DFW, Continued

“It brings me up short –– his outlaw wardrobe paired with the obsequious ma’am thing –– and I say testily, Are you fucking with me?

No ma’am, he say, his hands flying to his T-shirted chest.

Then it strikes me that he’s just a shy kid from the Midwest raised to say ma’am like I do to every waitress and dry cleaner.  We scuttle inside like a pair of field mice from our inept exchange.

Back in my chair, the filter of my head notices how people keep talking about being grateful, as in I’m so happy to be thankful to be grateful to sit here with you nice sober folks. I look around and think, Your lives must suck worse even than mine if this constitutes fun for you.

Eventually, I raise my hand high enough to get called on.  I announce that I doubt I’m an alcoholic, since I never drink in the mornings, and nothing particularly bad has ever happened to me –– not bankruptcy, car wreck, nor even the standard mugging.  While I expect some indictment, everyone smiles that sugary smile I mistrust and nods, and the lady next to me whispers, Keep coming.

At the end, when everybody grabs hands to pray, it’s like some dreary ring-around-the -rosy, and I refuse to mouth the words, instead gaping around at who’s dopey enough to go along.  The musician and his friend do, and the professor, Perfectly smart people,  talking to air with grave expressions.  Go figure.

On the way out, I pass bandana’ed David talking with great speed and animation to the musician.  David’s actually holding up his finger in some Confucian posture, saying, It’s a logical fallacy that they’re telling me I have a disease whose defining symptom is believing you don’t have a disease, since this a priori implies that any citizen who denies they have this ailment is no doubt infected…

Like me, he’s obviously here to educate them to their cult’s fallacious thinking.”


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