N. B. ... I hesitated to publish this one. No one enjoys airing laundry in public, but I'm hoping this will provide a touch of catharsis.
SO... one of our mariners named T, a short old tub of shit scumbag who works for my company, went out on his deck to throw off our lines. We were moored alongside them for the night, you see, and it was time to go to work.
"Hey, you guys know how (my company's recruiter) stopped the riots in Ferguson? He dropped applications from a helicopter!" Silence. The gang on deck look at the guy, or, more accurately, we all look away from the guy, saying nothing, acknowledging nothing.
"You get it? The applications made them run away. And no one looted any workboots!"
Look, I hate the overuse of the phrase 'dog whistle." But this was one. Racist shit from a guy I already know is racist, a man who doesn't really know me. I'm old enough to have realized that most qualities that people list to justify being racist come as a marker of class, not color. Assholes come in many shades.
I've met T before. I already don't like him. He's a loudmouth, which is a mortal sin among mariners, as well as being lazy and profoundly stupid, and, to boot, an out-of-the-closet racist.
Look, if you fired every mariner who ever made a bigoted statement, there'd be no mariners. Every one of us, regardless of our skin color, has said dumb, mean-spirited racist shit that we're not proud of. I include myself. Most of us have the basic decency to be ashamed when it happens, and, of those who don't, have at least the smarts to keep their mouths shut when among strangers.
Now, before I had reason to dislike T, I already disliked T. He's got one of those personalities that, 15 seconds after you meet him, you already know that you will never, ever like the man. Which pretty much is the opinion of everyone when the guy's name gets mentioned, which, usually is associated with something negative. Dude don't have a lot of friends, is what I'm saying.
My former right-hand man, who is black, had to work with T for a week. This was after D's promotion, when he was given his own barge as barge captain. Done as a favor for the ladies in HR.
Tony immediately got into why he didn't like niggers. D, a calm, positive, polite guy who is damn near always ready to smile and is one of the more personable people I know, refrained from throwing the little shit over the side, and, out of pity for any dependents that might rely on the douchebag, didn't report this little repartee to our offices, settling it with a 'you don't talk to me. Period.' sort of agreement, for which I now honor him for his restraint.
Well, rather than go along to get along, and continue admiring my feet while uncomfortably waiting for the prick to shut up and/or die of heart disease, I have had enough. As I said, I already don't like the guy, and now I've got venomous dislike for him.
"Hey T? You know I'm in an interracial marriage, right?"
Now, I've pulled this one before. Invariably, it shuts people up FAST. Most turn purple, stammer apologies follow. Some suddenly get blacker than thou, and a guy who was all "I'm not in the KKK, but I understand where they're coming from," suddenly was marching on Martin Luther King's left-hand side back in the day. Well, not T. The man's number than a pounded thumb, and a pretty proud racist, I guess. I drop my little bomb, get a lame "You know I wasn't talking about black people, right?"
Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife isn't actually of African descent,
being half Brazilian Indio and half Italian, but that doesn't matter. I don't have skin in the game, if you want to get technical, except that some shit you just can't let go.
"Really? Who were you talking about, then?"
Silence follows. Blissful silence.
Well I can name this tune. Prevaricating is about to happen, and to cut that off (because who wants to hear that from a man you neither like nor respect?), I simply say something along the lines of "You need shut your mouth and walk away."
I don't want to rat the guy out. I figure the assbag's pushing 60, is at least 100lbs overweight, and is only about 5foot 6, so a long retirement's unlikely anyhow. It may not have been the right thing to do but I took my own advice and closed my mouth too, and walked away.
Later, a trainee deckhand told me that he was very happy I shut the guy up. For my part I got embarassed that a kid green as a leaf on a tree had to see the quality of some of the barge folk in my company in that light.
So, the rest of the watch was tainted, after that. I was pretty pissed off, and you know every man hates that feeling of regret when you don't beat the tar out of someone who so desperately needs beating. But I'm not the type to beat a middle aged man, and I'm not going to get my ass fired for the sake of a moment's pleasure. But Lord, I wanted to. My blood was up all day, and with no outlet for it, I tried to bury myself in work, but it being in single digits temperature-wise, that wasn't happening either.
Some days are better than others, I guess.