Be Nice to Strangers

(note: the t-shirts my kids are wearing contain all 67,000 words of “Choose Yourself!”, readable, courtesy of litographs.com)

“Did the mailman have red hair?” said the man in front of me on line, implying that my  ex-wife had sex with a mailman and then she had my daughter, who has  bright orange hair.

We were on line to get ice cream. I was with my illegitimate bastard and the guy was a total stranger in line in front of me.

It was neat how he asked about my sex life and the legitimacy of my child all in one question.

I’m cool with that.

I said to him, “Yes, as a matter of fact, he did.” Which is true. The  mailman had red hair back then, when I lived in Tribeca, before I lost  my home and all my money and dignity. And  now this man was kind enough  to remind me of that.

Maybe my girl whose affection I am buying  with sugar, is not even related to me and I’ve just revealed my deepest  secrets to this total stranger who felt comfortable asking me about my  sex life with my ex-wife.

I’m proud of me.

For no real reason.

As one reviewer of my magnum opus, “Choose Yourself!” recently said, “funny, but no good content.”

Which sounds really funny to me. It’s like I made an encyclopedia of  toilets. Because my humor is so stupid I would laugh at a book that had nothing but toilets but I would also say, very seriously, “but no good  content”.

I used to like antique stores. There’s something  magical about them. Like you might find a genie lamp in an antique  store. Or The Satanic Bible in the original Latin that can be used to  conjure up a succubus.

Succubus.

But I live in a town (a “village”) known for antiquing and so I see the scam.

It’s just old stuff.

The antique store closest to me has a hand in the window. It’s a white plastic hand, perhaps cut off from a mannequin.

My illegitimate red-haired daughter and I thought we should buy it and buy some lawn chairs.

Every Saturday a boat goes from NYC and stops about a half block from  my house and lets out about 200 people that want to go antiquing.

We were thinking of sitting outside on the sidewalk in our new lawn  chairs and waving the white hand at  everyone who passes and say “Hi  Y’all” like we were Southerners.

My shady bastard thinks this  is funny. Everytime we pass the store she goes “Hi Y’all” and laughs or  she says, “remember when we were thinking about getting the lawn chairs  and the hand and saying ‘Hi Y’all’ ” to everyone?” even though it was  only fifteen minutes earlier. Which actually makes her statement  (“remember”) funny.

Because there’s lots of things you can say to strangers that can either make them angry or make them laugh or just  make them think, “this guy is very polite and playing by the rules”.

But Jason Bourne (me, in my fantasy world) doesn’t play by the rules.

So I can say whatever I want to strangers. Who cares? I will never ever see them again. I try to then do one of two things:

I try to make them laugh. Or I try to make them feel like I love them the way their mother loves them. It’s the one opportunity I will ever  have to mother this complete stranger, almost as if he (or she) were in  my womb right now. My magic Satanic womb.

If I do one of those  two things then I get to change their lives. That is fun for me. I try to do it every day with every stranger I meet, even the guy who sells me  coffee on the corner or the random billionaire I might bump into in the street. It doesn’t matter to me. They are my child and I am their  mother.

It also has the added benefit of slowing down time. If  time were measured in “fun or loving interactions with strangers” as  opposed to “Seconds” then my life would be longer. And you know what,  since I get to write my rules, my life is measured that way. Some of the  time.

Is my daughter mine? Or an illegitimate bastard?

It doesn’t matter to me. I love her anyway.

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2 Responses to “Be Nice to Strangers”

  1. Louise McGregor Says:

    Ha ha. I am a red-headed child of dark-haired parents. I have had that question all my life. For a while I took to adopting a distressed expression and saying “please don’t make me think about my parents’ sex life”.

  2. Deb Says:

    I do that at work. I leave people with their heads spinning. Sometimes it`s just that they expect me to act a certain way ” for my age” or “gender”. But that`s just crap!

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