OT — I Kissed a Far-Right Republican
Yeah, I know. Shocking. But it was a long time ago.
(Just for the record: people think I’m a far-left liberal, but I’m really not. If I had to define myself politically, I’d identify as center left. But yeah… after the past five years, I am strongly anti-right.)
When my dad passed away in 1998, he was living in a high-rise condo complex in West Hollywood. A few of his friends and I spent several days clearing out his unit. One time when we were heading back and forth and were outside my dad’s place, the elevator door opened and a man with a distinctly recognizable face came out. He saw us and approached, asking about my dad. I asked if they were friends, and he said more like building acquaintances, but he’d always liked my father. He was sorry to hear about his passing, expressed his sympathies, and asked if we were having any sort of memorial for him. I said yes, told him where it was, and then we went about our business.
Cut to a month later, at my father’s memorial, a well-attended function with a lot of TV writers and a few well-known faces. I suppose some would say this crowd was the Hollywood liberal elite; so be it. After the speeches and tributes were given and people were milling about, I was making the rounds through the room and saw someone hovering alone in the back of the room. I approached, and saw it was the man from my dad’s building. He seemed kind of hesitant and shy, hanging back there, just quietly observing. I came up to greet him, and asked him if he’d like to get something to eat or drink. He said, “No, thanks… I just wanted to pay my respects to your father.” I took his hand, and impulsively, I leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you so much,” I said. Shortly after that, he slipped out.
So…. who was the mystery man?
If you don’t know who Ben Stein is, Google him. He’s had quite a career, and when I refreshed my memory by reading his Wikipedia article, I cringed more than once. Iconic appearance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” notwithstanding, he’s pretty awful. And of course, now I know why he was so reticent at my dad’s memorial — he didn’t fit in with that crowd, and he knew it. I mean, come on. Ben Stein wrote speeches for Richard Nixon… and one of the men in attendance had been on Nixon’s “Enemies List.” No lie.
Still… he liked my dad. For a few minutes, that transcended politics.
I think back on that and sigh. How times have changed. If something like this were to happen now, what would I do? Would he have still shown up? What would I say?
Probably nothing different. Probably would have politely thanked him.
But I wouldn’t kiss him.
Life is strange, and strangely sad, sometimes. Have a good weekend, y’all. Be safe. ♥