I didn’t make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proud this past weekend. For the record, I didn’t punch anyone. And I didn’t disenfranchise anyone either. And I definitely didn’t segregate whites and blacks, except when I did laundry. But I didn’t serve anyone. Nor did I climb to the top of Stone Mountain with a bell. You will only understand that last reference if you remember the “I Have a Dream” speech.
Instead, last Saturday, I cleaned my kitchen. It had been a mess since last finals. During finals, I like my surroundings to be a metaphor for my life. But it was time to make things new, like MLK. I would renew the promise of America in my kitchen. I would scrub the mold from my pots like the bacteria of Jim Crow. I would unshackle all the beer bottles from my floor that had multiplied like racial injustice. I would let freedom ring from my spice rack. I would clean my table of brotherhood so I could sit with the sons of former slaveowners and eat pasta, just as King dreamed. For readers who do not regularly read this column, I’m very black.
Last Sunday, I watched the football match between the Falcons (aka the Dirty Birds) and the San Francisco 49ers. I am from San Francisco. We are not a manly city. We are a seafaring people. We are likely home to the Sailor in the Village People. We have many YMCAs. But we are proud, like the men who bent over and took what they got for years and years to make our city great back during the Gold Rush.
At the football party, everyone was a Falcons fan. They had been Falcons fans since before the Falcons started winning. I don’t know when the Falcons started winning because I don’t think they ever have. I learned how to dance the “Dirty Bird.” They told me to flap my arms like I’m doing a rain dance, because Georgia cannot have a sports dance that doesn’t somehow mock Native Americans.
Thankfully, football is a drinking sport. By the time the Niners took the lead in the last quarter, everyone was drunk. And angry. I screamed, “Yes! That’s right! That’s San Francisco doing what we do best! We [redacted] you in your [redacted]! So, [redacted] our giant [redacted]! Losers!”
I wish they had cried.
The football party became a pity party, so I went to another social obligation. It was in an apartment complex called Highland Lakes. There is a lake, but it is man-made. My friend wants me to move in with her there, but I don’t know how to tell her that wall to wall carpeting is tacky and that the cloying blandness of Highland Lakes make me nauseous just thinking of waking up to the half-furnished, undecorated beige walls and the sleepwalking denizens of this lifeless apartment complex. So she’ll find out if she reads this column.
Nothing funny happened at the party. Everyone was just drunk, like they always are. So I drank too. I drank to forget that I was in Highland Lakes.
At one point, I approached the hapless but attractive guys from Tech. They were definitely above 5’s but probably not over 7.5’s.
I whispered to them, but they couldn’t hear me because it was a party. So I shouted: “See those women over there, like gazelles on the savannah?” I assume they answered affirmatively but without similes because Tech boys lack flair for language. “I have a plan,” I said. “I will go over there and tell them they are ugly. Then you, knights, along with your steed,” I pointed to the least attractive gentleman, “will fling me from them like Hercules flung the Serpent.”
Josh from Tech asked, “So you’re going to go over there and make fun of them, and then we’re going to tell you to stop?”
“Yes, dear boy, yes. I always admire you engineers and your abilities to summarize.”
I think I have a math fetish.
Unconfirmed reports from other partygoers described the events as “a harrowing deed of wingmanning, deserving the highest of fives.” I only disagree because I’d rather not have my genius described in terms of a television show that hasn’t been funny for 4 years.
Another unconfirmed witness called it, “really, really b**chy, but effective.” Genius always has its detractors. For it surely did work. The Tech boys engaged the women in their courting ritual: beer pong.
Finally, this weekend, I found one way to truly fulfill Dr. King’s legacy. My friend, who is a girl, asked me to go to Publix to purchase some products marketed toward ladies.
I walked into the Publix with my head held high and proudly demanded of the customer service woman, “Where do you keep your finest feminine napkins? They are for a white woman.” Yes, I did just that. And I felt no fear of reprisal from my fellow caucasian brothers. No, I was just as free as any man to purchase any product I chose from any store for any woman I so chose.
So this week I learned: Reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X makes you want to eat Brownies, not Blondies.
— By A.J.