All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Bathing With Hippies

It is a universally accepted fact that there are certain topics of conversation that one does not bring up in polite society.   There once was three, Politics, Religion and Sex.  People talk about sex a lot more these days, and its getting harder to tell if your in polite society. Like the seven words you can't say on television (pre 1990 and cable) you NEVER talk about the big three.  It's just bad manners. 

During the annual elk pilgrimage I made a couple of trips down the mountain to soak in Saratoga's hot springs.  One one of these trips an older couple showed up to take an afternoon dip.  Since we were the only people in the pool at the time we struck up a conversation.  Which soon lead to politics.  (Not my doing). Now I've learned (it might have took awhile) that I'm not a good political conversationalist.  I'm a fairly good political debater i.e. argumentative type, etc., but not a good conversationalist.  So for the sake of my blood pressure and because my wife/family/friends tend to look at me like I'm a ranting lunatic after almost every debate/conversation I have, I've learned a few techniques that help me get along when dealing with the insane/liberal/hippie/haterofAmerica/communistnutjob types that one occasionally meets.

Technique number one.  Find some point, no matter how small, (sometimes its very small) that I can agree with that they have made, and acknowledge/feign/fake some sort of common ground or agreement with the insane liberal.
Technique number two.  If they actually made an intelligent or rational comment, of any sort what-so-ever agree that it is a legitimate point and change the topic to anything not politics.
Technique number three.  If either technique #1 or #2 has been even slightly successful in averting my derision and sarcasm, and there is no possible way to politely get the topic changed; I change the topic to something that they will likely know nothing about or dislike so that they will let the whole thing drop.

Now about 95% of the time the three points above work wonders for me and allow me to keep some semblance of decorum while I preserve a degree of personal integrity where my philosophy/politics/religion are concerned.  My basic technique can be summed up as, avoid conversations with liberals in the first place, fake agreement on some small point, polity change the topic, change the topic at any cost. Like I said normally this works out pretty well for me.  I avoid stupid conversations that only irritate me. The problem comes when a political conversation starts out looking like I agree with the person on the substance and conclusions that they have.

I think we've all been there, you meet some, they seem OK and then something gets said that make you think, "hey these are my kind of people".  Maybe you like the same sports team, or whatever and you think, "they might be OK".  I get that way with politics.  If someone gives me a little clue into their thinking, I tend to let my guard down a little.  After all, there is no reason to avoid a topic if we basically agree.

So there I am, in my swim shorts and this older couple drops in the pool.  "How's the water?" he asks.  I said, "it's great, not quite as hot as the other day".  We chit chat a bit.  Live around here? Yep. You? Nope, passing through.  Just basic stuff, safe stuff, everyday conversation with someone you don't know, just met and aren't going to see again.  Without any warning politics rears its ugly head.  "So what do you do for a living?" she asked.  Seems like an innocent question.  We answered.  There's a problem though, when someone asks what you do, its just natural to ask them the same thing back.  In my defense I was expecting, a normal answer, something along the lines of, "I'm retired".  What I got was a dissertation on the evils of illegal immigration and how it was killing jobs in the valley.   Come to think of it he never did say what he did for a living, owned a business I think.

Anyway, he hates illegal immigration, is complaining about it.  Seems OK to me.  Illegals do push wages down.  He might be intelligent.  Seems like we actually agree on this, and with the exception of the Hole most of the state is conservative.  So I venture an amicable, "Yep, illegals are helping wreck our economy".  "Nothing wrong with our economy" he retorted.  From there it went down hill fast. I tried to shut up equally fast.  As someone who has actually read an economics text book, or two, I've learned that there is a forth topic no one wants to talk about, economics.  It's boring and almost no one understands it beyond, "me got job, good" and "buy stuff cheep, good".   This guy had a third "economic" concept he held to, "republicans bad, democrats good".

I'm now at the "change topic at any cost" option.  I go for hunting.  Major fail.  They are bunny hugging tree humpers. This has gone from bad to worse and the turd is circling the bowl. I'm considering the nuclear option.  Instead, I grab a towel and call it a day. Hippies, no matter how clean you are, still make you feel dirty just being around them.

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