Over the past few weekends our neighbors have invited us to their place for dinner. At first I was scared. Like actually fearful of what would be served and would it jeopardize my health? But I figure heck, I was in the army, I used to blow stuff up, I've been sick near to death, almost killed myself doing stupid crap, how bad could dinner at the neighbors be? My fears were delightfully baseless as The Neighbor Lady is an amazing cook. She may be the village idiot but she does whip up some mean vittles.
Anyway....We always sit outside and we always have lots of conversation late into the evening. Here is one of those conversations.
"Mike, can I ask you sumthin' an you promise not ta take offense?"
"Wha....haha.....really? I think your internal filter just caught something that needed catching and it should probably stay that way."
"Go ahead, ask me whatever you want. It's ok."
"Oh, ok, are you mixed?"
"What!? What the hell is mixed?"
"Like are you mixed with sumthin cause yer skin is dark and you look like you could have one big eyebrow."
"Bwahahaha!!!! What the hell are you talking about?!?!?"
"Yer a cross breed right? Like yer ma and pa is differnt."
I sat there looking into her glassy blue eyes, searching for even a faint glimmer of something that smacked of racism but only saw confusion and a family tree with no branches. I let a big smile play across my face and leaned back in my chair.
"Oh you want to know what nationality I am."
"Uh, you were born here right. In Wisconsin right? So yer nation is America. But are you mixed breed?"
"Good lord if you say that one more time it might be the end of you. NO DO NOT SPEAK. I promise if you speak you will likely make it worse. My mother is of German decent and my father is of Hispanic and Native American decent. Does that explain the dark skin and I do not have one eyebrow. I wax my eyebrows from time to time to keep that shit under control."
"Oh I knew it. I knew you was mixed with somethin I told Kevin the first day you moved in, "That man ain't white. I hope we don't have ta worry bout them. Looks like he married a white woman though so he could be ok or she jus likes mixed guys."
At that point I muttered this little saying my mother taught me under my breath, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." It helped considerably and I did not hospitalize either of them.
Then she looked off across the yard during the awkward silence and said,
"No, its just good that you a nice guy. In fact my dad said you are the nicest mixed neighbors we ever had. Now I can tell him we ain't got to worry bout nothin. He's gonna laugh at you when I tell him bout yer eyebrow wax. Actually I won't tell him that cuz then he will think you are one of those mega-sex-u-als."
"Metro-sexual. The term is Metro-sexual. You'd better quit while you are ahead cause you are on a slippery slope and you got some shitty balance."
"Well my dad saw that movie Brokeback Mountain so theres no tellin who's who anymore so I won't tell him about your eyebrow."
"Eyebrows, I have two eyebrows."
"Yeah well they look like they could touch if you don keep at em."
"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh can you hear that? Thats the sound of me loosing my patience! Lets change the subject."