The Land of the Litmus Test

 

If you would like to help with my coffee and muffin consumption, check out the “A Little Help?” post here. Thanks!

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“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

Yeah, and if we like each other, maybe our definitions will improve.

“It’s the people that know you the least that judge you the most.”

Ok. But how else am I supposed to get to know if you are interesting?

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

What? Why not? That cover looks so fucking cool!!!

***

Judging things has gotten a bad rap. There is always a negative connotation. Like Judge Judy, Judge Dredd, Judge Cornelius Fudge, Judge Jesus. It’s always bad when a judge is around because they can send you to a very bad place. Like Hell. Or Florida. Which is imbecilic. Because judging things is also how you find the things you love. To see where your attractions lie. If you prefer one finger or two fingers or no fingers at all. Inside you, that is. You must have an opinion.

LADY: I like five fingers!

She said five, people! A fist it is, Kaitlyn Jenner.

LADY: Yaaaayy!

Anyway, If you were to say, “I love that top. Where did you get it?” Is that not a judgement? Or, “Dude, this is the best burrito I have ever had!” You might be under the influence of a bong rip of Alaskan Thunder Fuck, but it’s still a judgement. And a judgement is simply an opinion. Which makes me wonder: With regards to judging things, is society saying I should have no opinion at all? That my likes and dislikes are some sort of crime on humanity? Hogwarts!

***

In a bustling coffee shop on a Saturday morning, two lovers sit across from one another. They have succeeded in transcending the booty-call bounce; the stride of pride; the walk of shame. Their lovely night has spilled into the day where the coffee is free trade, the atmosphere has a acid house soundtrack, and the emotional attachments to one another begin to surface their first appearance. Smitten. Happy. Excited, even.

Suddenly, Henry Rollins walks by their table towards the counter. The young man tries not to be too obvious, but slightly turns his head to get a peripheral look at one of his idols. And there he is. Black t-shirt. Black jeans. Black tattoos. It’s like seeing a double rainbow with a hard charging unicorn in mid gallop across it’s surface. He does exist! This mythical beast is there and in the flesh. And he is ordering a black coffee. Well, of course it’s black.

“Who is that?” asks the young woman.

“That’s Henry Rollins,” he says in a muted voice. “Black Flag. Rollins band. ‘Get in the Van’ Henry Rollins.” His excitement suddenly shatters. He realizes he has inadvertently wandered into: The Land of The Litmus Test. The place where allies are formed and enemies reveal themselves. A place where there is no grey area. Either you’re with us, or you are cast out. He can’t be friends, let alone lovers, with anybody that doesn’t like the one, the only, Hank the Crank. He turns to the young woman and hopes, no, prays for the best.

Ignorance to Henry would be ok, he thinks. That’s simply an opportunity to convert someone that has lived an unenlightened life. One of those moments where he can say, “You haven’t heard this?!? Well, you are in for a treat, my dear!” And off he goes. Waxing poetically over the entire aural onslaught. Saying things like, “This part is amazing” and “this lyric is genius!” and “Do you like it? Please oh please, say you do.”

“Oh. Henry Rollins,” she says. “I’ve seen him do spoken word. A friend took me to see him down at Largo.”

The young man clinches his teeth; Shifts in his chair; forces his face into hopeful positivity. Judgement is at hand. His immediate future, hell, perhaps his entire future, is precariously teetering on the tip of his tongue. He takes a deep breath and says, “Annnd, you thought he was amazing?”

“He’s masculine to a fault. Hiding behind a torrent of testosterone with his over opinionated, soft spoken demeanor. ‘I’ve been to a million countries and you guys don’t know suffering.’ So, what am I supposed to do? Pretend that I’m always fucking ecstatic that I don’t live in Mongolia? Whatever, dude. I found him to be a bloviating asshole.”

The young man looks down at his coffee. His face muscles fall, anguished and appalled. A river of deceit washes cold over his entire body. With a hard sigh he thinks about how dirty he feels. How used. How disgusting. He has slept with “one of them.” And, that maybe, he should stop drinking flirtinis for awhile because, obviously, her siren’s call and those billowing bubbles has pulled him into the jagged rocks and now he feels like he’s sinking. Sinking lower than he’s ever sunk before.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

He summons the strength from the mythical beast within and sits up straight. “Ok. I know you have every right to speak your opinion. It’s a free country, right? I mean this isn’t Mongolia.” He kicks back his chair, rises above, and grabs his coffee. “But, I’m gonna walk away now. Because the only thing that should follow that comment is my Chuck Taylors right into your ass. Good day, madam.”

“Are you serious?”

“I said good day!”

He walks towards the exit, heavy hearted and light headed. He remembers that he was tapping his foot to the acid house remix. He hates acid house. What a fool he’s been. She, and those god awful flirtinis, put a spell on him and his power animal has saved him! Saved days, weeks, even years of trouble. He smiles and turns to look back at one of his idols. “Thanks, Henry,” he says under his breath. “Thank you for everything…”

He looks back at the young women and thinks about the friend that took her to see The Hard Charging Unicorn at Largo. He immediately feels connected to this mystery person. Like Vietnam vets fighting in the shit, miles apart, and complete strangers, they have both survived The Acid House Siren of Hollywood…

***

The batter kicks the dirt one last time and steps into the batter’s box. Sixty feet, six inches away, a pitcher glares in from the shadow of his baseball cap. He gets the sign from the catcher and starts his wind up. The catcher switches his weight to the left and slyly positions his glove on the inside edge of the plate. The pitcher whirls his body and snaps the ball towards home. It flies in at a hundred miles an hour. The batter freezes. The ball snaps into the catcher’s glove. Is it a strike? Was it too inside? Hello?

The catcher looks back to the umpire and says, “Well? Was that a strike?”

The umpire shakes his head and says, “Don’t look at me. I don’t judge things. I’m not a judger.”

“But you’re the fucking Ump. That’s your job. You have to,” demands the catcher.

The umpire puts his hands on his hips and says, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had the authority to judge me! Is Jesus hiring???”

The catcher looks at the batter, speechless. The batter looks back at the catcher, and then to the Umpire and says, “That was a ball.”

The Ump nods and yells, “Ball One!”

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