Scott Baio walked into a bar.
“Hey,” the bartender said, “we don’t serve your kind here.”
“This is America, pal!” Scott Baio said. As if what the bartender had said was, “Hey, this isn’t America!”
Scott Baio sat down at the bar, but now the bartender was pointedly ignoring him. Scott Baio knew what this was about, of course. A few days earlier, he had posted an unflattering picture of Michelle Obama on his Twitter account, with the caption, “WOW he wakes up to this every morning.” Since then, he had been receiving death threats and being called all sorts of names. But Scott Baio was not concerned. He knew what type of person he was, and what was in his heart. And he knew that if people just got to know him, they would stop telling him that he should go kill himself.
“Hey, buddy, come here,” Scott Baio said to the bartender. “I want to show you something.”
The bartender reluctantly turned around, and he saw that Scott Baio was pulling out his wallet.
Scott Baio’s wallet was a simple black leather number, with a billfold, and a fold-out windowpane holder for his driver’s license, his credit cards, his health insurance card, his Blockbuster card, his Lord and Taylor card, his Jimmy John’s punchcard, his Blimpies punchcard, and a photo of a black guy he tore out of a magazine. The photo featured a muscular black guy in a black t-shirt and sunglasses with his arms crossed leaning against a car. Scott Baio couldn’t even remember what magazine he had torn the photo from, but that photo now went with him everywhere. It was folded in half, and the crease was becoming soft and overworn, and sometimes Scott Baio feared that the photo of a black guy that he carried around in his wallet would rip in half. For awhile, he considered having the photo of a black guy scanned and reprinted and laminated so that it would not tear, but he realized that in the worst case scenario, he could just find another picture of a black guy in another magazine and carry that picture around. Although, he wasn’t sure what kind magazine he would have to get to find such a picture. Probably Black Monthly, right? He would cross that bridge when he came to it.
Scott Baio pulled out the picture of a black guy and he flattened with gently against the bar. “Now let me ask you something,” he said to the bartender. “Would a racist carry around a picture of a black guy in his wallet?”
The bartender stared at Scott Baio.
“It’s OK,” Scott Baio said. “I understand that judging others is an easy way for people to make themselves feel better. I get it. But before you judge, you should do your research, man. Apology accepted.”
“But I didn’t apologize,” the bartender said.
Scott Baio laughed long and hard. “Look, man, the Hollywood rumor mill is a crazy thing, take it from a pro who knows first hand. But as you can see, I have a picture of a black guy, which I keep in my wallet at all times. So. How about a Jaegerbomb.”
“Look, Scott Baio, when you walked in here, I didn’t think you were racist. I definitely read about the Twitter thing, but I think posting an unflattering picture of Michelle Obama is just unfunny, kind of mean, and possibly in bad taste for a public figure, not racist. As you should have been able to see from the Obama campaign sign in the window, and the rainbow flag sticker on the door, this is a politically progressive bar with a firm believe in equal rights for all human beings, and since you are such a vocal supporter of the right wing, I simply didn’t want someone with whom I so vehemently disagree on the direction in which our society should be heading to drink in my bar. That was what I meant. But now that you have taken a picture of a black guy out of your wallet as proof that you are not racist, I am starting to think that you actually are really, really racist.”
Scott Baio sat in silence for a minute. Then he pushed the picture of the black guy closer to the bartender, thinking maybe if he just got a better look at the picture, then he would see what Scott Baio was talking about. But the bartender pushed the photo back towards him and shook his head. “No, Scott Baio,” the bartender said.
This was ridiculous. It was time to pull out the big guns. “Look, buddy, I didn’t want to make a big deal out of this. I’m just trying to get a Jaegerbomb. But now you’ve made it personal, and I am taking it as my personal mission in life to prove to you that I’m not racist.”
“The thing is, Scott Baio, that is not a proof I ever asked you to ma–”
“MY WIFE’S BEST FRIEND IS BLACK!” Scott Baio said perhaps a little more loudly than he had intended. But then he leaned back on his stool with a satisfied look on his face. He made a “boom” gesture with his hands, and then folded his arms and waited for the apologies to come rolling in. There was silence in the bar. “I’VE MET HER A BUNCH OF TIMES! JAEGERBOMB ME!”
The bartender sighed. “Scott Baio, you are making me deeply uncomfortable. Please just get out of my bar.”
“Would a racist have been able to direct episodes of The Wayans Broth–”
“Please, Scott Baio, that is more than enough.”
Scott Baio glared at the bartender as he gently and oh so carefully refolded the picture of the black guy and tucked it back into his wallet, which he then closed and put into his back pocket. Scott Baio placed both hands on the bar and slowly pushed himself back, and then he stood staring at the bartender.
“Me and LaTrondo will take our business elsewhere,” Scott Baio said. LaTrondo was the name that he had given the black guy in the picture he carried in his wallet. It seemed like a very black name to him, and one that obviously would prove that he was not racist, since racists, Scott Baio was sure, had no idea what were realistic sounding black names to make up.
He made the heil-Hitler hand gesture. “Fight the power!” And then Scott Baio walked out into the molasses-dark night.