[Scene: Waiting area situated between two restaurants in Gatlinburg, TN (a tourist hellscape that is a necessary evil whilst visiting the Great Smoky Mountains). My wife went to the bathroom and I’m alone. A guy sitting across from me notices my hoodie.]
Guy: What’s that shirt you’re wearing?
Me: It’s a band called Choking Victim.
Guy: What kind of music is that?
Me: Kind of like a punk band.
Guy: I don’t like stuff like that with the [makes a weird muffled scream-like sound]
Guy: [Pauses long enough that I think the conversation is over] So you’re a satanist
Me: What? No
Guy: Your shirt says otherwise
[To be fair, the shirt contains a pentagram and upside down cross]
Me: Ah. If you look at the rest of the shirt you can see it says “no gods no managers”
Guy: [Pauses again, but I’m fairly certain he’s thinking of something to say] Satan’s not a god
Me: [not wanting to get into the nuances of Christian theology as it relates to atheism] Well, fine – anything biblical I don’t really believe in
Guy: [walks towards one of the restaurants; then he walks back to the waiting area and continues toward the other restaurant] So I guess Trump ain’t your president
Me: I mean, he is the president
Guy: [doesn’t respond; continues walking]
My wife liked my response but I thought of a few alternates to his devastating parting shot which heinously accused me of not liking America’s special big boy president:
#1: Actually, Malcolm Brogdon is the only president I recognize
#2: I don’t really get the question, if it was even a question rather than a statement. Using the word “my” has the connotation that he belongs to me or that I have some kind of claim on him. It’s kind of silly. So he’s not “my” president, same as Obama wasn’t “my” president. But I hope we can both agree that he’s a real pile of shit.
#3: You know, I’d like to say no but Trump is the perfect encapsulation of all that is revolting in American society congealed into one grotesque person. Just an utterly vile amalgamation of greed, sexism, racism, xenophobia, cruelty, hypersensitivity, unearned arrogance, short-sightedness, and an almost pathological amount of ignorance injected into a screaming, hate-filled, creamsicle-colored blob. Perhaps worst of all is his childlike understanding of science in a moment where it might be a good idea for the scientifically literate to take the wheel (did you hear about this utter clown talking about wind farms causing cancer?). And a bunch of people listened to the things he said, and read the things he attempted to write and, rather than thinking this person is deeply, deeply puerile, they thought “yes, he should be one of the most powerful people in the world – one who should definitely have control over nuclear weapons.” And whether I like it or not, I’m complicit, as most of us in America are to varying degrees; we participate and benefit by virtue of residing in the world’s most powerful nation-state that is hopelessly unwilling and unable to meaningfully confront its foundational mythologies and deep structural problems which continue to immiserate large portions of its own populace (not to mention the peoples it exploits and kills throughout the globe); all of this while situated as the Leviathanic head of an unholy beast driving all living beings toward ecological disaster. Let’s be real – our society’s vast problems both transcend and predate this oafish goon’s ascent. Anyways, I guess from that perspective he is very much my president as he is surely yours. But I hope we can both agree that he’s a real pile of shit.
Pretty sure if I said any of that it wouldn’t have ended well for me.