“She bites the liberal Democrats Twice”
One of the best parts of my life is that by putting myself in interesting situations, interesting things happen more often. Such as simultaneously receiving a compliment and a threat of bodily harm. It is interesting, because the competing emotions are so opposite that you have to immediately start observing the whole situation from outside your body in order to properly process what is happening in real time. So instead of an unbearable blend of discomforts, it all becomes simply ‘interesting’.
Last night I did 10 minutes of stand-up at the Black Pond Brewery in Danielson, CT. By all accounts it went great! I had friends there and a I made all the strangers laugh. One of these strangers was a tall man with a Rottweiler dog. Apart from howling in sadness after being prevented from eating the bar’s resident cat, the dog was adorable and well behaved.
Cut to after the show. Our tall friend gets my attention and begins to chat with me. He asks if I’m a teacher for real and not just making it up for comedy. He then tells me he was a teacher in East Hartford back in the day, and thanks me generally for what I do. All in all a pleasant interaction.
As our banter is coming to a close, I get THAT URGE you get near adorable animals. The moment I begin to reach to pet the dog though, I pause realizing I now had THAT URGE to ask the owner if I’d have a hand left after trying to touch his personal comfort beast. The dog notices my pullback and understandably got a bit nervous. That’s when it got interesting.
In that thing that people do, this guy whipped out what he thought would be a cute phrase we could bond over. Something to excuse his dog’s nervousness.
“She only bites Democrats.”
I probably gave one of my trademark combination wince smiles, because he knew he’d made it weird. First, a wince smile is a completely uncontrollable spontaneous reaction to hearing something awful and/or terrifying when I am also trying to maintain eye contact and a polite grin. Essentially it’s like watching any movie where someone gets hit in the face and time is distorted. A sudden unhinged twist, violently brought under control to reform it’s previous happy go lucky disposition.
Second, I’m not sure any part of my comedy routine suggested I was anything less than liberal. I’m probably a 7 out of 10 on the radical liberal scale, which basically means I know a lot of communists who think I’m too conservative for my own good, but am otherwise firmly a lefty.
So when this guy said those words, was he threatening me? Surely it was just harmless utterance!
“She bites liberal democrats twice!”
Even the dog looked unimpressed at this point. My reaction had totally given away the internal workings of my mind. The tall man was now sort of stuck. He was a kind enough guy though, and despite the words and giant dog to back them up, I felt no malice. He was trying to be funny with the comedian. So I did what any decent comic would do. I threw it in his face as cleverly as possible.
“Guess I’ll offer up BOTH my arms then.”
I’d hoped this would table the political griping so I could continue to connect with the gentleman. He seemed like an alright guy after all, and everyone you meet knows something you don’t. But, that is not how things work these days. The tall man decided then to make his exit, and took his dog around the side of the bar and out of my life. Things had gotten too ‘interesting’.