I think it’s pretty ironic that the only place I’ve ever read Reader’s Digest is on the toilet.  “Do you need to shit?  Do you like to read?  Than do we have some pointless stories for you.”

I was eating at a Hardee’s in a small town near the Maryland, Virginia border.  This older African American couple stared at me the entire time I was in there.  As they were leaving they walked by my table and said, “Excuse me, but are you from Europe?”  I was taken aback by their question.  “No, I’m not.  I’m from South Carolina originally.”  And my answer made them a little sad.  “Oh, we could have sworn you were from Europe.”  Then I got a little sad for them.  How boring are these people’s lives?  How sheltered an exsistence must they be living if they were excited about some skinny white guy they saw at Hardee’s and the prospect that he might be from another contitnent.

When we first moved to our neighborhood five years ago, we walked past our next door neighbor and she introduced herself:

“My name Millie,” she said in a thick Brooklyn accent.

“Hi, I’m David, this is my wife Mandy,” I replied, putting my keys in my apartment door.

“And this here is my son Blaise.  He’s retarded.”

I was so unprepared for her blunt introduction of her son that I laughed.  And she said, “No for real, he’s retarded.”

I stood there kind of frozen and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Oh, that’s great.”

And she continued on.  “His name is Blaise.  He’s named after his father.”

“Oh, is he retarded too?”

Welcome to the neighborhood.

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