Monday, October 16, 2006

They Got Me Good!

I was involved in the filming of some new kind of "Candid Camera" / "Punk'd" / reality show this afternoon. For a second, I was really worried about some of the participants, but I figured out they must be actors, so that made me feel better.

I was in the grocery checking out, when a group of Observant Jews came in the front doors. I call them "observant" not to knock those who are "unobservant" but simply because I don't know what else to call Jews who have their head covered, conservative colors, and wear prayer shawls under their clothes. I would call it Orthodox, but one of the younger guys had his shoes untied and his shirtsleeves rolled up, so....

Anyway, in they walked. It's not particularly groundshaking to me. I've never seen them at the store before, but with the amount of Kosher products, signs, and information around, I'm betting there are plenty of Jews in the neighborhood. Anyway, the only reason I paid them attention was their black clothing and head coverings (possibly as a result of my own adventure with one).
In the checkout lane next to me was a typical suburban shopping couple: a woman and her 7 year old daughter. The daughter sees these noticibly-attired people enter and says, "Mom, who are they?"

The mother shushes her. "Don't stare. They're not saved."

Her daughter continues staring. The kid thinks in that way kids do, where you can watch the thoughts form on their faces. Complete with brow furrowing and thoughtful lip downturn. After a bit: "Doesn't Jesus love everyone?"

"No, honey. Not everyone."

"What!?" This part was me. Have you ever been punched in the stomach? When you are, your body reflexively tightens your abdominal muscles to protect yourself. This tends to expell some of the air you naturally keep in your lungs. That sound was the sound I made. I wrote "what" because that was what my brain was screaming at that point. In fact, my brain may have screamed SO loud that a bit of the sound leaked out my ears.

The mother gave me the nastiest look I've seen in a long time. The sort of "how dare you judge me for teaching my daughter to judge others" look. I was, frankly, shocked. It's not often I see naked loathing in public. Most people learn to hide it.

But the more I thought about it, I realized it just couldn't be real. They were actors, and I was being filmed. I should have known. No one is that closeminded. No one is that rude in public. No one teaches their daughter how to condem people at sight for being a different religion. No one feels that much hate against people who haven't done anything...



  1. Wow, that's amazing (in a not good way) and hard to believe that someone would say that.

  2. What I liked the most about that story was the line, "Don't stare. They're not saved." I think it's fantastic that the woman didn't feel it necessary to hide her contempt for you and the allegedly godless heathens walking through the store, but she still placed value in having her daughter be perfunctorily polite to them.

    In keeping with the completely ridiculous nature of the whole situation, that, to me, would be similar to asking a member of the Klan to say "excuse me" every time they lynched another victim.