I know it probably sounded like I’m going to be all serious and heavy-handed from now on, but not quite. Sometimes, sure – even often – but right now I’m sitting here looking at the Muslim Dude’s lawn across the street, and it’s looking really shaggy. So shaggy that I think something must be wrong with him – he’s kind of old and could be ill or injured. And neighbors are neighbors, right?
Here in Grovetucky, let’s just say there are plenty of white, not-very-tolerant NASCAR fans, and that I often have the urge to compensate for their general attitudes. Like when I see a black guy or a Latino guy, walking down the highway with a gas can, I pick that guy up, cause you can bet your ass no one else is going to.
The first time I met the Muslim Dude, he told me his name, but I’m afraid it was a really Muslim sounding name, and I lost it immediately. He told me several more times, but it was like my brain simply couldn’t hold on to it. Pretty soon, it seemed rude to keep asking, so I sure mean no disrespect by calling him the Muslim Dude. That’s just as accurate as I can do for you, that’s all.
He’s actually got a whole Muslim family over there. When I met him the first time, it was in the winter and I saw him out there shoveling eight inches of snow off his sidewalk, and I went over and said, “Hey, listen, how about I go ahead and shovel that for you?”
“Thank you, sir,” he said, putting his hands behind his back and smiling, which I soon learned was what he did when he had no idea what I was talking about. A pretty decent, all-purpose English phrase to know, I guess.
Anyway, he wouldn’t let me shovel his walk for some reason and instead he abruptly insisted I come in and have some tea. That took a couple of laps, too – figuring out what he was talking about – then finally I said, “Oh, TEA! Sure, I’ll have some tea.”
Thinking, I’ll bet this guy makes some awesome tea, and that turned out to be correct. Hot, minty tea brought out into his living room by a small squad of head dress-wearing women whom I had never seen and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to shake their hands or completely disregard them or what. They took care of that for me – served the tea and skedaddled.
Then the Muslim Dude’s grown sons came in – how big was this house, anyway? And why weren’t these grown men shoveling the old guy’s walk for him?
No idea, probably cause they get the tea either way. The guys all gave me their names and I forgot them, and pretty soon we were a room full of Muslim Dudes and a stereotypical American moron who couldn’t remember two syllables because they weren’t Bobby or Charlie or Andy.
They had a big picture of Mecca up on their wall, and they explained that Mecca has been there for something like nine million years, and the floor, according to one of the Muslim Dudes, is always cool to the touch, even if it’s a hundred degrees out.
They told me more, but once I heard about the floor I was already thinking, oh yeah, you know there’s an ancient alien ship buried under that thing. Cool floor – this isn’t a court of law, you know. That’s all I need. Case closed.
The guys all seemed a little defensive about their religion, and I don’t blame them. The rest of Grovetucky is basically drunken Christians, and for them it’s probably like being an Ohio State fan right in the middle of Ann Arbor. People flip you off just for walking down the street in your favorite shirt.
For example, my other neighbors are sort of Super Christians. Around Christmas, they put up a huge, gawdy, blinking signs that screams “JESUS IS LORD!” and they point it right at the Muslim Dude’s house, something which cracks me up every single year. How about one that says, “My Messiah can kick your Messiah’s ass?” or “Screw You, Muslim Dude?”
I’m thinking that’s probably what Jesus would do, establish his dominance clearly and firmly. Master Blaster rules Barter Town, you know?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking sides here. I think all religions are equally adorable. I like the one with American Jesus and the multiple wives? Those guys are a HOOT.
Anyway, I don’t go over there and hang out very much and I’ve only had the tea one time. But sometimes about a half dozen little Muslim kids spill out into the Muslim Dude’s lawn to play, and they are about as cute as a bunch of buttons. My youngest daughter goes over and plays with them sometimes – angling for a babysitting job, I imagine, but barking up the wrong tree since it appears the women rarely leave the house – and also we have a big red ball which makes them all cheer like crazy if you throw it over there, which is no problem. Here you go kids, have a ball.
Heh. Sigh. So like I’m saying, this is a nice Dude with a nice family, and something’s clearly wrong over there and none of his Christian neighbors are going to help him cause he’s on the wrong team. This looks like a job for me, as Slim Shady says, so let’s go on over and see if we can score some more of that mint tea..
And damn it, right when I put one foot out the door, a guy comes roaring around the corner of the Muslim Dude’s yard on one of those self-propelled lawn mowers that you stand up on. Not even really mowing the lawn, you know? Just riding around on a robot, looking smug, the tea-stealing son of a bitch.
I stand there glaring at him for a few laps, thinking, should I go over there and cave in his head with one of these bricks or what? You got yourself a Princess Mower there, Mister Helpy? Who does this fucking guy think he is mowing my Muslim Pal’s lawn – where’s he been all week? That’s MY random act of kindness, and this guy is Marsha Brady-style RUINING it. I hate him! He always ruins EVERYTHING!
Screw it – it’s the thought that counts. Go ahead and mow the Muslim Dude’s yard, you big jerk. I’m kinda tired anyway.