Saturday, February 26, 2011


I was cooking up Chinese-style pepper-steak and I needed peppers, so I went out to the store while the beef was cooking up. There was once a time when this would have been unheard-of for me. In college I stuck to a vegetarian diet. I balanced my amino acids, took vitamin B-12 supplements, and did everything I thought I should have and I still felt lousy, so after about four years of that I quit and added a little animal protein to my diet.

We buy beef and pork from The Meat Shop here in Phoenix. Grass-fed Angus beef and grain-fed Yorkshire pork. It's good to shop local whenever you can. Besides, it's better.

Anyways, I was standing at the checkout and the clerk asked me "How are you today" and I replied "Fine, thank you."

There was a man behind me who chimed in with "Then you must not need a heart transplant."

"It's funny you should mention that," I said, adding that I was a transplant nurse at a hospital in this region.

"You probably won't be doing many of those now," he said, in reference to recent controversy regarding our governor's removal of transplant coverage from the Arizona state medicaid program. The powers-that-be are continuing to go back-and-forth on this issue. A couple people have died; they were initially eligible for coverage, then died after they had it cut by Governor Brewer. It looked bad politically so some AHCCCS transplant coverage has been renewed, I think.

"Well," I said, "They have insurance." Meaning that you don't get transplants without insurance.

"You must be a Republican then if you think everybody has insurance," he said.

"FUCK YOU!" I replied. "Don't EVER call me a Republican!" I was bristling.

The clerk asked me to cool it, but I had already mopped up by proclaiming "Patients have DIED because of Republicans!" About fifteen people stopped what they were doing to watch. Time stood still.

I guess I had misunderstood the guy. He was really of the same mind as me.

I took my bag and went out, but I went back in and apologized to him. He took me to his car because he wanted to show me his bumper-stickers. He opened the driver-side door of his Camry saying "I have to take this one off or Republicans will scratch my car," and he produced a normal-sized but rubber-magnet styled bumper-sticker that read "AZ GOP = KKK." We shook hands and made up.

He was an older dude. He explained that he was a small-business owner who was familiar with the problem of providing insurance for his workers. He seemed like a salt-of-the-earth pretty nice guy. Lifelong Democratic sort.

Then I went home, sliced up the green, red, and yellow bell peppers, some onion, cooked the rice, and finished making dinner.


been there said...

Yes, making a stand without care taking others clearly cuts to the chase. It is needed even when others are not comfortable. People need truth.

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I wish the people who decide these things had to look the people in the eyes that are going to die due to their decisions. They look the other way when they see homeless people, ignore hungry children, and don't care that the elderly have to choose between food, medication, utilities or rent. Compassion seems a thing of the past. Glad you made some noise in defense of your views, and new friend.

wunelle said...

I have a similar horror that because of my job I am presumed to subscribe to a suite of beliefs and convictions that I find draconian and ignorant and offensive. And I think I overcompensate, being very quick to loudly proclaim that "I'm not like most airline pilots" to anyone who catches wind of my profession.