So, I am sitting in the waiting room of a local hospital waiting for my name to be called so I can can be poked, prodded, stuck and tortured by Nurses, Doctors, Flobotomists and other minions of the semi-literate offspring of Torquemada and his approved practices of torture during the Spanish Inquisition. When I hear a voice a few chairs away from me saying "Eww, what is that your reading? Your going to Hell for reading that! How do they even allow people like you in a nice place like this?" All of this is said in just moments, mere seconds, a blink of an eye.
I look up from the book I'm reading and gaze directly upon the elderly woman who made such a bold assumption about my choice in literature, my Faith, my immortal soul and my affable disposition. What I see upon glancing at this lady is nothing new or remarkable, she appears to be in her late 60's early 70's, white hair, wrinkly skin, a mole on her chin and she has a look of prejudicial judgement that I have seen amongst my peers and supervisors for my entire life. Her attire is that of a woman who has been left alone for a long time. Her eyes had a dull look to them as if there were no joy left inside her and that she has spent more time alone than with friends and family. I smiled at her and waved. I then looked down at the cover of my book on it there is a color drawing of a devil sitting in a chair and the title scrawled above the devil "Sympathy for the Devil" by Brian Keene with a sub-title of "The best of Hail Saten Vol. 1" The book is basically just a collection of Opinion articles by author Brian Keene. Quite good ones too. Also, it appears that the author made many friends and even a few enemies while he wrote these pieces. I chuckle to myself and think of the old adage "Never Judge a Book by its Cover." I laugh a bit more. I look at the woman and smile again. She scowls and spits some more vile words my way "Why would anyone want to read something like THAT?" and she points a gnarled, twisted and arthritic finger towards the book I hold in my hand. "I like it" I say, "and I served in the Navy with the author. He is actually a pretty decent guy."
"Why is the Devil on the cover? Hmm? Anyone who puts something like that on their book is going to Hell and anyone who reads a book like that is going with him!" The lady is practically yelling in the waiting room. I scan the room and see that other patients, nurses, administrators and even janitorial staff are now looking at us. I smile and I shrug my shoulders in the universally accepted gesture that says "I'm sorry. I did not mean to upset anyone". Some folks glare at me, some walk away to attend to their personal business in and around the hospital. I look back at the woman who has been ranting about my book and I simply state "To each their own choice Ma'am, I am sorry you don't like the cover of my book." I get up to move to the other side of the room where she can't see me. "You people make me SICK!" she shouts. "Enjoy your time in HELL!" I smiled, waved and walked away.
Later, sitting in another waiting room, still reading my book a nurse walks by me and scowls at me and mumbles under her breath "The nerve. Bringing a Devil book to a Catholic hospital." I smile, look up and wave at her. She storms away. I go back to reading. When I finally get called in to have my blood drawn and other things done to my body that just seem unnatural to me a nurse with tattoos, odd piercings and multi colored dyed hair says to me "You and your little book have created quite a stir here today and I just wanted to say Thanks for making an otherwise boring day more fun." I look at her and say "Uh, do you even know what this book is about? Have you even heard of the author? Oh, and for the record, I never tried to cause a ruckus or upset anyone. I am just trying to enjoy some quiet time and read my book while waiting for my tests." The nurse just smiles and walks away. "Sure" she says.
When I do finally get home and have a chance to process all that has happened to me just because I chose to bring a book to the hospital to pass the time I realize that people in general just make automatic assumptions about EVERYTHING! They do. The old lady in the waiting room thought I was a devil worshiper and the nurse thought I was just trying to stir things up. In reality, all I wanted was some peace, quiet and a good story. What I got instead was harassment and admiration. Go figure.
Oh, and if any of you torturers are reading this... "Thanks for an Unforgettable Morning and please feel free to call me if you want to go on a date."