"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

11 July 2011

Breaking the Bank

Once, back when I lived in the greater metroplex, and was dancing with the dead for money, I was standing in a line. I was wearing what I called my la mang jacket, which has the Tibetan Wheel of Life painted on the back. On the right lapel, there is one of those ribbon pins. A green one, showing support for organ and tissue donation. An at-a-boy lasting over a year. Eventually, I would rename this garment my graveyard jacket because of the memorial patch for Jibril I'd have stitched on the sleeve. The pin and thangka, however, are important to this story.

As I was standing in line, someone bumped into me. He was an older male, looking about my father's age, pressed and immaculate in an expensive suit that stank of pretension. When our eyes met, he scowled at me, even though he was the one who did the bumping. I was raised with manners and etiquette, and said excuse me politely.

For some asinine reason I've never been able to ascertain, this somehow became my fault. I committed the affront. Probably because I have long hair and piercings, and was wearing a la mang jacket with Tibetan religious art on the back. Obviously, I must've been some kind of thug.

I let him rant. He was a banker, and he didn't need to put up with this kind of shabby crap from someone like me, for he was oh so far above that. During the course of his diatribe, I pushed some my hair away from my right lapel, exposing the green ribbon pin.

"Oh, what cause do you support?" He asked me in a condescending tone. Courtesy dictated I respond.

"It's for organ and tissue donation. See, I pre-screen potential donors."


My eyes narrowed. Now, were I as enlightened as the Dalai Lama, I could've propagandized and proselytized about the benefits of transplantation. Perhaps find out if he was a registered donor himself.

However, I am not as enlightened as the Dalai Lama. I really doubt I am enlightened at all. I had been slighted by some pretentious cunt in a pouncy suit. The look in his eyes conveyed I had gotten his attention with that little ribbon pin.

"Tell me, Sir," I began with a civil smile and formal tone. "You say you're a banker. Might I inquire what happens if you screw up at your job?"

"Well, it could mess up someone's account or ruin someone's credit, and that can take years to fix," he replied.

I chuckled. I had him...

"Oh, is that all?" My tone got a slight venomous edge to it, and then I growled. Some of the bipeds in line turned in our direction. "Well, Sir, at my job, were I to fuck up an organ case, I have potentially murdered seven to ten human beings. I have a close personal friend who is trying to get a kidney, and he could not get one if I am remiss. If I fuck up a tissue case, that's upward of fifty individuals that could not benefit, and I'll not go on about the research possibilities." I growled again. "And you have the audacity to look down your snout at me because you play with folding pieces of paper? You, Sir, are a waste of skin and thief of oxygen."

Now, I am not intimidating, but as I was speaking-I never raised my voice, despite growling-the banker's demeanor changed. He went from pretentious to terrified. It was as if a hellbeing had manifested in front of him, and was getting ready to go for his liver, after removing his genitals.

"I...I'm sorry," he stammered. "I didn't know..."

"That's right, you didn't know," I growled. "Do not assume and do not judge."

I spun on my heel. I was still in line, and my place was coming up. Besides, my father taught me once one makes their point, shut up. There was part of me, which felt very bad for the shaken and humiliated banker who now stood behind me, but now at a fearfully respective distance. Perhaps I shouldn't have snapped at him. There was another aspect that was impressed with myself for restraining from just eating him.

When I got to the end of the line, the cat in charge of it mouthed I was his new hero. Were I given to arrogance, I might have remarked how when I'm on, my words are like poisoned bullets, and I can kneecap the world. However, I know arrogance is weakness, which leads to suffering and perpetuates samsara. I inclined my head respectively, my own thanks for the complement, and left the line.


  1. I love how you show your stories! You're a very detailed and intriguing writer. Quite the catch! Whenever I come in contact with "conversations" like these, afterwhile, I just start nodding, side rolling my eyes and keeping it moving. And yeah some people deserve "a slap" as you can tell they're long overdue, but I just get bored thinking of which angle to swing at first.

    I'll definitely be returning!


  2. I admire your ability to think of something to say off the cuff like that. My way is to shrug and just tune them out, then think of multiple brilliant come backs later.
    I wish I was quick enough to pull something like this.
    Great post!

  3. It sounds like the kind of conversation I would have had retrospectively.

    Only occasionally can I actually gather my thoughts coherently enough on the spur of the moment when faced with somebody as objectionable as that.

    I'm so glad you did. I have to say, I think you're a bit of a hero too.

  4. Tuesdai; Thank you, although it seemed this cat required a backfist.

    Sydneylk; I think it was luck and annoyance that inspired my reaction.

    Sarah; I have an ICU nurse friend who constantly thanks me what I said.

  5. "stank of pretension"-my favorite.
    This reminded me (I was in high school at the time) of a banker I once encountered at a friend's house while wearing my black leather jacket and ripped jeans. He was the father of my friend, and since I was in their home, I did not make a bold stand as I would have somewhere else. It hurt my feelings, though, because my friend didn't stand up for me either. He apologized the next day, but it just wasn't the same...

  6. That sucks that such a thing happened to you. I've never liked the judgments made upon a surface observation. Probably because I'd been fucked with about how I looked long before I grew my hair long, rand hoops through my ears and nostril, or got permanent drawings done upon my skin. This was one of those times, by luck, I was able to stand up for myself, and I guess I took advantage of it.

  7. You remind me very much of my friend Wolf in this post. I very much enjoyed it, I suspect you were saying what a lot of people would like to. But a little understanding goes a long way - the world would not be in any way a worse place if I didn't turn up to work tomorrow, but that doesn't make me a bad person of itself.

  8. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It does seem that understanding works both ways.

  9. I love your posts. While I used to be more outspoken faced with situations like this I don't think I could have managed the conversation with the same level of skill. Now more often than not I would just turn away and brood over it all later.

  10. Thank you. Although it was just a lucky moment, as far the words I used whilst speaking, in some ways, I think it was a moment I almost let my temper get the better of me.