A scene in the downtown Portland Target store

Published 2016-07-06

Guy in videogame t-shirt nearly shaking with rage, berating the electronics dept. employee. About some gadget they don't stock? Some kind of fitbitty thing? Apparently they have it and MANY OTHERS like it in ENGLAND! There is clearly some kind of conspiracy keeping us Americans from this very important gadget you know.

I couldn't stand to be within 20'. Dude just radiated that special kind of entitled nerd anger. THE INTOLERABLE INJUSTICE OF NOT HAVING A WIDE ARRAY OF FITBITTY OBJECTS TO CHOOSE FROM. And this extra entitled subtext: can you not see, Target employee, how this is SO VERY WRONG? Of course you are ALSO incensed at this injustice, are you not?

The dept. staffer and a security guard managed with grace and good humor to divert this guy peaceably outside.

Five minutes later same Target employee rings me up. He and the security guard are cracking dark jokes, not quite haha funny. About each others' phones (one has an iPhone, the other an Android.)

And they crack jokes, not quite jokes really, about the video of Alton Sterling being murdered on camera execution style by cops. They insisted on showing me the video on their phones but I demurred.

Kinda beating around the bush here but Entitled Videogame T-Shirt Dude = White, Target Dudes = Black.

Chew on that for a minute. Don't reply, don't think something hasty. Don't imagine why someone would be justified in any particular reaction.

Just imagine those two worlds touching.

The world where a great, intolerable, MAKE-A-GODDAMN-SCENE-IN-TARGET injustice is: "I can't find the fitbit thing I want." This world is pretty much my world. Yesterday I spent an hour writing a letter to the city council about parking.

And the world where a dark-reality-we-must-cope-with-using-humor is: "someone who looks like me might be executed by cops without a trial." I will never ever have to live in that world. I can keep on writing letters about parking and glide always above it.

These worlds are not morally equivalent places.

And then, at the place where those worlds meet…

The inhabitants of We-Might-Get-Executed World have to take the entitled ranting of the inhabitants of Why-Am-I-Being-Refused-My-Fitbit World with poker-face good humor.