An open letter to an Oregonian.
By Bob Simpson (Writer)
Dear New Friend,
I cannot begin to describe what a pleasant weekend I had in your beautiful town of Prineville, Oregon. Please note: that was not meant to be sarcastic. There will be plenty of that later! Seriously, though, Prineville is a lovely town in one of my very favorite states to visit, and one that I had been yearning to see firsthand since I read Stephen A. Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage many years ago. Oops, sorry, I mentioned reading didn’t I? Foolish of me – won’t happen again.
My wife and I were in Prineville for the wedding of her super-cool cousin, Jessie. She and her husband got married in her family's ancestral home.
Now, I love Oregon. It’s a magical part of our great country (something we both agree on, yes?), and one can only imagine Lewis and Clark’s reaction when they saw the Pacific Northwest for the first time as they traveled down the Columbia River. After all the experiences they had the previous years, seeing Oregon and Washington State must have been the ending they had dreamed during their long planning…sorry, getting whimsical.
Allow me to explain my reaction, good sir, as I can imagine this confused you, much like gay marriage, the metric system, and diet macaroni and cheese confuse you. You see, I’m a heterosexual male of Anglo-Saxon/Irish descent, who was raised in a Christian home. With those factors in place, you can understand how I would never have expected to be told in this country that I should “go back where I came from,” as that combination of demographic features is, in my opinion, the only demographic naturally safe from scrutiny by local rednecks American citizens. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways and, eloquently, reminding me that no one in this country is ever, ever safe from prejudice. I realize that my rental car’s California license plates prompted the now infamous statement, so instead of the previously mentioned demographic factors ruling out your desire to urge me to return to my place of origin, you assumed that I am, instead of being something more convenient like a homosexual or a black person, an elitist liberal. Just as I assumed that you were an under-educated, overly-armed cracker.
Turns out – we were both right. You know what would have been hilarious (damn you, hind sight!)? If I said I was from Idaho or Mississippi.
In my dreams, I like to think that what happened was all part of a social experiment that you’re conducting to demonstrate the roots of hate that have been bubbling to the surface in this country. I like to think you put on your CAT baseball cap and inserted your massive hunk of chewing tobacco (both excellent choices, and you added a nice bonus with your platinum-blonde wife whose natural hair color I’m guessing is bald) and went out on the prowl, searching for lives to touch with your artistic statement on bigotry. Unfortunately, my friend, you made a fatal error.
You were driving a purple, convertible PT Cruiser.
See what I’m saying? You ruined the whole experience for me right there. It would have been so much more effective if you were driving a rusted pick-up or a Sherman tank, but a purple PT Cruiser? That’s like saying that 2 + 2 = Boat House.
So, although your experiment didn’t deliver the results I’m sure you desired, it was still great fun for me and the other attendees at the wedding, all of whom were informed of the story. Oh, and the cop that you said you were calling? He left me a very nice note on the back of his business card that he left on my windshield. I called him, too, and he was delightful – a true ambassador of your town.
My friend, I am heartily sorry that I laughed in your face and, I’m guessing, made you late for your Klan meeting. I only hope that my fears were not realized, and you didn’t come home after your meeting, put on your wife’s favorite dress, and cry in your cellar, but I’m thinking you probably did.
Finally, allow me to thank you beforehand for taking the time to read this open letter, as I realize that participating in anything mentally stimulating outside of determining the gauge of your shotgun can be a daunting and mundane task.
Your leftist, pinko pal,
BOB SIMPSON is a writer and lives in Los Angeles, where he works for an entertainment company that he'd prefer to keep anonymous, should he accidentally diss something they made. www.bobsimpsonblog.blogspot.com
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