So I was jogging a few blocks from my house yesterday afternoon and a Honda Civic filled with a quartet of rotund young gentlemen pulled up at the stop sign at the corner of Daines and Persimmon. As a respectful pedestrian I ran behind the car in order to give them an open roadway. As I passed I clearly heard the word "Faggot" yelled out of the window.
          OK, so it's 2002 and I was a bit taken aback that somebody still uses the word "faggot."
          As the straining Civic made its left turn away from me I stopped and stared at the car and heard another "faggot" so I raised my arms as a challenge. I mean, four large-and-in-charge young bucks should have been able to easily handle one skinny faggot. But the driver just made some very intimidating swerving motions, as if to let me know he was too civilized for the narrow-minded, testosterone-fueled response that would be necessary if he returned. I admired him for refusing to stoop to my level.
          Evidently my admiration was a bit premature or the peer-pressure from his fellow fast-food junkies was too great because not more than a minute later here came Roscoe, Cooter, Enos, and Daisy ripping around the corner. In retrospect I certainly felt sorry for the Civic's rack and pinion steering. But I digress. You know how, when your friend needs a ride and he walks toward the passenger side to get in and you gas it about ten feet so he can't reach the door, and you laugh and say "just kidding" and then just as he catches up and the door handle is close enough to his grip that he can taste it and you gas it again but then say "just kidding" again? Well, my new buddies must have felt empathy for me since I was laboring in the late-afternoon Southern California heat and decided to give me a lift. But instead of pulling over and offering me a ride, they passed me and braked about 30 feet ahead of me. As I jogged a few yards closer the car zoomed ahead another 10 or 15 feet and then stooped again in the middle of the street. Now I was becoming annoyed. I mean, if you think I'm a faggot, that's cool, because everybody's entitled to their own enlightened opinions. But to pretend that you're gonna help a brotha out then crush his hopes on the jagged rocks of this practical joke....well, that's just not humorous in my book.
          And to top it off they yelled "faggot" again and blew around the corner.
          As I continued jogging I ran through the alley that runs behind the Ralphs on Live Oak and Santa Anita. Just past the supermarket there is a newly-opened cyber café. You know the kind of place. It's a game room that has the windows tinted dark to keep outside light and eyes from intruding. It is usually populated by young males with too much time on their hands so they play violent computer games against each other. So it shouldn't have much of a shock to me when, lo and behold, who do you think I ran into parked behind the cyber café. Yes, your friends and mine, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse themselves, the bringers of light and truth, peace, love and tolerance personified. And what were they doing, you ask on the edge of your computer seat? They were eating Jack-in-the-Box! Apparently spreading joy around the world builds up quite an appetite.
          So I walked up behind the car, memorized the license plate and, in the event they were fueling up for another round of playful debate about my sexual orientation, I informed the behemoth that was leaning against the Civic's quarterpanel sipping from his super-sized Dr. Pepper that I would be reporting the incident and the license plate to the local authorities. In between belches mi amigo essentially replied that he understood, throwing a goofy smirk that clearly showed me he thought I was bluffing.
          As a continued on my way I did notice, though, there was nary a "faggot" comment to be heard. I can only assume that these four chaps had learned a hard-earned lesson and would travel the world sad and wiser men (or was that the Ancient Mariner?).

Post Script: Late 90's Honda Civic, Charcoal/dark gray, plate# 4TKN376

30 July 2002