Only in America: When in doubt, holler prejudice


June 11, 1993|By ROGER SIMON

I went to my local Denny's and asked for a table.

"It will be about a five-minute wait," the hostess said.

You got something against Jews? I asked.

"Huh?" she said.

I see all those other people sitting at tables, I said. So how come I can't get a table? Is it because I'm Jewish?

"Of course not!" the hostess said. "The other people got here first!"

The typical defense of the bigot, I said.

"But what do you want me to do?" the hostess said. "Throw those other people out?"

Of course, I said. That would be the only way to prove your tolerance of minorities.

"But hurting one group to help another group isn't tolerance," she said.

Sure it is as long as it's my group that gets helped and it's your group that gets hurt, I said.

"We try to treat everybody the same!" the hostess said.

Exactly your problem, I said. Treating people the same is no longer considered equality. These days you've got to treat everybody better than everybody else. It's the only way to avoid a law suit.

"But how can you treat everybody better than everybody else?" the hostess said. "That doesn't make any sense."

Sense has nothing to do with it, I said. We are talking about injured feelings. You have humiliated me in public and deprived me of my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And so, although this has nothing to do with money, I now intend to sue you for $12 million.

"I thought you said this has nothing to do with money!" the hostess said.

Is that some kind of anti-Semitic crack? I said.

"We have nothing against any religion!" she said. "We're like all restaurants today: Bad service is what we do for a living!"

How many Jewish store managers do you have nationwide? I asked.

"Gosh," she said. "I have no idea."

That proves my point, I said. And now I am also going to demand that the court make you go around for the rest of your life with a big sign around your neck saying: "I am an insensitive pig, please kick me hard!"

The hostess collapsed in a heap and I decided to drive down to my lawyer's office and begin the paperwork.

But when I got to the parking lot there was a sign out front that said: "Lot Full."

I got out of my car and went up to the parking attendant.

You got something against white people? I said.

"I am white," the attendant said.

That's the poorest excuse I ever heard, I said. You must have something against white people if you will not let me park my car in your lot. It is a well-known fact that a certain number of parking slots should be set aside on a racial quota system.

"Are you kidding me?" the attendant said. "You can't have racial quotas for parking spaces."

Nonsense, I said. There is nothing wrong with quotas as long as they are fairly applied and benefit me personally.

"But what do I care what race people are?" he said. "All I do is park cars. I don't even notice what race the drivers are."

Not noticing race is racism! I said. I intend to sue you for $26 million. The picketers will be here at 4 p.m. Or even sooner depending on when the TV cameras get here.

The parking attendant began to weep softly. "I've got a family to support," he said. "Even if I win this suit, the legal bills will ruin me and my reputation will be shot forever."

That is absolutely correct, I said. Thank God for democracy.

I walked into my lawyer's office and told the secretary I wanted to see him immediately.

"He's in with another client," the secretary said. "Would you please take a seat and wait a moment?"

You got something against balding, eyeglass-wearing, left-handed newspaper columnists? I said.

"Excuse me?" she said.

There is no excuse for you! I said. I am going to sit in the doorway and shut this joint down!

"But that will deny other people the right to an attorney," she said.

Hurting some people in order to help other people is no sin, I said. Just as long as those other people include me. And, by the way, I am going to see that you are fired and that you never work again.

"You know what I think?" the secretary said as she began packing her belongings. "I think you're nuts!"

You got something against nuts? I said.

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