Mistaken Identity Corrected
As I have been told by many people, I look like an ass-hole. As the saying goes, "With a haircut like that, you know he's an ass-hole." And standing just shy of six feet tall and weighing just over two-hundred-fifty pounds with very little fat, the shining dome upon my head gives me the aura of needing a pair of combat boots and coveralls. Oi?
No, not here. I have seen all of the ignorance in America I care to see. For at one time, I was an ignorant youth. Then, I had the combat boots and coveralls. It was the fitting thing to do when you were hitting puberty with your hairline running from your forehead. By sixteen, I could use a child's doll comb to keep my hair neat. So away it went. Now, I have been bald for over fifteen years.
After my spell of ignorance, I carried guilt and remorse for my attitude and felt an overwhelming need to make retribution for those I hurt. And I did. After I healed my soul in my very early twenties, I joined the Marine Corps to share my love for the world with others who needed to express themselves in the same manner. During this time, there was no difference of race....there was only Green. And if they Navy was involved, they were all Blue. And that is how is was, and is. For there could be no unity in the fight for freedom without unity within ranks. A new sense of pride took over, but the look came back....combat boots and shaved head.
It was during the time of my second marriage that I became aware of the fact that ignorance was more a learned thought process than a learning disability. After my first child within these nuptuals had died, she became pregnant. We went to the mall to purchase new items to replace the original items we had to let go of due to memories. I walked with her in what was my usual garb for being on call for duty - green shirt, nice blue jeans, shiny head, and combat boots. If called in, I would put my coveralls on and I would be ready to work. Then it happened. From behind an older woman's voice rang within my ears...
"See that up there, he's one of those skin heads. They're no good"
I turned to see a dark skinned woman about thirty-seven years in age next to another dark skinned woman who looked a few years older. They were both smiling big. The younger woman was leaning down and talking to a group of seven children from ages of one year to thirteen. It was when I saw the children that I became angry. Within the eyes of these children there was pure innocence. Untainted love for humanity that was being ripped from their souls by that comment.
I turned around and confronted the two adults. Quickly I presented my Military ID so they could easily see my picture and the authenticity of the document. I couldn't tell if it was fear in their eyes or confusion. Either way, I knew what I had to say to them would fall on deaf ears. So I looked down, then kneeled before the children now before me. I handed them my ID to pass around and simply said...
I am not a skin head, I am a Marine.
I looked up at the women and further explained....
I fight for your right to be as ignorant as you want to be. Please don't exercise that right.
I took my card back and joined my "at the time" wife. I don't think I did any good. People still feel that same way when they see me. Like I said before, I look like an ass-hole.