This guy who plays bass invited me to a Christmas party where his band was playing. He wanted someone there, another musician, for whom he could strut his style, but I don’t think he expected me to actually show up. When I walked in, I found myself at a party for construction workers thrown by a local builder responsible for the reprehensible eight-bedroom particle-board mansions that are being thrown down like weed seeds west of Boston. I wanted to run away immediately, and quickly drank two vodka tonics to numb my effete sensitivities and stay the course for at least one song. I flirted a bit with these two enormous red-headed twins, one with a beanie, and the other with a beard, but I was clearly not their type. For one thing, I had not understood that the implied dress code for construction company Christmas parties is “Guns-n-Roses” chic, or something like that, which is everything that I have never had in my closet. More damning is that I didn’t have blue-collar-cred, the ink that I have never considered drawing upon my too-good-for-ink epidermis. Also, I was the only chink there, which is not an uncommon occurrence, but all the same, it’s a dubious distinction that seldom comes with any advantages. I found a chair in a dark corner and sat there like the sullen twat that I am.
Before the band played, the owner of the company, Ed, short, bald, slightly bow-legged, and meaty around the shoulder, lumbered up to the stage to address his employees. He started with, “Let me tell you how to make America great again.” Fuck no, I thought, and looked for the exit. “Manuel came to me when he was forty-six years old, and wanted a job. He’d moved from Guatemala, didn’t speak English, and I wasn’t sure he was right for us. I thought he was too old for hard work, and I had ten twenty-year olds waiting to fill the spot. But I gave him a shot, and guess what, for the next twenty years, Manuel worked fifty hour weeks, never missing a day, never calling in sick. We need more people like Manuel in this country. This is how we make America great again. You don’t even know how much I fuckin’ love this guy. Come up here, Manuel.”
Manuel came up on stage, wearing a tweed cap, and yes, sporting some tats on his grizzled arms. Ed handed him the mike, but Manuel didn’t want it. Ed said, “I’m not asking you to speak, amigo, I just want you to hold it for a second.” Then Ed went to a corner of the stage and pulled a canvas cloth off of some chairs, only it wasn’t chairs. “This is for you Manny, God knows you deserve it and then some.” There was a huge Harley Davidson Heritage, a $20,000 bike. I was already crying all over myself before the bike, and I don’t even know these effing people.