Bigotry and prejudice. I am guilty of both these things on occasion but I always do my best to keep such things in check. Because I am aware that they are wrong. Of course they are. I hate the term political correctness but I suppose it does have it's uses. Especially if it causes you to stop and think. It certainly thrives on issues such as these. Indeed, in todays world political correctness just thrives. But, and yes I do know it's politically incorrect to say so, sometimes bigotry and prejudice can make me smile and even laugh out loud.
Take today for example. Sadie the German Shepherd and I decided we would take a walk to work up an appetite for lunch. When I say that we decided, I suppose what I really mean is that I decided. Whoever heard of a dog making a decision on whether we go for a walk or not? No. Hang on a minute! Actually it was Sadie that decided on the walk. The more I think about it the clearer it becomes to me. Yes it was Sadie.What happens is that she takes to following me like a shadow. Whenever I move she is there, getting under my feet and sometimes even causing me to stumble. Even actually tripping me on occasion. But it's the eyes that really get to me. Great big soulful eyes, looking up at me, or down if I've fallen over. Sad eyes imploring me to take pity on her and take her for a walk. I give in, I always do, and she knows even before I utter the words, "lets go for a walk", that I have given in to her. Off she goes, frolicking and vocalising in the way that German Shepherds do when they have browbeaten you into submission and bent you to their will. So I will amend what I said before, and state categorically that Sadie decides. Now then, where was I before getting sidetracked? Oh yeah! Bigotry and prejudice made me laugh today. Perhaps it shouldn't have, but I'm afraid it did.
The smell of chips is sometimes hard to resist and today my resistance was low enough that I found myself buying a bag. A large bag that I would be able to share with Sadie. I know I shouldn't share with her but it's her eyes you know. Those big soulful eyes... Hold on, I'm not going there again.
We sat at a park bench, alongside an elderly chap who had the same idea as me and was eating a bag of chips.
"Alsation", he said suddenly, pointing at Sadie. I wasn't sure whether he was asking me or telling me.
"Yeah". I said, "German Shepherd".
"No", he said. "That is an Alsation".
I tried to put him right. "They used to be called Alsations, now they are called German Shepherds".
" Yeah still an Alsation though. Vicious bastards I 'ate em, I 'ate all bleeding Germans".
I rose to my best friends defence. "She wouldn't hurt a fly", I protested, momentarily forgetting Sadie's hatred of wasps, bees, and bluebottles. I gave her another chip to distract her in case she wanted to rip his throat out.
He wasn't finished. "I seen a programme about 'em. They was training 'em to be vicious. It was on tele. What was it called"? He asked himself. "Sumfing abart dogs. What was it"? He looked at me quizzically.
"I don't know. I don't watch a lot of television". I answered, lying through my teeth. I had gone off him.
"You don't watch tele". He was actually sneering. "You don't watch tele?" He turned it into a question.
"I said I don't watch a lot of television. I like to watch wildlife programmes and I like quizzes". I really disliked him now.
"Countdown. Do you like countdown"?
"I used to like it. I've gone off it a bit now."
"Yeah. I bet you went off it when Carol left didn't ya? She's got a lovely bum, ain't she?" I never answered him. I didn't like to admit he was right. On both counts. "What's your favourite thing on tele?" He asked.
I swallowed a mouthful of chips before answering. "I like Stephen Fry. Anything with Stephen Fry in it."
"Stephen Fry! Stephen Fry! He's a bleeding poof!"
"Yeah he is Gay". I said, adding."But he's none practicing".
"None practicing! None practicing!" He was indignant. "'E don't need to bloody practice. 'E's been at it for years! 'Ear you're not a gay boy are yeh?"
Sadie and me, having finished our chips, got up and went on our way. Hopefully leaving the miserable old git wondering what it was I found so funny.
So there you have it. Prejudice, sexism and bigotry, all in one short conversation. Political correctness. It don't always get its message across. You've got to laugh!