So much for the wisdom of the elder generation

Jason Ginsburg

I was getting ready to go to bed on Easter Sunday when I noticed that there was no Coast left in my shower for the morning. And since personal hygiene is so important to me, I drove straight over to the 24-hour Walgreens for some more soap ... and a six-pack of Rolling Rock.

At that late hour, the store was virtually empty, but there was one other customer ahead of me in the checkout line, and he was buying up half the store: chocolate bunnies, stuffed animals, perfume, and bags of Hershey's kisses. He was stuffing it all into a big, plastic Easter basket with a card that read, "To My Loving Wife" on the front of it. How sweet! I gave the fellow a little nudge.

"Your wife is one lucky woman."

"I know. So am I."

Whoa. He was wearing a suit and a tie, with a crew cut nearly as sharp as my own. But he wasn't a he. I could see that now, after she had turned around.

After she had left the store, I turned to the elderly gentleman behind the register and gave him a little smirk.

"At this time of night, I bet you get all types in here, huh?"

"Pardon?"

"You know. The she-male. Xena, the Warrior Princess."

"Oh, the young lady, you mean. Yes, we do get all types, but that's all part of living in the big city. I mean, things were different when I was a young man living in Humble. You never saw people like that back then, except at carnivals and such. It was a very conservative town with good, conservative folks, but there was not much tolerance for that sort of thing."

"No gays at all?"

"No sir, they didn't even like the Irish moving in. But times have changed, and I figure you've got to change with them. Now, I can't be sure why a pretty young thing like that would go around dressed like a man, but if that's her choice, she's welcome to it. This is America, after all - not Cuba or Canada or some other place."

"I think they have lesbians in Canada, too. I think that's where they buy all their flannel."

"Doesn't matter. The important thing is tolerance, son. As you go through life, you're going to meet all sorts of people, including some you may not approve of."

"Like President Clinton?"

"Sure, but that's no reason to rock the boat - no reason to get folks all upset. You've got to get along with people, despite your differences."

"You think so?"

"Hey, my boss is one of them homosexuals himself, but love him like a brother. Jesus tells us to hate the sin but love the sinner."

"Jesus told you that?"

"Well, not personally, no. But you've got to have faith - faith in Jesus, faith in people, faith in life. We're all God's children, you know."

"Even the homosexuals?"

"Sure. Even the Jews, probably."

That night, I got more than soap and cheap beer from the store. I took home a valuable lesson as well:

No matter what happens in my life, I'll never become a tired, old clerk at Walgreens who gets along with everyone. @%!* that and @%!* him. And if you don't agree with me, I'm going to run over you with my car.

Ginsburg is a

senior RTV major.

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