Much is made of this town’s sociability, and nowhere is it more evident than at the post office: a town center of sorts. You’re almost sure to meet someone you know. Before you’ve finished greeting him or her, another friend or two show up. It’s not uncommon for small groups to hang around, catching up on what’s new, especially the gray-haired crowd who don’t have too much else to do. Putting that bench in the lobby was an act of social
genius. If you’re not in a hurry, you can spend hours schmoozing, even if you really only came to get your mail.

And then there’s the bulletin board, a steaming trough of information, ranging from upcoming clinics, classes, concerts and dances to notifications of town business, job opportunities (scant), and more. There are ads for bicycles, bedpans, trenchers and tractors, homes for rent, homes for sale, firewood, house and petsitting gigs, yoga retreats, etc., many with those cute little tear-off phone number tabs to help you call later, from home, but more likely discovered weeks afterward, crumpled in a corner of your wallet, when you can stare at them without memory or comprehension.

It is surprising, then, in the midst of this heart-warming scene, to find artifacts of small-mindedness or bigotry. Several times, over the years, I’ve come upon racist, inflammatory literature purposefully set out on the sorting tables or on the bulletin board. The target has always been either Jews or Mexicans. This week’s offering, a modest, brown paper square of 2.5 inches, tacked to the bulletin board apparently was clipped from an old newspaper:

Pretty scary, huh? After 95 years, they’re still at it! Circle the wagons! No less of an authority than Sacha Baron Cohen, in his scholarly treatise Borat, instructs that Jews, like cockroaches, can squeeze through openings as small as one quarter of an inch. OMG, no one’s safe!

There are young crazies and old crazies. It’s safe to presume that this particular villain is a senior bigot, though. Jews? Communists?1920? How old-fashioned is that? The world’s moved on to ISIS, donchya know? Would someone please wake grandpa up, he’s drooling
on his shirt!

Bigotry is the low, dank swamp where fools and desperadoes dwell. There’s something pathetic about those who, in order to feel good about themselves, need someone on whom to look down. If you’ve got to be racist at all, Mr. Zit, at least target individual Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, or Unitarians who have done something specific to earn your contempt.
Your one-size-fits-all tar applicator identifies you as a dunce. Please, learn to love yourself a little more. Perhaps, then, you won’t feel the need to slander other folks.

Discerning readers may know from his name, ample snout and rabbinical beard (see
photo) that this writer, himself, is a Jew. Quelle surprise! You can use that quaint fact to dismiss everything he has said, if you are so inclined. Although, if you do, your logic’s circular, a little like that timeworn gag we heard in grammar school: (Q) “Why do elephants paint their testicles red?” (A) So they can hide in apple trees. “Have you ever seen an elephant in an apple tree?” “No, never.” “See? It works !!”