Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Which We Confront Our Failings

I try very hard to be an open, tolerant person. I have no quarrel with those who don't seek to do me or my family harm, be they scary gay people, or folks with different ethnic backgrounds from my own, or the one percent. I think most of this blog's readership skews the same way. So it is with no small amount of chagrin that I come before you this beautiful autumn day to confess a very specific failure. I may, sadly, be racist. Or at least religionist.

My family spent an absolutely fabulous five days in the Mouse's embrace last week, returning home from Disney last night exhausted but completely thrilled with the experience. We visited all of the major Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios) in addition to Universal Islands of Adventure. We rode everything time permitted, my daughters reveling in the fastest coasters and most bone-rattling simulations. (Unlike, it seems, Sentence of Dave.)

Our final evening in Orlando found us in Hollywood Studios, in line for Tower of Terror. Ironically named, as it turns out. As the four of us stood in the final queue to enter the faux elevator car that comprises the ride, the attendant called out to the crowd for a single rider to fill the last open spot in our number. The crowd moved aside to let a lone rider join us.

He was in his mid-to-late twenties, dressed in a loose-fitting t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. Nothing about him was out of the ordinary, except for the heavy, full beard that marked him as Muslim. As much as I resisted the urge, my first thoughts went exactly to that place. I smiled at him to no real response.

We boarded the car and I tried to push the fear from my mind and attend to my kids. He sat in the seat directly across the aisle from mine in the front row of the car. I casually scanned him for signs of agitation; was I ready to jump on him Underwear Bomber-style if it came to that? Would I throw myself on my kids to protect them?

As the ride commenced, I focused on the tableau in front of me, and as we prepared for the ten-story plunge that constitutes the ride's 'terror', I was enjoying myself. I even looked over at him with a smile on my face to see if he was having fun. And to make sure he wasn't pulling any funny stuff.

Needless to say, nothing happened. The only damage done on the ride was to my sense of self-worth. As we walked out of the ride into the vestibule where riders view pictures of themselves, one of the images stood out. 17 of the 18 riders in the car looked straight ahead with a combination of joy and thrilled horror. One rider looked left at the guy in the seat next to his.

At least I was smiling.

I'd like to apologize to that dude, so I hope he's a reader. By extension, I'd like to apologize to all of our Islamic friends. I've got some work to do on the shit we don't like to talk about at cocktail parties.

13 comments:

TR said...

What's the etiquette on mocking JoePa's wife's hair? Because an 80 year-old woman really shouldn't be dying it chestnut brown any more. Succumb to the grayness.

Dave said...

my eyes were closed so tight on that ride, that i wouldn't have recognized osama bin laden if he was sitting next to me.

best ride for me was test track in the dark, but we go to the animal kingdom today and i am looking forward to expedition everest and dinosaur . . .

zman said...

RIP Heavy D, one of the Money Earnin's finest.

Danimal said...

this story that has consumed me all day and night could get a lot worse. rumor has it, as per mark madden that sandusky pimped out kids to wealthy donors.

Marls said...

Not sure where angry Marls came from last night.

Danimal said...

in a delta skylounge in salt lake city...kirk herbstreit just sat down about 10 feet away.

zman said...

I know that the Penn State story is more impactful for CFB fans, but after living in Boston through the Catholic priest pedophilia scandal I'm not shocked that a glorified gym teacher covered up another glorified gym teacher's pedophilia. It's abhorrent, sure, but I'm not stunned that it could happen.

Igor said...

About an hour ago, WXPN played the Bosstones song that Rob referenced In the comments here yesterday. G:TB worlds colliding.

Brian said...

Zman...because I like you and respect your usually insightful and clever opinions, now is the moment in time when I look past the ignorance of the sweeping statement you just made about glorified gym teachers having relaxed morals when it comes to pedophilia. Instead, now is the time when I just simply make you feel like an asshole for not knowing I am the son of two gym teachers. And they're not even glorified gym teachers; they're just regular ones. So, I can imagine what you must think about them...

Igor said...

Whoa, Zman. I think James Naismith, Lisa Wallace-Donnelly, and Leonard Skinner would all strenuously object to your libelous words there.

Danimal said...

am still in a f'n airport, now atlanta. celeb sightings here: james carville, kenny smith, reggie miller.

Shlara said...

Rob--powerful piece today.

And Danimal--did you talk to Herbie??? I love him.

rob said...

holy shit - i thought danimal was joking about the pimping kids thing. he was most definitely not. that's the sickest fucking thing i've heard in forever. i'm drunk, so take this for what it's worth, but if that's true, the death penalty for the psu program isn't too strong - people in that organization are fucking culpable.