Jim is on vacation in the Florida Panhandle, he’s surrounded by people who speak a bizarre and incomprehensible dialect, Southern Ultra Conservative. It’s OK, mostly he just pretends to be deaf, dumb, blind, and angry – so he fits right in…
I spent yesterday afternoon on the beach.
I got sunburned – I was already sunburned a bit, and I was slathered in sunblock, but seriously the Florida sun is a killer. It actually sunburned the top of my head, this morning my hair hurts.
I got bruised ribs from the surf – the waves were running four to six feet and they were knocking the crap out of me.
I got ridiculed - the kids thought that watching Uncle Jim repeatedly falling off his surf board and being pounded into the bottom and dragged across the coarse sand was hysterically funny.
Still, I had a good time and despite the sun and sand and the giggling derision of small and terribly cute girls (nieces who will be getting something “educational” for Christmas) the afternoon was orders of magnitude better than the morning – which I spent with other relatives.
The other relatives being the Ultra Southern Christian Conservative relatives.
I learned something.
I learned that that otherwise perfectly normal people can harbor the most bizarre of delusions and cling to those delusions despite all evidence to the contrary, despite common sense, despite reason, despite logic.
(Just so you understand the situation, on the back of the couch was blanket carefully folded to show the presidential seal and the words “A gift from the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.”)
Relative: So, what do you think of this, uh, guy, in the White House?
Me: I think he’s doing a pretty decent job so far, and I…
Relative [Aghast, Appalled, Outraged]: He’s not even an American citizen!
Relative: He’s still hasn’t produced a valid birth certificate!
Me: Oh for crying out loud…
Relative: He can only produce a copy. A copy! Not the original!
Me: Wrong. The State of Hawaii has long since settled this issue…
Relative: It’s just a copy, not a real birth certificate! We need the original for examination!
Me: Who is we? Who, exactly, should be doing the examination? Because the State of Hawaii…
Relative: Those things are faked all of the time!
Me: You have proof of this, right? The State of Hawaii is conspiring to fake birth certificates so that foreign nationals can take over the government?
Other Relative: Our pastor said so, and he doesn’t lie.
Me: Ummm, ooookay. Just for the sake of conversation, what exactly do you think is wrong with the President? Other than he’s not an American, I mean?
Other Relative: Uh, SOCIALISM, duh!
Me: Oh for crying out … what exactly do you mean by that?
Other Relative [first relative is now pissed and won’t speak to me]: He bailed out the auto industry!
Me: So George Bush was a socialist too then?
OR: What? George Bush was a good Christian! (There no good Christian socialists, apparently).
Me: Well, Bush bailed out Wall Street…
OR: [in a change of logic simply breathtaking in scope] Obama is just using President Bush’s ideas and taking credit for them!
Me: Say, hot enough for ya?
I also learned that Canadians are bad, because they don’t sufficiently appreciate the awesomeness that is America. And that Sarah Palin is just the bestest thing ever (I, of course, being an Alaskan, don’t actually know anything about her. She’s just the best and they so hope she’s the next real President).
If you need me, I’ll be on the beach, pounding my head in the sand.