Friday, August 26, 2011
The wedding was way down south in the town of Litchfield. Diana Ross (Smart Ass Cripple Alias) was excited to travel down there with Rahnee and me as one of our assistants.
But the close friends and family of Diana Ross beseeched her not to go. “They hate black folks down there,” they all said. “Why do you think they call it Lynchfield!”
So Diana Ross told us she was having serious doubts about going. So we had to reassure her that she would not be lynched.
First off, the town is called Litchfield, we said. So the worst that could happen is she might get Litched. Oh sure, hers would probably be the only face at the wedding that wasn’t white. And yes, like everywhere else in the world, there were sure to be some racists in the crowd. It’s near impossible to assemble 100 plus people anywhere without catching in the net a racist or two. But even so, she would be protected by a counterbalancing social force far more powerful than racism: wedding etiquette. Any expert on manners will tell you that a sure-fire way to ruin a bride’s once-in-a-lifetime extra special day and make her pissed off at you for the rest of your life would be to lynch one of her wedding guests.
However we did feel compelled to warn Diana Ross that she might witness a frightening ritual in which white people at a wedding were likely to engage. It’s called the chicken dance. We described in graphic detail how we drink too much and then we flap our arms and waddle around in circles to peppy accordion music. And sometimes, if things really deteriorate into drunken surrealism, we put our left hip in and our left hip out and our left hip in and we shake it all about.
But even that didn’t scare Diana Ross away. She was back in! She was excited to go to Litchfield. She was in her early 30s and a single mother of three but she had never traveled beyond Chicago.
It was a glorious day for a wedding—bright sun and blue sky and twittering birds. And yes, Diana Ross was the only person in the church who wasn’t white. But no matter—all went off without a hitch. There was not so much as a hint of a potential lynching.
After the wedding, outside the church, I saw Diana Ross laughing it up with Uncle Henry Kissinger (Smart Ass Cripple alias again). Uncle Henry Kissinger was a lanky truck driver, 30ish. He spoke with a warm, slow drawl.
Diana Ross and Henry Kissinger were really hitting it off. As I approached I heard him say, “I get along with everybody.”
“Me too!” replied Diana Ross.
“I got nothing against nobody,” Henry Kissinger said. But after a long pause, he added, “Well, except for those people from New Zealand. I don’t like them. “ Those people from New Zealand, they come to the U.S. and they drive trucks, Henry Kissinger said. And because they live in New Zealand, they don’t have homes to go here to so they live in their trucks. Sometimes two or three of them live in a truck so they can drive 24/7, nonstop! Guys like Henry Kissinger can’t keep up.
“They come here and they take all of our jobs!” Henry Kissinger grumbled.
Diana Ross nodded. “Well I think we can all agree that we don’t like them.”