Thursday, October 14, 2010

"And if we wake up in the morning,

.....then we'll know we're not dead." - Stan Marsch

It's a bleeding sin how much I love South Park.

Everyone has a little topic that can set them off. For some people it revolves around sports. For others it might be a politician or a celebrity. But I've noticed that in general if you hang around someone long enough, you can learn of one or two things to say to them that will send them into a frenzy. I'm no different than anyone else and have quite a few of these pressure points; and I got one of mine pounded a few weeks ago.

I was at a cook out, which they call bar-bees here, and having a conversation with what I thought was a very intelligent guy. We had already talked about the standard subjects mostly involving differences in our cultures: sports preferences, culinary contrasts, traffic laws. When he learned that I was from Louisiana he decided to start a conversation about Hurricane Katrina. He started to ask me some leading questions and I answered them neutrally as I usually do in these situations until I determine where the person is going with it. As I was answering one of his questions he abruptly interrupted me with this statement (word for word): "Oh no, that's not true, you see I watched this documentary, it was by Spike Lee, called When the Levees Broke and (interjects his "correct" statement that directly contradicts what I've been telling him). My jaw dropped. If I had been amongst close friends I would have immediately assumed that this was a prank. Kind of like "hey little sister go ask grandpa about the war and watch him get all fired up." I could easily envision a situation where a friend tells an innocent bystander "hey you see that guy Robert, go make some ridiculous claim to him and tell him your only source is a documentary by SPIKE FRIGGING LEE and watch him go through the roof." A small film of my own played in my mind in which I slapped the daylights out of this guy....But I quickly shoved my hand in my pocket, politely ended the conversation and walked away.

I got to thinking. I read every article that was printed about the hurricane before, during and after it occurred. I had friends who fled New Orleans sleeping on my couch in Houston. I bumped into the refugees at the Target by the Astrodome. I saw the pictures of the destroyed houses that belong to my Aunts. I took this in for months and a guy 6,000 miles away watches a 4 hour dvd by a director whose shining achievement is The Original Kings of Comedy and he has the brass to interject the answer to a question that he asked me? And let me be clear here. I have no problems with the documentary. I've never seen it, nor will I ever watch it. I don't think Spike Lee is a credible source to make a documentary about hurricanes or New Orleans. But I've gathered enough information from other credible sources that I don't need to watch this movie to speak on the subject. What really grinds my gears, is that this guy watched one documentary and accepted every single claim it made, as the gospel. Without question. Without reserve. It is downright scary to me to think about what people will believe if you put it in a movie. Gutted.

I was in the grocery store the day of the Tennessee game. I turned down the bread aisle and spotted the familiar burnt orange lone capital T on a grey hooded sweatshirt. I recognized it immediately and got excited. I've never seen an SEC supporter in New Zealand. I quickly walked up to the guy wearing the sweatshirt and asked him if it was for Tennessee. He seemed to get excited too and said yes. I slowly unzipped my jacket to reveal the purple jersey with LSU in big bright gold across the chest. He looked about as puzzled as a 5 year old with a child proof lighter. His words stung me "L (pause) S (hesitantly) U...what's that?". I didn't really know how to explain myself. I wanted to be like "What do you mean what's that? You don't know what LSU is, give me that sweatshirt! you don't deserve to wear it." I said "You know we played you guys today in football?" And of course he replied "Oh I lived in Tennessee for like six months and just bought a sweatshirt." Gutted.

On Saturday night I was in the Mighty Mighty bar and spotted a guy wearing the Hi How are you? t-shirt. It's a well known piece of graffiti art in Austin. Once again, i got really excited as a friend of mine had JUST sent me the excite same t-shirt in the mail a few weeks before. I briskly left the conversation I was in and marched up to the t-shirt guy. "Hey you from Austin?". Once again, completely puzzled. "Your shirt, it's an Austin, Texas t-shirt?" Spark of recognition (maybe). "Ugh, Oh yeah, I think I nicked this off a friend, I just thought it was a cool shirt." Mini-movie of me slapping him. Gutted.

And finally.....REDEMPTION. I went to Bunnings (NZ anemic version of Home Depot) to buy a shop vac. I asked one of the employees where I could find a shop vac, he helped me pick one out, we headed back to the cash register to complete the transaction. He commented about my accent and asked where I was from and to my surprise HIS eyes lit up with excitement when I said Louisiana.

Really?! What part? (he's excited and I'm intrigued as no one other than Americans ask what part of LA i'm from)
Baton Rouge
Really???!!! Did you go to school there? (now he's visibly excited, to the point that the other girl at the counter has started to eves drop)
Yeah, I went to and at this point he speaks the letters LSU in unison with me and pretty much goes through the roof.
"Aw man!! Were you there at the same time as Big Baby?"
Yeah I was, I actually have a picture of Big Baby standing outside of Walk On's with Shaq. I've also got a picture of me and Shaq together.
(the kid is practically turning cart wheels now) "Holy Shit!! Big Baby is my favorite basketball player in the NBA, he's pretty much my favorite player of all time, I freaking love that guy."
At this point I started to laugh. Here's a kiwi guy who's clearly a rabid NBA fan and his favorite player in the league is Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Not only is this his favorite player, but he knows where he went to college and what city it's in. This is truly commendable considering how difficult it is to be a fan of ANY American sport over here. This guy made my day. He didn't want me to leave the damn store. He was rattling off facts of Glen Davis, asking me questions about him. I've never seen anyone more excited to find out that I was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was laughing for the rest of the day about that conversation.

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