Entitlements

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$99 FRAMES

The Great Reynaldo told me about the free eyeglasses I could get at Lenscrafters via a program for the homeless. I signed up, just as he did, waited my three weeks, and went in with my prescription (they would have given me a free eye-exam but I already had received a really good one via Medi-Cal).

Why did I need glasses?

Two reasons. One…my prescription has changed dramatically (I have some real vision problems – like “stick-you-in the-eye” problems that need real adjustments) and my one back-up pair (and I am ROUGH on the primary pair) got swallowed whole by TGR’s car. Oh they are IN THERE…but will never be seen again.

They showed me the same horrible 1970s Roy Scheider frames that they displayed to The Great One, then the woman suddenly said “I’m making an executive decision…this is ridiculous..these frames are just not good enough.!” Then she took me over to the rack of $99 frames, then another area that had more of them and said I could choose any from these two areas.

That’s when I flashed on one of TGR nd my favorite Saturday Night Live routines with Eddie Murphy. It is the one where he becomes “white” – gets all made up like a whte man and goes out as one (after practicing walking with a tight butt and reading Hallmark cards).

One of the things that Murphy finds out in the sketch is that “white people give each other things,” and it is nowhere better illustrated than in te loan office when a black execuitve is about to turn down the now-whitened Murphy for a loan. He is suddenly interrupted by a white executive who takes over.

‘That was a close one wasn’t it?”

“Ha ha ha…yes…such a silly negro..” says Murphy.

Then the white executive slides the cash across to him and tells him he can pay it back whenever he wants “or not at all…we don’t care.”

We have laughed hard about that whole bit, but my trip into Lenscrafters (and some other recent events) underscore the reality that we live in a land where certain entitlements are invisible – to many of us who enjoy them.

*******

Another example:

TGR (I mean let’s face it it is like traveling around with a giant spotlight – I’m no different The two of us together- haha – lookout – I mean the day we went to Capitola I would not have been surprised if they had rolled in part of the National Guard “just in case”.)

We were in the Woodstock Pizza watching the playoFf game and one of the managers had come by when I was gone to inform the Great One that the table was “reserved” and would be needed at 7 p.m. I came back. It became a running joke as 7 p.m. came and went and the guy at the next table said to me “why don’t you put this “reserved sign” on your forehead?”

TGR said “Now see HE can do that and it’s okay…but if I do it…different reaction entirely. He’s entitled to do it.”

And he was right – and I had never thought of it till then.

I can do all manner of crap for the simple reason I am a tall, college-educated WHITE man in America.

My gut lets me know that this is nothing…silly stuff. TGR posted a thing on his Facebook the other day We Get Shot With Our Hands Up.” True that.

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