My Neighbor Jim
Jim was my next door neighbor when I still lived on fourth street in Madison. He was a heavy-set retiree who spent most of his time in the summers sitting on the concrete steps in front of his house glaring at the passing traffic. He is what I imagine a failed attempt at combining human and basset-hound DNA would look like. I would occasionally have these short, yet somehow drawn-out, awkward conversionations when I would pass by on my walk to and from work. While conversations were always painful, one in particular stands out.
One bright summer day I was having one of those painful conversations after a walk home from work. I was searching for an excuse to cut and run, when we were interuppted by a woman going door-to-door. She introduced herself as a representative of Knology (the rebranded Prairie Wave and local crappy ISP) and inquired about Jim's interest in switching providers.
They discussed briefly prices and options and somehow it came up that she was a director of some kind of organization that works with the Hutterite colonies in the area. At this point, Jim, without prompting, matter-of-factly informs us that
hooterites (his word) are tought as children to steal, and that's why they wear dresses, to stash all those stolen goods.
I stiffled a laugh, but just barely. It was the complete lack of uncertainty in Jim's explanation that did it. It was as though it were the most obvious thing in the universe.
Yes, gravity pulls things toward the Earth. Also, they teach them hooterites to steal when they're young! The dresses help them toat out the big screen TVs! The woman did a stellar job of pretending she didn't hear that before giving a very abridged version of her sales pitch and shuffling along down the road. Though he took a pamphlet, I'm pretty sure Jim didn't switch providers.