Monday, June 11, 2007

Sweet Memories Of A Day Gone By

Ahhh. The Anchoress's recent visit to a heated (in more ways than one) bookstore reminds me of my 10+ years working at Borders. Specifically, it reminds me of what it was like being one of the few openly Republican individuals on the store's payroll. You want memories? I got memories for you:

  • Back around 1991 or so, some flaky semi-avant garde co-worker hissed at me when she found out I was a Republican. Two days later, she suddenly lashed out at me: "WHY are you a REPUBLICAN?" The questions was apparently rhetorical, as I must have had the mark of the beast on me already, in her eyes, anyway. She went off about racism, sexism, abortion, and a few other keywords without actually trying to turn her tirade into a dialogue. "And don't tell me you like George Bush!" she cried, referring to the then-President. "Okay, I won't," I said, as I stood back and listened to her educate me on his "cronies". That was funny because every president in my lifetime has been surrounded by people who could be labeled "cronies". I was getting a little hot under the collar myself until she informed me that she, as a twelve year old, cried when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980. I had to beat it because I was on the verge of busting out laughing in her face at the thought of such sheer idiocy. What a nut case.
  • A couple of years later, whilst off duty, I brought a friend of mine into the store to do some shopping. He bought a couple of conservative political books. His cashier was wearing a "Save the rain forest" t-shirt with pictures of cute animals in the jungle. My friend questioned the sentiment of the shirt, and my co-worker came over all self-righteous about it. As we walked back the the car, my friend grumbled a few choice words about the rain forest guy.
  • One time I bought a copy of The American Spectator magazine at work. The cashier who rang me up asked why I was buying this fascist magazine. Later I found out that he, too, was a Republican -- but one who had spent a few too many years inside the beltway, and as a member of the legal profession, to boot.
  • Another ex-lawyer on the store's payroll was decidedly left-wing (he had worked for Ralph Nader at one point). He was never openly confrontational, but he did quietly complain to others when I chose Edwin Meese's autobiography as my recommended staff selection one month. It was well that he should have had such a reaction -- I had him in mind when I chose it! Another time, he pointed out all of the Republican authors on the non-fiction bestseller list and said that it raised "serious doubts about democracy". I'm sure plenty of Democrats would be willing to throw up a "Sieg Heil" behind that notion.
  • When a girl from NYC expressed disappointment about Pataki beating Cuomo in 1994, I couldn't help making a comment about Democrats from New York leaving the United States if they didn't like the election results. Another girl, one from around here, grumpily muttered a non-sequitir about them not being able to afford such a move, unlike Republicans. I later married that girl, so my life today is one big grumpy non-sequitir.
  • When Rush Limbaugh's books were best-sellers, a woman customer (who I thought was kind of hot until she started talking) stopped by the cash register to tell the guy standing there that she couldn't believe that Borders was carrying a Rush Limbaugh book! Why would they do such a thing? The guy, who happened to be an Assistant Manager, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Uh dunno." Great way to stand up for free expression and cater to a wide range of paying customers, dude!
  • Some idiot woman customer once requested my aid in locating a copy of P.J. O'Rourke's Republican Party Reptile. Why was she an idiot? She was sure that Republicans must HATE P.J. O'Rourke because he made fun of them in his book! I tactfully played dumb and agreed with her, whereas I really wanted to laugh in her face.

I could go on and on. Perhaps another time. Perhaps not.

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