By Dave Simpson, columnist
“You wouldn’t believe the rude comments I’ve gotten,” the lady told me.
“And the notes stuck under my windshield wipers.”
She was a little older than I am – increasingly unusual, because I’m 70, and older people are getting harder and harder to spot. It’s all young squirts these days, especially at the gym. More young squirts than ever. Squirts everywhere.
And as people my age are wont to do, she struck up a conversation with me, a complete stranger, in a parking lot, as I walked from my pickup toward the door to the gym I go to most days. (Exercise is what keeps geezers like me spry. And feisty.)
For some reason, folks our age are more willing to talk. Maybe it’s because we’re no threat to anyone anymore. If someone doesn’t want to talk, and doesn’t respond to our friendly efforts to strike up a conversation, well, that’s their problem. Not ours. Their loss.
A 70-year-old guy isn’t going to run off with your trophy wife, so what’s the problem?
Waitresses at restaurants call guys like us “honey” and “sweetie,” because the notion of us being any conceivable threat to anyone is flat ridiculous. So they re-fill our cup of senior discount coffee and call us “darling” because we’ve reached the harmless little old man stage. Kind of sad.
The lady was standing by her red sedan, pointing out that the car directly in front of her car was identical. She said that happens a lot. So she has to check the license plate to be sure it’s hers.
And that’s where the problem was. Big problem. She was quick to point it out, before I noticed, and maybe drew some untoward conclusion and walked off in a huff.
Her license plate? A vanity plate including the capital letters:
“It’s not what you think!” she said before I could say anything. She apparently thought I might be offended, convinced that she was some kind of nut. Someone who agreed with the 75 million people who last November voted for the guy (I can hardly remember his name) who wore a hat with those letters on it. Remember him? Big crowds turned out to see him. Nice wife.
“My grandchildren call me Maga!” she explained. And she got the vanity plates before those letters became fighting words, words that could get a Big Gulp poured on your head if you wore a MAGA hat into a fast food restaurant. Before you could get beat up in Portland for wearing a t-shirt with those letters emblazoned upon it.
“It’s OK,” I said, explaining that I have a MAGA t-shirt hidden away in my closet, given to me by a relative in 2016. It fits perfectly, but I’ve never had the guts to wear it to exercise, or anywhere else, figuring that in the current climate, the letters MAGA are fighting words. I don’t need a Big Gulp poured on my head.
“People say awful things when they see that license plate,” she said. “And they leave notes under my windshield wipers.”
Poor thing. But I suspect her life will get better now that our country has decided that the very last thing we want to do is make America great again. Maybe someday soon Maga will stand for grandma again, or some other harmless thing.
You hardly ever hear that phrase anymore, maybe because the masters of social media have decided that the very act of thinking about making America great again is blasphemy, akin to questioning election results. Something like that could get you “de-platformed,” and sent to Facebook Purgatory. (No cute grand baby pictures for two whole weeks!)
And, with things going so swimmingly under the guidance of Joe Biden and his giggling vice president, the last thing any of us want to do is to make America great again.
Been there. Done that. That’s so 2017.
And now we’ve moved on to secure borders, fiscal restraint, and administering vaccines – which we all know is far more difficult than creating vaccines.
The adults in the room.
Interesting times, wouldn’t you agree?
Giving Grandma the dickens for her vanity plates.
Dave Simpson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org