This tale (or “Bell Call”, as it is referred to in my world) is brief but I’m going to go as far as to claim it as my masterpiece.
Or it could be my lowest moment ever, depending on how politically correct you are.
Personally, as a child of the Seventies I refuse to be politically correct. Remember, in my day Redd Foxx threw the word “nigger” around like it was “sunshine”. And no one freaked out in the media. There were no boycotts or demonstrations. We just laughed until we felt like we were going to puke.
(But not the show.)
Comedy, like cocaine, is best when enjoyed pure and uncut. Okay, so I really don’t know much about cocaine, but I wanted to sound cool. Like Scarface.
But that didn’t work out, did it?
Let’s try again. Comedy, like sex, is best when enjoyed without all the frills, like outfits, toys or mayonnaise.
That was much better wasn’t it?
But that’s enough reminiscing, back to the here and now. I arrived at the room in question during the height of one of our busiest Sunday check-in rushes of the Fall season. I was rushed off my feet but my senses remained as sharp as ever. (My wife actually did a spit take when she read that line.) I walked into the middle of a heated debate between a black (or if you prefer, “African-American”) father and son about (appropriately enough), the topic of political correctness.
While I didn’t dive into the debate myself, I decided it’s very existence was proof that I could have some fun with these folks – if I was given the opportunity. Sure enough, I didn’t have to wait long. The father (we’ll call him Fred since I’ve already referenced Sanford and Son anyway), was experiencing some technical problems and looked to me for assistance.
He had no idea what he was about to unleash.
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: Hey, brother! I’m havin’ trouble with this TV! What’s the deal anyway?
ME: Well, sir… I’m afraid you can’t steal it. Unless of course, there’s a riot… in which case, feel free to help yourself to our white women as well.
TEENAGE LAMONT: Say what, Cracker Boy? (I swear, he was shaking as he said it.)
Fortunately for me, Middle-aged Fred jumped right in before his progeny could pull a Rodney King all over my cracker ass. Of course, he had to stop vibrating with laughter first.
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: Calm down, boy! He cool! You cool, Robert! You cool!
ME: I try, sir. Now, let’s see about that TV.
A little fiddling later (which is the extent of my technical expertise), I had the television up and running. The first station that came up was HGTV, a home and garden network.
TEENAGE LAMONT: (Looking at the HGTV logo on the screen.) HGTV? What the hell is that?
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: No idea, boy! Do you know, Robert?
Another error on his part.
ME: Oh, that stands for ” The Honkey’s Guide to TV“, sir.
TEENAGE LAMONT: (Staring at this father in disbelief.) Say what? (Again.)
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: Robert’s just having fun again, boy! Right, Robert?
ME: You got me, sir. I figured you’d be cool with my rather… shall we say “unique” sense of humor?
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: Oh yeah! I don’t mind people that like to have fun at work. I cool with that! My boy? Not so much! But that’s the younger generation for you!
TEENAGE LAMONT: I’m not that bad, Dad! I was just surprised at Robert’s –
ME: You can call me Cracker Boy… I don’t mind.
TEENAGE LAMONT: Okay, I was just surprised at Cracker Boy’s attitude that’s all! But you cool. You cool.
ME: Can you tell my wife that, guys? She’s never going to believe me.
BOTH: Oh, you on your own with that!
Just goes to show you, men of all races are cowards when it comes to facing down wives.
MIDDLE-AGED FRED: (Handing me a few American dollars.) Here you go, Robert. We appreciate ya!
ME: And I appreciate you not reporting me.
BOTH: (Laughing uproariously again.) Oh no, you cool! You cool!
Apparently, I am.
See you in the lobby, kids…