Remember when your total rang up as $18.36 and you said, “MAN, THAT WAS A GOOD YEAR”? I’m sure you do. You were really loud (maybe to hear yourself?). I asked, “Were you there?” And you laughed because you are old and white but not that old (you’re definitely that white). You asked, “Do you know what happened that year?” I said, “I think that was around the time our president prompted a war for no reason other than acquiring land from natives” (I’d been reading a lot of Howard Zinn). You shook your head at me and said, “No, it was the year of Texas independence.” When I didn’t respond and tried to hand you your change, you said, “I don’t know if all stupid people are liberals but I do know that all liberals are pretty stupid. Beware of revisionist history. There’s your tip.” Thanks for that. In your fluster, you accidentally left me another tip: sixty-four cents. Thanks for that, too.
What about that time when I was picking up the paper towel holders and noticed that children had emptied salt and squirted barbecue sauce into the middles of every single roll of paper towels in the back room? I exclaimed, to no one, “I will never have children! Fuck children!” You came out of nowhere and told me, “You’ll change your mind.” Then you explained the wonders of motherhood to me. Thanks for that. Sometimes, men don’t tell me how I feel or how I will feel often enough. I especially liked how you disappeared into the night soon after your sage advice.
Oh man, remember the day when you asked if I had a boyfriend? I told you that I’m not interested in dating right now. I’m busy with school and my friends. You said, “You’ll get lonely. You just haven’t found the right man yet.” I kind of wanted to see the look on your face if I’d told you that I am gay. But, you were a little scary, really religious, and you were my boss. You once asked if you could burn my Angela Y. Davis book that you saw in my bag. I had to ask you to stop putting your whole hand on my shoulder and leaving it there. Once I heard you make a homophobic joke to the dishwasher. And it’s still legal to fire people in Texas for being gay. So I didn’t tell you I’m gay and don’t need to find the right man, fuck you very much. I just smiled and said, “Maybe I will.” Then I spit in your Diet Dr. Pepper when you weren’t looking. I was sad when you forgot where it was and didn’t take another sip all shift. But I was happy later when I thought maybe you’d found it after I went home. I really enjoyed imagining you taking a big gulp of my lesbian spit soda. So, thanks for that.
Also, that night your wife was trying to pay for your meal — do you remember that? When she handed me her debit card, you slapped it out of my hand. You said, “Why would you let my pregnant wife pay for our food?” I thought it was a joke so I laughed. But then, later, while I was bussing tables and dumping bones and hunks of fat into the trashcans, I saw you reading the Bible out loud to your wife as she stared at the ceiling fans. You were really into it and I’d just watched four episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. You reminded me that I should donate to my friend Chris who’s running for Congress. Thanks, buddy.
You really do have a lot to offer me, old white men. Maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe I shouldn’t group you into one disgusting trash person blob that winks at me while I mop and gives me unsolicited advice while I count change and comments on how I’ll never get a real job with all of my tattoos while I wash my hands. I don’t know how I’d get along without you.
PS. I wasn’t wrong about you. I’m being facetious.