I’ve been discriminated against!
Pardon me. I need a moment to calm down, slow my heart rate, and ungnash my teeth.
I traveled three hundred miles round trip to visit a woman in the hospital. She’s certainly worth the time and effort. She’s lovely, bright, and appreciative.
But not her husband. He was standing by her bed. I had never met him before today. When I reached to shake his hand, he backed up with his hands pulled out of reach.
“I can’t. I won’t touch something dirty,” he said.
I wondered if he might have a germ phobia, but given his appearance, I doubted it.
“Don’t worry,” I reassured him, “I washed my hands just before I came in.”
That wasn’t his problem.
“I don’t trust a man with a beard,” he told me. “It’s unnatural. It’s not decent. And I figure a man’s got to be hiding something if he has a beard covering him.”
I could see by the light in his eye that this was an old craziness.
"That's why I don't go to church," he said. "When she came home and told me you had a beard, I knew I'd never set foot in your church."
“I see.” And because I couldn’t help it, I said. “I wonder of Jesus had a beard.”
“They didn’t have razors back then,” He said with a withering look. He bowed up, ready to fight some more.
But I was done with him. I turned away to visit with his wife who held her head and shook it slowly.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“It’s okay,” I whispered. And then we talked. She was surprised that I drove so far to see her.
“You’re worth it,” I said. I always say that.
I didn’t stay long. But I was nice. I’m always nice except when I’m not.
On the drive home, I alternated between being mad and being amused.
I am afraid his condition is permanent. He’s a terminal asshole.
I have a lot of friends who are just as crazy, some of whom I love very much. They’re eccentrics who can’t get along with others and are very lonely. I know how to be friends and accept them and they’re usually grateful for it. And sometimes, just a little acceptance from the minister opens the door for them to the rest of the community.
But for this guy, it just ain't happening.
I’m almost sorry to say it, but I will not give this old fart one more minute of my time unless he’s humble enough to ask for it.
But like I said, that's not going to happen.