Drew thinks I don’t know what an angry person he is.
The anger comes out only in brief, unexpected moments, like this weekend at FAO Schwartz. Since the company had just filed for bankruptcy, the place was a madhouse of Christmas shoppers looking for bargains. I’ve never much cared for FAO Schwartz, because, let’s be honest, it’s the snobby kids store. And who likes snobby kids? As it turns out, even their liquidation sales are highbrow: a mere 10-20% off everything in the store. Well, la-dee-dah!
Whenever my parents would take me to FAO Schwartz as a kid, I wasn’t awed by the enormous piano keyboard you could step on or the two-story-tall stuffed animals, because I knew these were toys I’d never own. I kept picturing what kind of family would spend $20,000 on a mini Ferrari designed for eight-year-olds, and I imagined the kids who’d tool around their estate in it, mowing down the gardeners and wait staff. I hated them even then.
Today, those kids are adults, and they’re buying toys for their own kids at FAO Schwartz. And they’re still assholes. On Saturday afternoon, I found myself holding the door open for them. All of them. You see, I’m one of those guys who gets stuck holding doors open all the time, not to be confused with a doorman who is one of those guys who gets paid to hold doors open.
I initially held the door because I saw a woman behind me with a young child in a stroller. But before she even got through, three other women squeezed by her. All of them walked right past me without even making eye contact, let alone saying “Thank you”. And when the stroller woman finally made it through, she ignored me, too. I’ve never been a mother of young children myself, so forgive me for being judgmental, but I’d think that such people would be used to depending on the kindness of strangers. We hold doors for them, we give up our seats on the bus, we help them up and down curbs. Well, at least, we’re supposed to do those things. Not everyone does, but that only makes me think that a woman with one or more young children would be grateful to those who do. Not this bitch.
And after she walked past me, so did several more people and their kids. No one gave the slightest acknowledgment that I was doing the world a favor. They saw me as exactly what they were making me into: an utter chump.
Drew, who had been safely through the door for over a minute now, was waiting patiently for me and watching me get angrier and angrier. It turns out he was a bit angry, too.
“NICE WAY TO TEACH YOUR KIDS SOME MANNERS!” he shouted.
Drew, like me, is not a guy who shouts often. When someone doesn’t shout much, the times when they do shout tend to have a big impact. And Drew’s shouting at the FAO jerks had a big impact on me.
Naturally, he got a little embarrassed. He apologized to me. This is because he thinks I don’t know he’s an angry person. What he doesn’t know is that I don’t mind that he’s angry. Every one of those creeps who walked through the door is angry. What I love about Drew is that he’s angry for all the right reasons.
Maybe it’s from watching “Angels in America” last night, but all of this put me in a very philosophical mood. And it got me to ponder a deep, eternal conundrum: do rude people go to Heaven?
Of course, I don’t really believe in Heaven. I don’t want to believe in Heaven. When people talk about Heaven, they talk about choruses of angels and clouds and flowing white robes and all the good people of the world coming together and singing hallelujah in perfect harmony. That doesn’t sound fun to me. Heaven sounds like an opera, and I hate operas. I want the afterlife to be more like a Beck concert. That’s something I could deal with for eternity. If Heaven is anything like what I’ve heard, Heaven sounds like my Hell.
But let’s say there is a Heaven, and that there also is a Hell. And let’s say Heaven is the good one, just for the sake of argument. In that case, I don’t think people should be excluded from Heaven just for being rude.
Rudeness stinks, but I have to admit it’s not evil. Just because somebody doesn’t give you the “thank you” wave when you let them merge in front of you on the highway or say “excuse me” when they body-check you at the mall, I don’t think they should get hot pokers jabbed in their testicles for all eternity next to Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer and Dick Cheney. I think it’s entirely possible that someone can neglect to say “excuse me” or “thank you” and still believe the Russians love their children, too.
But if rude people are running around Heaven, won’t that cheapen the place a bit? Is paradise going to be full of people blowing cigar smoke on my cloud and playing their harps really loud when I’m trying to sleep? I know sin makes Jesus cry, but how does he feel about getting cut off on the freeway? I hope there’s at least some kind of etiquette purgatory where non-evil assholes have to go to learn some manners before they can graduate to the big joint.
The thought of rude people in Heaven fills me with dread. All I can picture is me holding open the Pearly Gates while one righteous jerk after another saunters past me as if I work there or something. I’ll just stand there, feeling sad and powerless, because I know that St. Peter’s watching, and I don’t want to make a bad impression. But also, it’s because I know that Drew’s waiting for me right on the other side. And he’s about to lay every last one of those dickwads out.