Harold was a bit bug-eyed. Not so much so that he could have been a good fit in a carnival sideshow. Not so much that it had interfered with the fact that the mounting decades had not made their mark with a requisite amount of wisdom and an experience in fielding it that he wasn’t in full possession of his own sense of worth. The major offense seemed to be more that Harold was male befitting his gender and Caucasian in he makeup of his character. Something after several decades of a general sense of drafty Liberal leanings had blown away the notion of long-standing credibility as being synonymous with anything credible or usefully worthwhile. He of course was not alone in this. The world’s monocular media had for a long time done its best to assassinate any former sense of respect that should be summoned with anything old and male. The former up had been scrupulously inverted to point one-hundred and eighty degrees opposite of anything useful or respectable.
Not having any kids of his own to bring up Harold might have been spared a more direct sense of ongoing daily conflict? But the substantial number of encounters representative of an increasingly lower boiling point symptomatic in young modern female ideologues conveyed a patent dislike for him. It was nothing that he personally was doing one way or another per set so much as the obvious fact of his gender and ethnic background that were quite currently far out of vogue. Those slight sneers and sour arrogant looking faces that once long ago might have been smiles long past in his younger days stung his pride. What after all was the cause of this continual discontent? t was if they were making it clear that as far as they were concerned it was almost a crime that he and his kind had not been wiped off the face of the earth generations before. Though this made him steaming mad as well, he decided that it was better to repay the slight with an even greater level of demonstrated indifference for them. To much experience over the years with the opposite sex assured him that when circumstances put him at cross purposes at a doorway, his own sense of absolute ignorance of their immediate might have hamstrung their ardor. Their fundamental primping in arranging their best parts with comb and dress demanding that any male give due homage before they exercised their right of rigid refusal and demonstrable outrage in affront by the notice of same. They might have worn a modern device with a miniature loudspeaker that would automatically bleat in an angry outraged tome, “What are you looking at!” to any passing male of his generation came within sight.
After a number of years, even he became immune and unless the demonstrable negative entreaty of the passing female was far above average in its crescendo he became immune. What became more noticeable was the increasing number of young ‘toffs‘ that sprang up masquerading loosely as men. More than once an audible ‘tsk‘ might accompany the shake of the head. The mutually agreeable dedication of entire younger generations to patent role reversal whose prowess at resurrecting Tinkertoy approximations of very fast and loose Hollywood fiction of the past. What made it amazing to him was when they were directly imitating his own generation’s era. In this version as with the all others of course blacks and women were the heroes and men were at best pretty playthings for the latter. It could have been forgiven one supposed that frequently broadcast the notion that a ninety point female could not only toss a two-hundred and fifty pound male at will across the room. But that there was ever a thick layer of vain arrogant stupidity under the varnish of any male whose slip of masculinity was too evidently apparent. The right of the feminine in this culture no matter how far it might derange any former common sense was to be inviolable! This formed a moat over which the younger generation romped and played their way through life far away from his own. One incident of late that came repeatedly to mind had transpired within a vegan-happy gluten-free health food chains where he had deigned to purchase one or two of their more affordable items.
This PC proud establishment prided itself on its unspoken policy of giving equal regards to the staff and perhaps a bit more so if the obviousness of their genetic makeup classed them as being officially stamped as ‘underprivileged‘. One of the results was the occasional demonstration of this demographic being absent or late to their stations so that the early bird customers would have to line up more than patiently to away service from one line only. Irritating certainly but not the end of the world. His own habit of getting in and getting out before the weekend crowds assembled found him rushing towards the front reconnoitering the best possible fast exist. The morning in question there was a long line of merchandise filled carts building up back into one of these aforementioned mystery situations bereft of available store employees stemming from the middle of seven unmanned registers just to his left. And just before where he had broken into the clearing, a single young fashionable modern young female with a couple times in her cart poised before a service desk conversing with its clerk. The clerk asked if the woman wanted her to sign on to her register and check her out. The other female looked guiltily back over her shoulder at the others lining up in the middle then back at the woman and responded guiltily that, No. that was OK, she could wait with all the others. Harold stepped around the woman who was now turning her cart windward after she had just refused the clerk’s offer and he spontaneously blurted out, “I’ll take you up on your offer!”
