Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ugly Is as Ugly Does

It's cold out and for some unknown reason, total strangers make odd comments to each other as they get on the bus.  Today a guy sat down next to me and we engaged in the usual "Ooo Wee, ain't it COLD!" before getting out our reading material: His was his phone, mine was my Electronic Reader.

After a few minutes, this guy nudges me as some other guy gets on and he mutters the phrase "Who ever said Ugly goes all the way to the bone was sure right there, amirightbuddy?"  And I glanced up to see a guy I've seen on the bus many times.  He's short, round and very much resembles Danny Divito in his days on 'Taxi.'  He wears a dirty baseball cap and carries a dirty grey canvas zippered bag.  Dirty scuffed work books barely stay on his feet due to the laces being shorter than needed and the tops of the boots open and flapping about.  But with all his dirty hat, bag and even his jeans look well used, he is self effacing, polite and doesn't even smell bad.  

I was struck by the comment made by my unnamed fellow passenger as rather subjective and decide that his comment needs no extra input on my part.  But the more I thought on it, the more it sort of got to me.  Who is HE to be commenting on the looks of anyone, let alone this hard working sole on the bus.

Been a while since I've done a flashback and doing it while some stranger stares me down may seem odd, but let's do it anyway.

Many years ago I worked as a salesman for mobile homes. Not just any  homes, but the Cadillac of Mobile Homes. Very well made, very pricey! On one particular rainy afternoon, we salesmen watched out the front window of our office as a worn out station wagon stopped and jerked its way into the parking lot.  We could make out the dirty face of the driver, the dirty face of the wife and the dirty faces of 3 - no wait, is that 5? kids bouncing around in the back seat.  It was obvious to us that these were people just looking for a way to get out of the house  and let the kids run a bit to wear them out.

We did what any salesman would do: we stood stock still.  

The boss came out of his office and asked pointedly who was going to help the family and we all just sort of shrugged.  He grabbed a handful of umbrellas out of the closet and ran out into the rain throwing epithets of laziness back at us.  We watched as he handed out umbrellas and escorted the family into the most expensive home on the lot.  

In a short while, he returned escorting the family into his office where he made a sale. CASH. He later explained that the father owned a construction company which had just got the bid on a new high school in a small town about an hour away.  He hated to be away from his family so he was buying a mobile home for them to live in during the construction.  The wife home schooled their 5 children and didn't mind the move.  The car was borrowed as his new Mercedes as in the shop for a tune up and her BMW was across town where they would pick it up on the way home. Commission lost, Lesson Learned: never judge a book by its cover, or a person by their worn clothes, boots or dirty canvas bag.  

Coming back to the present, I note that the guy next to me was no real beauty.  He had a big red drinker's nose, a bad comb over and a beard that was more fantasy than reality.  Though he wore a suit, he smelled badly of cigarettes and I'm guessing he hadn't brushed his teeth in a decade. 

I realized he was looking at me expecting some sort of comment about the Divito Look-A-Like who now sat in the back of the bus.  All in all, I just didn't agree with his assessment, but couldn't really say that in so many words. I also didn't want to blatantly insult the guy with a comment on the drinker's nose, comb over etc.  My endeavors to be a true southern gentleman would not allow it.

In my efforts to be the Southern Gentleman, I came up with the best line I could think of.  I put my eyes back on my reader and said rather matter of fact, "We're all ugly to someone, Bubba."  We rode the rest of the way in silence.

Southern Detente, my friends, Southern Detente. 

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