Hope you enjoy this….
Ain’t Nothin’ But a Tan
I was in the emergency ward the other day
I had cut my arm on a picture frame the broke
I went to the local emergency room for stitches
As I was sitting there a senior white fellow came in
He sat next to me, bleeding from a cut hand
He smiled and said, “Same problem?”
I said “It happens that way sometimes.”
He said, I see you here, you live in the neighborhood?”
“Yes, I said. “Dawson Street, glass picture frame fell.”
“What??” he replied, “I’m on Intervale, twenty six years!!”
“I’ve never seen you.” he said, “Amazing, I’m around the corner.
“Cut my hand, see?”
I looked at the deep cut and I could see the whiteness, just under his skin
He then looked at my cut, as I did his, and he saw the same whiteness in the dermis.
I saw his eyes widen, and then he looked at me and said “Amazing!!”
“You in the service?” he asked.
“Me, I was in the Army, Seventh Infantry, in Korea…
““I was in the Marines, Inchon invasion…..Sergeant….I answered
How old are you, you look pretty good?” he questioned
“I grew up here, raised a nice family.”
“Me too, went P.S. 56, you know, on 165th….”
I went to City College… GI Bill….he offered
“Me too, got out in ’65….” I replied
“Took me a while, graduated in ’72”… he said, “joined the Fire Department late…”
“What? Hey, I was a Looie in the Fire Department by then! Worked the Bronx till retirement!”
“Me, Queens and Brooklyn, 37 years, whatta life….” was his response.
“Retired a coupla years ago, been in the same house since I was a kid!” he said
“Bought my house for my Mom, moved in when she passed, thirteen years now…..
been there ever since” I told him.
“Wow! We kinda the same, just some details different!” he replied
I replied, “Ain’t nothin’ but a tan!!”
He said “You’re right; it ain’t nothin’ but a tan!” He slapped his knee with his good hand.
He asked, “You into politics?”
My response was “Hell, yeah!!”
“I guess, you a Democrat??”
“Yeah, and I know you’re a republican!!”
“You’re pale as a sheet, scared of the sun, can’t jump!
“You gotta be a republican!”
“I just don’t like “your” Obama.”, he commented.
“Why is he “my” Obama; because I’m black or I’m a Democrat?” I shot back!!
He was ELECTED by the voters…twice…” I continued.
“Look what he’s doing with the Constitution…” he retorted!
I cut him off, “What exactly is he doing with our Constitution?”
“He don’t want gun rights!” he protested.
“Do you own a gun?” I asked.
“No.” was his answer.
“Then what does gun rights have to do with you?” I asked.
“Well he don’t want the pipeline!” he said defensively.
“Do you have gas in your house, get electricity like me?
“Can you fill up your gas tank?” I shot back.
“Yeah!” was his admitted response.
“So what’s the pipeline got to do with you?” I pressed.
“Well… He wants all those immigrants to be citizens!” he answered looking for some spearhead.
“Do they live here, work here… like, do your lawn, stack your grocery shelves,
carry away your trash, watch your grandkids AND pay taxes?” I jabbed!
Well, I dunno about taxes…” he said.
“Does Romney and GE and Boeing, Verizon or Bank of America pay taxes?,” I dug further.
“Romney paid…” was his weak retort!
”Yeah, after he fudged his tax return!!” I goaded!
“By the way, “my” Obama, made sure you got your Social Security check this month,
We’ve had fifty three months of job growth; he stopped the recession, made sure eight million
people got health insurance, made sure your house did not go into foreclosure, brought the troops home by himself, kept us out of another war, got Osama, with no republican help…..”, I pressed.
I saw his face redden and I smiled inside at my success.
“Well the, the, the IRS, and the, the, the VA and Benghazi…” he stuttered weakly.
“Fifty investigations, on all of them, no findings of wrongdoing, meanwhile, your republicans wasted millions of our tax dollars, no laws passed, they shut down the government, fired cops and firemen, won’t fix roads and bridges….”, I responded rapidly.
“Mr. Gordon?” the nurse called me.
“Hey, I gotta go get this taken care of!”
“See you around…. we live around the corner, same neighborhood, probably paid the same taxes, went to school here, raised our kids…. We’re not that different…. Except….you need to spend more time at the beach!!! It ain’t nothing but a tan!!!!” I said.
He had this funny look on his face as I got up.
As I walked away, I could hear him mutter, “Ain’t nothin’ but a tan……..”
When I came out of “Emergency” I did not see him….and didn’t after that day;
and I looked; as I walked the neighborhood, even on Intervale……
“Ain’t nothing but a tan!”
August 25, 2014