The clerk’s face took on a confused blank expression as it was reflecting distress from viewing an explosion or some other catastrophic event. Though her visage was frozen her hand was mechanically following the habitual impulse to follow through on her original notion to ring up a customer. Harold had the distinct notion that they both considered him the ‘wrong’ customer. By some unwritten Mosaic law of Political Correctness he had violated his lowly station in the chain of existence. He might have been a lowly dirty peasant disturbing some mighty royal event near its climax for the silent thunder that was aroused. The woman who had refused service now stood glowering at him in an unwelcome manner her face caught up in an expression of both ire and one of abused victim-hood. The clerk looked at her in her own form of mixed emotions that seemed to convey a sense of shared guilt in allowing ‘this man’ to snarl his way in to a favor that should have only been bestowed upon a deserving polite female. The world was unfair alright! These goddamn old men still didn’t know their proper place!
The items were quickly totaled and though heavy were tossed or dropped with rude abandon into the institutional structural flimsiness of a single brown recyclable paper bag. The type of feel good fiction that corporate store chains had been handing out for decades. One was lucky if the damn things didn’t fall apart and your heavier grocery items didn’t go rolling not he floor before you even left the store. It was all he was going to get unless he had the further temerity to break the stony cold silence of the general sense of the current mightily bruised decorum. He wondered in the back of his mind as his ears detected an uncharacteristically uneasy calm if one of the others had somehow excused themselves format he scene and was now busy at work slashing each of his car’s tires with a box cutter? The usual formality of farewell of “Have a nice day!” was abandoned by all and he departed swiftly towards the pair of the two electronically motivated gates both inner outer making sure not to unadvisedly cause to much vibration to detach and disgorge the paper recyclable satchel heavy in his grip.
Outside the store two cars advanced towards him threatening to violate the pedestrian zone at the breakneck pace of fifteen mile per hour. The drivers of both seemed impatient that Harold was not hurrying his pace as the one forward whisked past in front of him over the warning yellow lines. He could feel the sharpness of daggers from the other that had very ceremoniously halted a scant five feet away. His own vehicle lay centered in the midst of the empty portion of the parking lot in the distance. He continued at a mindful pace feeling unjustifiably humiliated until he reached the old sedan and seated both his groceries and himself securely within. It was hard for him to digest why he was cast as villain in ll these daily petty dramas that seemed cooked up in their many perverse permutations on prime-time television or in those generational movies that proclaimed themselves comedies but whose over worn snide dialogue in combination with their weary pratfalls brought only tepid laughs. The odd thing about it was the majority of those who played along with this were the children directly sprouted from his own demographic. Their relish for engaging in these attitudes seemed matched only by their own strange sense of enigmatic guilt.
It was if most of them unconsciously felt that they could wash themselves and their identities clean by sacrificing by constantly their own elders on a public altar. If any from the designated underclasses decided to take advantage of the situation in a manner that caused harm or loss then it was not their fault but rather one that was upon the backs of their own most aged parents? The current locally and otherwise headlines were rife with egregious acts from beyond Harold’s caste but the blame seemed to instantaneously stick to him like fuzzy dust to Velcro. He had to wonder how far this absurdity could go if everyone got their seeming wish and he just plain one day disappeared? Who then would bear up the brunt of this eternal undeserved blame? Or would the whole thing collapse upon itself when those whose arms had wearied from casting stones one day looked int he mirror and found themselves to be the only viable perpetrators left to admonish. By then of course the ceaseless flow of outsiders foisted by the pernicious establishment would no doubt have evolved to demoting these former critics into what they just comfortably wanted all along. A disenfranchised incidental minority with no discernibly influential voice to raise it anymore on behalf of their own innocence or everyday needs.