I ventured into the outside world last night, always a mistake.
The Steelers game was still in the first quarter when Cooter sat a few barstools down from me. "I thought Marcus Mariota played for the Titans," he said when Mariota was on the screen in his Titans uniform with "Mariota" emblazoned on it.
"He does. That's him."
It was then that I gave up on having any sort of conversation with my neighbor. About him, sure, but not with him.
"How big is the 10 inch pizza?" he asked his server. Those were his actual words. I excitedly texted Allie.
And then, for the second time in a month, a man sitting next to me watching a football game told me how he doesn't watch football anymore because the players disrespect the troops. I'm incredibly tired of this moronic hypocrisy, and I tried to shut him down immediately.
"The troops argument is nonsense. They never mentioned the troops."
"They disrespect the flag, then!"
"That either. They knelt during the anthem. The rest of this is manufactured bullshit. To hear you people tell it, Colin Kaepernick shit on the American flag, wadded it up, and threw it at a veteran in a wheelchair. The man took a knee in a dignified protest."
He then accused me of not standing for the anthem or, curiously, the pledge of allegiance. I ridiculed his oxymoronic notions of compulsory patriotism, and I asked how many calories he'd expended complaining about cops shooting innocent, unarmed black men.
"Well. My husband is a veteran, and he won't watch the NFL anymore," sniffed Freebird the bartender.
"He hates the troops," said Cooter, gesturing to me.
"Well, I thank your husband for his service, and I wonder what about it entitles him to dictate citizens' freedom of expression. I kinda thought the troops defended that stuff."
That was pretty much the end of it. They're content, I'm sure, to think me a troop-hating, flag-burning libtard that they humiliated with their dazzling riposte. They can say whatever they want, really, so long as they say it elsewhere. But as Cooter scooped up all of his degrees and left, I couldn't not say goodbye. It wouldn't be right.
"Good luck figuring out how big that 10 inch pizza is."