The walk down Oak street was a stroll into the future. Main street transitioned from the asphalt streets of the past to the cobblestone streets of the future of the ersatz past. The downtown of the affluent bedroom community was known as the village. It was the historic future of a sanitized glorified past that never happened. The cobblestones were a throwback to the wistful glory days of no air conditioning and horse manure, replaced with Lamborghini’s and Porsches. I walked past gay Lincoln, smiling his enigmatic smile. I chastised myself. “Transgender Lincoln,” I said out loud to myself, in the hope of not offending anyone with my accidental use of the unhappy word gay. I chastised myself again. I assumed it was a transitioning Lincoln, because of the bright gay colors used in his face on the Mural painted large on the bricks of the building. Oh, if this wasn’t the only indignity Lincoln had to endure in Indiana. A nearby city had an annual Civil War battle re-enactment where Lincoln’s train had stopped, Lincoln got off, road a carriage around town and gave a speech after a union battle with confederate troops. The fine print of the brochure said it was a re-enactment of what would have happened if the train Lincoln was on had stopped at the town, and if the Confederate Soldiers had ever made it that far North.
“Sarcasm is not a spiritual gift,” screamed the Monsignor in charge of the Catholic Parish, who oversaw the Catholic School where I was interned as a prisoner of my youth & ignorance of the outside world. I had been sent to him for further admonishment than could be provided by the nuns and ordinary priests. He looked like Darth Vader with his helmet off. He was all in black and had a shriveled demonic head. His dresses were on a hanger behind him for his mass. He must have screamed lovingly because he was a priest, but I didn’t feel the love. This wasn’t my first time here. There was Sister James Edith, the nun who took the vow of poverty but apparently not when it came to twinkies, the nun who was so large she wobbled when she walked. I hadn’t invented her nickname, Weebles. I was the only one to sing her theme song to her face and laugh while she beat me with the cane “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” Somehow the cane she beat me with didn’t hurt when I was singing her the song. The marks went away “Jesus was sarcastic!” I shouted back. “He would call you a Pharisee! He would make fun of the dresses you wear. If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out If that wasn’t sarcasm, then tell me why you still have two eyes.” That was the end of my Catholic school incarceration, I was vomited out of the belly of the beast. I didn’t put it together that day, my humorous truths, my sarcasm, making me whole against the blows from Sister James Edith’s cane. Usually when the nuns beat some one up, they had a story about an accident in gym class. They thought I was demon possessed and wanted rid of me. There were other incidents. Bullies who went away embarrassed from my verbal assaults, who had bad luck in fights I didn’t really win but walked away uninjured.
I didn’t put it together until that day on the cobblestone street. Protestors were gathering in those dark days, not too long ago. They were protesting a great injustice done in a city far away. There was another group of protesters protesting the protest. I don’t know which group was which, I don’t protest, I do. I don’t like abortion, but I don’t protest outside abortion clinics, I support adoption. I don’t like when someone gets shot who doesn’t need killing, but I don’t go shoot someone else either.
“What kind of dumb ass breaks into some guy’s store and steal stuff to protest injustice,” I said to the mob. The mob of other folks said “Yeah! you tell ‘em”
“However, dumb you are, your IQ is double that guy over there,” I said pointing to my fan. “You're dumber than a bag of hammers, don’t get me wrong. But this guy is out there just looking to fight with you, how stupid is that?”
A man walked up to me and punched me right in the head. I went with it slightly, but I felt nothing. He kept hitting me. It tickled. I punched him back, and somehow that hurt, and I feel down. “Dumb ass,” I said again, and I was energized. “You hit like your Momma,” I said, and I was instantly healed. Sarcasm was my superpower.
I felt this sensation on the back of my head, mildly pleasurable, like the last time a girl ran her fingers through my hair. I turned and there was my superfan, holding a broken-bat, looking confused. He had apparently just hit me in the head with it.
The nuns had told me when I was back at school that all the money, I had collected for the poor would go instead to make better statues in the church. I questioned this and was asked, “Don’t you think God should have a nice house?” I had said back “I thought you said God was everywhere. You also took a vow of poverty, and you eat everything in sight. Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”
“Both of you folks, why don’t you take the day off and wreck your own houses! A fine way to honor the memory of people who were not shown justice, by tearing stuff up!” I preached non-violence like Jesus and found I could not be harmed by knives, bats, and fists, so long as I didn’t respond with violence myself, so long as I spoke the truth.
“You think you’re the shit.” A man was in front of me with a gun, holding it sideways, holding it gangsta. “No. No I think you’re the shit. I think you’re the shit and the smell. No, that’s not right. Your lower than shit. You’re like a scumbag.” He shot me repeatedly. The bullets fell from me. I talked to him.
“Why are you the way you are,” I asked. He did all manner of violence to me, none of which mattered. Finally, I got through to him. I saw a grown man cry.
The mob dispersed. Perhaps sarcasm was a spiritual gift. People could be reached with irony, humor, and words.