Let’s Mecca Deal

It is disheartening that lately we have to be told NOT to kill every Muslim we see. I already knew not to do that, even before President Bush told us not to. It’s common sense, really: Don’t kill people. Duh.

I don’t see Muslims that often anyway, as I live in a place not known for its diversity (Utah). But when I do see one, I don’t think, “Kill that guy!” I think, “Hey, it’s a Muslim person. Huh. How about that. Look! A flower!”

Where does all the rage come from? I’m angry about what happened, too, but I’ve managed to keep my emotions in check. I get angry on the freeway all the time, but so far it hasn’t caused me to do anything illegal. Unless tailgating is illegal. Which it is. Never mind, then.

(The other day I was driving to work behind one of our special senior citizen friends, and her license plate frame said, “Grandma’s my name, spoilin’s my game.” I assume she meant it as in “spoilin’ the grandkids,” not “spoilin’ Christmas dinner” or “spoilin’ my trousers.” Anyway, what she was spoilin’ was my drive to work, as she was driving 55 mph in the fast lane.)

So it’s scary that there are Americans who really need to be told not to kill each other. It’s a sobering reminder of something we should keep in mind every day of our lives: We have a lot of very, very stupid people in this country.

I don’t know if we have more stupid people per capita than the world average. I don’t know if our stupid-to-smart ratio is any higher than anyone else’s. (Actually, I bet it’s higher than Japan’s. Woo-whee, those guys are SMART!) I just know that many of our fellow Americans are dumb.

And what’s the deal with the South? How does a whole region get to be that way? Not dumb, necessarily, but, you know, odd. It can’t just be the inbreeding. The British Royal Family is inbred, but they still manage not to shoot their guests at wedding receptions or eat raccoons on dares.

But back to my original thesis: I’m going to get a license plate frame that says, “If the only thing you’re passing is a kidney stone, you don’t belong in the passing lane.”

No, that was my second thesis. My original thesis was that the Muslims are our friends. Or not our enemies, anyway. I personally don’t have any Muslim friends, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it, as long as they watch “The Simpsons” and don’t mind picking up a check now and then. And as long as they’re not dumb, which I sort of have issues with, as mentioned in Thesis No. 3.

Notice I avoid the term Muslim-Americans. I believe it is unnecessarily divisive. “Muslim” is not a nationality. It’s a religion. (Really! You can look it up!) No one says Catholic-Americans or Unitarian-Americans. They’re Americans, and they happen to be Muslim. If they go to a restaurant that offers a 10 percent Muslim discount, they should get it, assuming they are at least 10 percent Muslim.

There is a great air of mystery about Islam in the United States. Muslims are a distinct minority here, and while we tend to have a live-and-let-live attitude toward our non-Christian brethren, we also tend not to learn about their non-Christian beliefs. So as a public service, I have compiled this primer on the differences between Christianity and Islam.

CHRISTIANITY: Teaches that mankind can be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
ISLAM: Teaches something else.

CHRISTIANITY: Follows the teachings of the Bible.
ISLAM: Follows some other teachings, possibly from someone named Karen(?).

CHRISTIANITY: Occasionally is given a bad name by a few fundamentalist lunatics, such as Osama bin Falwell.
ISLAM: Ditto.

I hope this helps more than it hurts.

Old people, bad drivers, Southerners, dumb people, fundamentalists -- it's like a catalog of everything I like to make fun of. There are also numerous tangents, a quasi-serious point to be made, intentional misinformation, a quote from everyday life (the license plate frame), and a reference to dining out. In other words, this is every "Snide Remarks" column ever written.

I got this angry e-mail at work:

You are so sarcastic and I don't appreciate your type of humor at a time like this. Why don't you leave the paper and go work somewhere else where people can appreciate you, we obviously cannot!!

I guess I have to agree with that last statement.

Remember these post-9/11 days? You couldn't do ANYTHING fun anymore, not "at a time like this." But then again, if we stopped doing those things, "the terrorists have already won." So we were kinda stuck.

The bit about getting a 10 percent discount for being Muslim relates to this earlier column.