DICKHEAD, WHOM I’VE NEVER SEEN IN MY LIFE BEFORE (AND, THEREFORE, DO NOT “KNOW”), WHEN I’M NOT ACTUALLY SMOKING A CIGARETTE (AT THE TIME): “Hey, you got a cigarette?*
*This happens — almost without fail — if you light up a cigarette in public in the environs of the city proper during daylight hours here in Portland, OR.
Particularly if you’re an unaccompanied male [I don’t know if the glasses type me more easily as a “nerd” or an “easy mark” to these would-be “alpha males,” who (apparently) never have to choose their battles or size up their opponents; call them: “inverse samurai,” their success is guarranteed] — and, therefore, it needs to be impressed upon you that it’s O.K. for your concentration/single-moment’s-peace to be broken by these walking “pop-up ads” since you (obviously) have to:
(1.) be their “mommy” [i.e., provide for them; and, trust me, as I think we all know: a single cigarette will really go far!]; or else–
(2.) they’ll “kick my ass” [even a flicker of rage in their eyes at being “spurned” is sufficient to qualify as the default position these “boys” will thereupon take]; ‘cuz
(3.) it’s not a “two-way street” with the “free speech” thing here in America [i.e., a frantic sideways hand-gesture waved in my outer line of vision — regardless of whether I happen to be reading Paste magazine, Scott Smith’s The Ruins, or listening to the American Analog Set’s Set Free at the time — is covered under the First Amendment, but a casual, automatic middle finger extended by me in response (without, of course, looking up) is most definitely not covered [and, yes, I’ve received a couple lectures on this . . . ]
So . . . what else is there to say, really?
ME: Oh, that’s funny.
DICKHEAD: How is that funny?
ME: It’s a joke!
DICKHEAD: How is it a joke?
ME: Well . . . you’re a joke!
POSTSCRIPT: Needless to say, if you were walking along the sidewalk (as I was, in this case), you need to back off a bit to let the initiator of this dialogue “vent” — but out of your immediate reach (and, of course, vice versa).
I heard “[something-something] Bush-Cheney” (i.e., I’m “like” them, for not being “fair” to this “with-it” dude — which I obviously should, on the basis of no more than his being both incarnate and ambulatory here in Portland, OR), but I didn’t catch the rest.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Sometimes — without any perceivable provocation or impetus — people will say something to (or about) someone with no discernable grounds for doing so.