Once, long ago, I was driving home in Toronto late at night after playing cards with my sister Elizabeth and her husband Wendell, when a convertible full of young men swerved in front of me and stopped. I hit the brakes and managed to avoid rear-ending the convertible.
As I waited for the other car to get out my way, a burly youth got out of it. He swaggered over to my car window and snarled something about me being a Wop and how he was going to teach me to improve my driving. I suppose he figured I must be Italian since I was driving a Fiat.
I got out of the Fiat and looked the young man over. He was a blonde with what we used to call a crew cut. And, more to the point, he was about twice my size. And muscular.
Furthermore, he had lots of reinforcements if he needed it. There were four other hefty looking young men waiting in the convertible.
“I’m not a Wop, I’m a Jamaican,” I told the young man. “And if I were you I wouldn’t bother to fight me. You’re a lot bigger and younger than me. If you beat me, it would be no big deal. But if I beat you, then you would look pretty bad, wouldn’t you?”
Taken aback, he was speechless for a while. Then he warned me to improve my driving and rejoined his buddies in the convertible.
I remembered the incident this morning as I read about America’s continuing stand-off with North Korea.
What does a mighty country like the US have to gain by fighting one of the poorest little nations on earth?
There would be no glory in victory, and there would be so much shame in defeat.
(And of course, there’s also the possibility that the conflict could trigger an apocalyptic nuclear holocaust. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. They seem far more concerned bout looking manly and tough.)