntan lotion to old niggers!”

The voice, the one from behind me, is pretty deep. Deep enough that you can imagine the man being about 6’5″ or so, and probably that kind of fat that country mothers call “stoutness”. It’s a smooth voice, not terribly stilted with some accent–local or otherwise. It’s a practiced voice, is what I mean. 

Anyway, I turned around and looked right into the face, almost eye level, with an Asian man who weighed about 130 pounds. Holy fucking cats, I thought. There’s no way I’ll be able to speak to this man in a rational way. I’d be laughing too hard, or freaking out at the plain fact of the image in front of me. The only thing more confusing than an Asian man with a voice like a big black stage actor would be a small dog with the voice of Lucille Ball.

I left after doing most of the talking. The hilarious/disturbing tableau stuck with me well into the night. I woke up this morning fully expecting Kelly to sound like that. I don’t know why that voice, along with that joke, just fucked me up for the rest of the day.

Okay. That’s my little story for the day.  

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