Of all the hues of prejudice that the disparities in skin tone might paint upon the psyche, the one that strikes as the most glaring is often the one that gets smudged and then smeared over; a recent glaze upon a remnant stain, as seemingly seamless their strokes may merge.
Mr. B’s diabetes flouted conventional therapy with a flourish, or so it seemed until I crosschecked with his pharmacist. He had refilled not one of his medications since the day they were prescribed. In his defense was a reason, way more appalling than the familiar ones, or at
“We should have let him die,” he said. “It would have saved us time and money.”
I was in a large supermarket in the late afternoon. At the busy cheese counter, I took a number and stood waiting in the large crowd. When my number was called, I pushed through the customers to the counter and gave my order. After I’d finished, I took a half-step backward and collided with someone.
As I turned around to apologize, I found myself facing a young woman who towered over me. I am white; she was African-American and wore the uniform of a meter maid. I said that I was sorry, that I hadn’t seen her.
I was waiting on a friend who had injured her arm. They entered later and huddled in the seats nearby, murmuring in hushed Korean and peering at the English signs.
“Hey Doctor Curly!”
“Hey Hungry Hippo!”
“You still haven’t gotten a haircut? Have you had one since your Bar Mitzvah?! What nice Jewish girl’s gonna go on a date with you with your hair that long?!”
“Been working long hours in the hospital, Linda. Haven’t had a chance yet–I will! How are you feeling? Are the steroids still helping your appetite?”
“Ooohh weee, don’t you know it! I’m eatin’ everything in sight! Now tell me doc, is there cancer in my brain? If there is, I don’t wanna know. We’re gonna run that half-block marathon next year, aren’t we, Doctor Curly?”
In a few years, we were financially back on our feet. But, much