It’s More Than Understanding. It’s Thunderstanding.
Listen along at Soundcloud, or your favorite podcast provider.
I’m half white. Not the Cape Cod “wicked smaht, kid” version, but the “what you coons doin’ out here,” fly over state model. The white people that drink Natty Light and drive around in confederate flag painted pick up trucks.
I discovered this at a very young age when my grandmother said aloud while watching some black televangelist, “That there nigger sure can preach. Mmm, hmm… Boy, get me a sodie pop from the ice box.”
My grandmother never called me by my actual name. Probably because I’m half not white. Which is how racist white folk will refer to you if you are mixed. Half white, half something else. It don’t matter what it is, but it aint white.
Though, saying “half white, half not white” isn’t that accurate. To be concise, I’m what people might consider a mutt. An Irish, Filipino, German, Cherokee, Latino with spots. I’ve heard so many different configurations from completely unreliable sources, that I just don’t know. Not that I fuckin’ care. I mean, why would I?
An actual conversation I had in an In & Out drive thru:
EMPLOYEE: Are you part Filipino?
ME: Yes. I think so.
EMPLOYEE: Did you see the Pacquiao fight last night?
ME: No. I did not.
EMPLOYEE: Oh. You’re not really Filipino then.
ME: I guess not… Dickhead…
With regards to my immediate family, it broke apart long ago. My parents finally killed their volatile marriage when I was very young. My three much older brothers made their escape in completely different directions. My mom had fourteen jobs, or something, so she was hardly ever around. That’s not a dig on her, just a reality of her attempts to put Captain Crunch in the cupboard and Hershey’s chocolate syrup in the fridge.
As a ten year old, I walked myself to and from school. Cooked my own Spaghetti Os and perfected the art of chocolate milk. Finished my homework by the light of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch. I was left alone. Which was highly acceptable. I was self sufficient, and that was incredibly liberating. Even at that young age, I felt free.
Freedom was key to my development. Freedom from the baggage of a fucked up family. Freedom to figure shit out without influence. And the freedom to find others who were also adrift like me.
There was Mike. A black kid usually in a Tony Dorsett jersey. He couldn’t say a sentence that didn’t include “nigga.” Patty. A tough, white girl with emerald eyes and orange hair. She would lick her lips so much that she appeared to have chapped lips around her chapped lips. And a foul mouthed, giant Mexican kid we called Puppet. His bottom jaw moving without regard from the rest of his bulbous head.
Innocently unaware of our differences, we banded together. Riding our bikes down the steepest hills. Diving from the highest roofs into the smallest pools. Terribly dislocating our shoulders. Smashing our own teeth through our fleshy cheeks. A whirlwind of havoc. Wild dogs proudly displaying our blood stained grins. “We are free! We are free!”
Which leads me to these questions: As adults, are we any less free than those adolescent vagabonds of the city? And, do we seem incapable of finding our own way?
Because, recently, it feels like everyone assumes you need help negotiating your life. Like a colony of seagulls at a picnic, persistent and annoying.
“You should never say that word. Ever!”
“You know what you need? Yoga. It will completely change your irritable disposition.”
“Come on. Who did you vote for? I know who you should’ve voted for.”
“Dude. You have to include more super green foods in your diet. I’ll give you my smoothie recipe.”
“Nazi’s don’t get to speak. Fuck their freedom of speech. If you get the chance, you punch the fucker right in the face!”
All the while these advisors are unaware of how this unsolicited advice is a subtle attack on the only ideology I truly care about. Freedom. The freedom to do, or not do, say or not say, whatever I think is best for me.
So, I will give myself a pass in this one instance and offer up some of my own unsolicited advice. This time, and this time only, in the voice of my younger self.
“Motherfucker, shut the hell up. I didn’t ask you shit.”
Hello everybody. Welcome to our weekly meeting of the minds here at Liberal Land. I see some new faces, so allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Larry Loverson, but don’t let that last name fool you. I also loverdaughter too. Ha ha ha. I love everybody and everything. I’m also a big fan of watermelon, tamales, and even roasted dog, if that’s culturally significant to you.
Before we get started, I would like to power point the items on this weeks liberal agenda. And then afterward, we can have an open discussion on how we can not only achieve all of our plans, but to create not just a better understanding of how people should view the world, but something greater. A “Thunderstanding.” An understanding so loud, it will be impossible to ignore our liberal roar.
Item one. We need to set a follow up meeting with Vin Diesel, one of the silent but influential leaders of the LGBTQ family. We are working diligently with them/their community to find a way where we can ultimately include all the letters of the alphabet. LGBTQABCDE, and the rest. Inclusion is key.
Item two. We need to redefine certain terms that will help in our cause. Like socialism and communism, just to name a few. The ultimate goal of liberal land is to have everyone in a tie died skirt tilling their very own kale gardens. And just a reminder, don’t forget next week is voting day for who will be the new face of our liberal cause! Miss Sarandon, who is strangely not here today, has done a wonderful job, but my fingers are crossed for DiCaprio. I think it’s finally time for our first male leader..
And Item Three. We need to confirm what schools are partaking in our field trip to The Woman Now Abortion clinic. Who is supplying the pompoms and uniforms, and how much organic granola will we need to bring. I love hand feeding those little anesthetized darlings. Like my own, personal baby birds. Chirp, chirp. Ah, so cute.
OK. Let’s open the discussion on item one. Miss Jolie, the floor is yours…
MISS JOLIE: Hi. I’m writing a story!
LARRY: OK. Well, we as liberals know there’s two sides to every story.
MISS JOLIE: My story’s a triangle!
LARRY: Okay… Three sides…
MISS JOLIE: Chant with me. Three sides to every story. Three sides to every story. Three sides to every story.
LARRY: No. No. Miss Jolie. We chant at the end. Everybody knows that.
MISS JOLIE: I SAID CHANT!
Thanks for reading/listening. Say hello to me. I’m on the internet.