There was an establishment I used to stop by once in a while for a refreshing cocktail beverage in Winter Park, Florida. It was called the FBI, short for Fairbanks Inn. Weekend nights they had bands play and some moshing took place. Years ago, we would have called it a dance floor. They called it a pit. That was at night. We were all happy hour types and not into that crowd at all. You'd run into all kinds of people during the day, white collar, blue collar, and plenty of those who had no collars at all. Lawyers, doctors, construction company owners and bums. The place had been in existence for a long time. Over the years, I must have loaned uncounted amounts of $10 bills to people I knew there. Most of the time I'd get them back.
An older fellow who used to frequent the place was quite the character. Most would say he was definitely "different." We called him "Loudmouth Don" because he was, well, very loud. And opinionated. Extremely opinionated to the point that if he got into talking about something he didn't like, no, check that, despised, his face would turn red and the veins in his neck would bulge out, arms flailing away, spewing quotes from the Old Testament. Those somethings he didn't like generally were about (not me saying this) n*ggers and Jews. Hated 'em with a passion. This was coming from a man who went to church faithfully every week. Praise the Lord and pass me the hangin' rope.
Don must be in his late seventies now, but, he's always been in good health and is stronger than a bull. I rarely see him anymore, but, aside from his quirks, I genuinely like him and thought naively that somehow, someday I could change him. One time, he was off on one of his tirades and I challenged him, "OK, Don. You find me somewhere, anywhere in the Bible, the word n*gger and I will drop all of my beliefs and conform to your religious and political views for the rest of my life. Go ahead. Find it anywhere in the Bible. If you don't find it, then would you please refrain from using it so loosely?"
"Well, %@#%&*!, I'm gonna find it!"
I guess taking the Lord's name in vain is all right to a man with an extremely limited vocabulary when in a state of agitation.
I stopped in the following week. He wasn't there, but, my friend Tony was. Tony's a pretty smart guy. He told me Don had found the "N" word in the Bible. I said, no way. He said "Yes sir, Dave. I saw it myself. Don was all excited and went on and on about how he got you. He said, Dave thinks he's so smart, I'll show him."
I said, "No way, Tony."
He said, "Dave, I saw it myself."
I don't know how many days later it was when I had that all omnipotent run in with Don and his King James Version. All bright eyed and excited, he screamed, "I gotcha, Davey!" He liked to call me that. Veins were popping everywhere. Immediately, he opened the good book to where he had so carefully placed a marker. Between the two sides of scripture on a page, some Bibles have a reference area called the concordance that directs you to verses.
He pointed to the word. "I found it all over the place. There it is. Look at it!!!"
Yup. I read it. Right in plain view was THE WORD.
I said, "Don, no, no, no, that's a river. The Niger River. N-I-G-E-R. It's also a country in Africa. And there's Nigeria. The word you're talking about is a derogatory term. It has two Gs in it." He didn't know what derogatory meant.
"Well, it sure does look like it to me."
I explained as best I could how terms come into existence, like Florida "crackers" from the crackling sound of their whips as they round up the herd. I gave him several examples, all of which I thought he could relate to in some way or another. He calmed down and didn't quite seem to get the entire gist of it. But, he was OK and I didn't have to give in and adhere to his strict and twisted beliefs. Whew.
In any event, I don't know if Don really learned anything from that conversation, but, I sure did. I learned that Tony wasn't the best speller in the world.