In the Spring of 1996, at 7 oâ€™clock one morning, I arrived at a breakfast meeting of the movers and shakers in the addiction field. I immediately made my way to the coffee bar. Iâ€™m not functional at 7 oâ€™clock in the morning and part of this meeting was my presentation about how to use The Internet to promote addiction awareness as well as their treatment centers. I quickly downed my first cup of thin, hotel coffee and looked around the room.
There were about twenty men in the group, all white, all somewhere in their sixties, all seemingly affluent, all freshly showered and shaved, all wearing good suits, and all had been to a barber shop recently. Well â€¦ I too was a white guy and had taken a shower at stupid oâ€™clock in the morning â€¦ but thatâ€™s all we had in common.
I poured a refill and wandered over where everyone was laughing and telling jokes. I was all set to pretend to smile over tame jokes lifted from the Readerâ€™s Digest. Yâ€™know â€¦ the not-funny â€śsafeâ€ť humor Bob Hope peddled for the last 30 years of his career. But I was wrong. They werenâ€™t telling those kind of jokes. They were telling â€śHillaryâ€ť jokes. Iâ€™m not against bad taste or dark humor but it has to be funny. These werenâ€™t. They were just mean, vicious, and obscene. They could have just eliminated the joke-telling altogether and simply told one another â€śI Hate Womenâ€ť or â€śI Hate Hillary Clinton.â€ť
These jokes elicited the kind of Haw Haw Haws you can imagine hearing from good olâ€™ boys Haw Haw Haw-ing as they were gettinâ€™ liquored up nâ€™ gettinâ€™ ready to have themselves a good olâ€™ fashioned lynching. Someone tapped a knife on a water goblet calling everyone to order. The jokes stopped â€¦ the laughter died down â€¦ and of course the meeting began with a prayer. Jesus Christ â€¦ so this is what itâ€™s like to be trapped in a roomful of Republicans.
Mfrom now on. I didnâ€™t care whether they believed me or not. I just wanted to slap down some business cards, unplug the laptop, and go home. I could tell most were wary of This New Thing, some were downright hostile, but they all were interested in making more money.