It seems like the older I get the easier this one gets. Here’s an example…
We have this local fish place here in the sticks where I live that is just wonderful. It’s like going over to a favorite aunt’s house to eat—except you have to pay money. It’s a buffet style affair and there is always plenty. But, on a rare Friday night, the fries run low. This is understandable because they are probably the best fries you’ve ever put in your mouth and everyone is amiable about it. You wouldn’t chew out your favorite aunt would you?
So the fries, as it happens, had run out and there were several of us who had—possibly unwisely—gone back for seconds. Some, I suppose, were there for thirds but as I said, the food is really good. Standing as we were in line, we began to talk a little. I noticed, during this time, that there was a member of our armed forces standing and waiting on fries too. The voice was a little high, but then I realized that ‘ma’am’ would be more appropriate than ‘sir’. About this time the shrimp came out and if there’s anything country folks like better than good fries its shrimp. And a few settled for that and went and set down leaving this young woman and myself waiting. Well as it happens the fries came about then so I waved her on and she said, “These are sure good fries…”
And I said “Yes sir.”
Pause for mortification for recede.
Now the first thing I should have said was, “Thank you for not kicking my butt” because she had several inches on me. And she was kind in her passing comments about the uniform. But it was one of those moments where you could tell there was some pain involved.
I don’t know, I figured I was the last person on earth who would make a mistake like that. I worked in clinical labs for a LONG time. Me and about two other guys I know out of a million or so lab techs. You’d think I’d be able to get that one right. But I didn’t.
I suppose the ‘no man can tame the tongue’ verse in James applies. I suppose I could fall back on gender roles as prescribed in the Bible and talk about the confusion that comes when we cross those lines. But the truth is that she was doing her duty and I was not.
I was more worried about the fries than the gospel. I must be a Baptist.
So I’m writing this to remind myself that I am, on occasion—less than some think, more than others—a moron.