One Stupid White Boy
In 1987 a co-worker of mine purchased a property in
Myrtle Beach on spec meaning site unseen, and from 1600 miles away. One
day, in the coffee room, we were chatting away and I happened to mention my need for a
little sun and fun. Naturally he mentioned his new pride and joy a luxurious
condo on the golf course in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The price was right and the
property was closing in early September. Perfect, the plans were underway.
Finally the day arrived and Jason, Freda and myself
hit the Quick and Easy Way (aka - the Queens Highway "QEW ", that links Toronto and
Erie PA). It was 4 am and about 42 degrees, so sun and warmth were in our minds.
It's a long drive to Myrtle Beach and I am not one
who rides the interstates after sunset. So after many sight seeing interludes, we
finally arrived in Myrtle Beach about 8:30 pm on the second day of our itinerary.
Like most men (come on admit it!), I drove around for about an hour as lost as
Columbus, before I finally listened to my wife and pulled into a restaurant called
"J Edwards" to get directions. Best damn back ribs I ever eat next to Freda's
Well, we found out from the waiter that our
destination was in fact not in Myrtle Beach, but in a spot called Little River, just
about a mile north of the MB city limits. We arrived about 11 pm and all of us were
totally drained of every resource needed to stay awake. A couple of comfortable beds
was what we most needed.
As I pulled into the East Port Golf Course development
I immediately spotted the reception booth. Not a soul in site and
Chris had told me a guard would be there with the keys. Damn it I said! We
talked it over and agreed that going back to Myrtle Beach now or even trying to find
a motel would be dangerous as we were so totally exhausted. So we agreed to smash the
window and grab the key which was sitting there marked "Key for Wally Gross."
I had a hammer in the trunk of the Bonneville and
while letting out a loud banshee like cry (while the wife and son howled with laughter)
proceeded to take out the sliding glass door. Dummy, I said, why didn't you pop the
window. Lack of oxygen can do some awful things to the grey matter. In any event we
had the key and spent the next 7 hours in deep and enjoyable sleep.
At about 7 am I headed down to the Pro Shop to let
them know about the glass door and that I would pay the damages as soon as they had
a price. The pro shop attendant informed me I would have to see the security guard
for that, adding that he would be in about 8 am. As I made my way around the pro shop
on the wooden walk that lead back to our unit, I passed the open window and heard him
say, "Dumb Canadian", as he and his cohort laughed. Ok, I thought, maybe I deserve
After a much needed Denny's breakfast, I made my way
over to the security house. This time the guard, a man in his mid-fifties to early
sixties, was on duty. I told him the story about the sliding glass door. To say his
come-back shocked me, might be the understatement of all time to me at least.
He said, "Son, those niggers up the road there (pointing to some sort of farm I
believe) did this you know, so why don't you get up there (pointing to the club house)
before you miss your tee time." Whew...did you really say that, was my only thought?
"Sir", I said, "I may not be Mother Theresa, but I
know enough to stand up to my responsibilities. So please bill me and I'll look after
it right off." He quipped back, "Son, you are one stupid white boy."
Now before anybody reading this thinks I'm picking
on Myrtle Beach, I'm not, it just happened to take place there. It could have
happened in Vancouver, Sydney or London. However, this was twelve years ago and I
somehow thought these kinds of racial hatred things had faded and passed. Not likely!
I see this fellow named John Rocker grab all the
headlines worldwide with his racist, bigoted, and homophobic remarks, not to mention
threatening a certain sports journalist. Now if that wasn't enough, when he returns
to the ballpark in Atlanta, he is the recipient of a standing ovation.
This, to me, is rather frightening stuff. Far be from
me to stand in judgment or to disallow another's opinion, but isn't this just going
too far? What could a youngster possibly gain from being witness to such outrageous
hate? I'm not going to stand here and act like Mr. Perfect; I'm not that pristine.
However, when we see these kinds of things happening we have to wonder how far our
society has really come.
When we read of instances like the one that took
place a few years back, that saw an innocent African American die after being dragged
behind a pickup truck until parts of his body were dismembered, we have to take notice.
What's this all about? I don't get it, do you? Where does this kind of hate originate?
It's discerning and we all must take note. But that
isn't enough; we can't turn a blind eye to this. This fruitless hate has to be
eliminated. You know I'm not sure I have the answer to all this, and I probably don't.
But just maybe, as I have for the last 34 years, if I never utter (or even think it)
another racial slur, just maybe that will help. Now if all of us did the same and
taught our children to do the same, just maybe in not too many years time, just maybe
we might eliminate all this worthless hate. Just maybe. Can it be that simple? Just
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