Today, on the day after, the sun rose. The birds chirped. And so I feel like a kid again!
I’m a kid in my almost totally white suburban small hometown. Dad went to work every day, Mom stayed home and kept having kids. In the few hours a week she had free, she worked, for less than a man would have, as an aide in the Protestant church, even though we were Catholic. Those were the only two churches in town.
I’m a kid again! There’s one Jewish kid in the school, and so of course we tease him a little. There are a couple of Black families in town, but they’re in the music business, and have money, so they’re okay. As far as I know, there are no Muslims — what’s a Muslim?
I’m a kid again! The family across the street is mixed — three Irish American kids like me, and a couple of Puerto Rican kids. Everybody knows them — that’s our diversity.
Three doors down from them is a man who walks to the corner at 3 pm every day, smokes a cigarette, and just stares at the neighborhood children who are walking home from school. Every single day. And he seems to drool a little as he stares. We call him Maury the pervert, because we believe he did something to some kids in the city, and had to come live out here with his sister. We also call him a retard.
I’m a kid again. There are no LGBT people (what’s that?) in town of course. We play strip poker in the woods, but the girls don’t want to play, so it’s just us boys.
Then we play football, and only then do we invite the other neighborhood kid to join us. Jackie — we call him Whopper — is bigger and older, and a little slow in the head, but he’s good for football. We make fun of him because he has a hearing aid, and we pretend to be speaking so he turns it up loud, and then we yell. We laugh, because he’s so queer! Whatever that means.
Yep, today I’m a kid again. At least that’s what it feels like. We’ve given away 50 years of progress. It’s great to be white, and make fun of people who aren’t like you. And if I don’t change, maybe some day I can grow up to be President.
Top photo: YouTube screen shot of Donald Trump mimicking a New York Times reporter with a degenerative disease.
For the record: the reporter never said he didn’t remember what he wrote in an article about 9-11 14 years earlier.
He said the article didn’t substantiate Trump’s claims about
Muslims celebrating when the World Trade Center collapsed.
Mike Brennan has been a Pulitzer Prize-nominated newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, an investigative journalist, a nationally touring stand-up comedian, a joke writer for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a morning radio host, a professional auctioneer for numerous charities, an editor, and a film and TV script consultant. He is currently working on a romantic comedy screenplay, and a humorous book on being a father, called The Tooth Fairy Doesn’t Pay for Yellow Teeth. He has lived in the Valley for 19 years, and has two teenage sons. Contact the author.