Believe it or not, I now have something in common with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and two more prominent Republicans: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former EPA chief Scott Pruitt.
No, I don’t collect the fresh tears of Hispanic children separated from their parents and encase them in Pandora charms, although that WAS a good guess.
Give up? OK. A few days ago, I was publicly heckled in a restaurant for my political views. Yes, you never forget your first time. I was sitting in a local dive bar, digging into a buffalo chicken sandwich with crinkle fries (my new friends would call these Freedom Fries) and watching the UNC football game on TV when my very first public heckler approached.
“Hmmmph,” he said, lurching toward me but not quite sitting down. “I know you.”
I usually wave my hand dismissively at this point and say: “No, no. I’m not Meg Ryan circa 1995 but it’s certainly an honest mistake.” Cue laughter. Usually.
But something in his face told me he definitely wasn’t a fan so I also didn’t pull out my usual chestnut: “I know, I know, I look so much younger in person.”
“You’re just lucky you don’t have a PUBLIC job,” he hissed. “Not everybody can say what they think because they could get fired. You don’t know what that’s like.”
“Ummmkay. My job is to write political humor so, you are right. I probably won’t get fired for doing what I was hired to do. Lucky me.”
He pondered this and then rebounded with a big grin, bless his heart. “OK, let me tell ya a joke.” (I will now condense this “joke” down to its punchline, which was a very long time coming and had something to do with a car that could respond to voice commands.) As my heckler closed in on the punch line, he leaned in close.
“Pelosi and Hillary!!! Get it? See, the man’s in the car and he says, “Have you ever seen anybody any dumber than that and the car, being a smart car, said “Pelosi and Hillary!!!”
“That’s the punch line?” I asked, genuinely puzzled.
“HE gets it, right?” the heckler said, winking at Duh Hubby, who was quietly enjoying the show.
“See…the car is so smart it knows the two dumbest people in the world are Pelosi and Hillary.”
“And that’s funny because….?”
“It’s funny because…Pelosi…Hillary…get it?”
And then he started squawking about entitlements which, I had a hunch was going to disintegrate into an “us and them” diatribe or worse.
“Dude,” I said. “I’m just trying to eat my sandwich and watch the ballgame. Not here for this.” He wandered off but, being a Southern man, returned 10 minutes later to apologize.
OK, maybe it’s not really the same thing at all. After all, Mitch McConnell has been screamed at by multiple people at multiple restaurants and none came back to apologize.
Then again, HE deserved it.