There is a deli in the West 50s I saw the other day that looked like a joke from a satirical sketch. It was called the “United We Stand Deli.” It had red and white strips every that led to pockets of blue with stars in it. I saw it and immediately thought it was overdone. I went in and discovered it was owned and operated by a bunch of Arabic men. They should have just hung up a sign outside that said NO TERRORISTS IN HERE, NO SERIOUSLY, WE’RE NOT TERRORISTS.
It reminded me of a thing a lot of people do, especially black people. Certain people when they are around police just start to feel guilty. You didn’t do anything bad, but you start to feel guilty. Maybe there’s a little sweat. Maybe a bit of a jitter. You start to feel like maybe they saw that thing you did in 8th grade you never told anyone about. Wait a minute, that wasn’t illegal – just gross. You have nothing to hide! Fuck those guys!! PIGS!! Then you realize that your internal dialogue is making you look really suspicious. So you try to not look suspicious which makes you look even more so. The act of trying to not look suspicious makes you look like you just killed someone. Now you’re overdoing it. Talking to the cops, trying to make conversation and be really comfortable. Looking uncomfortable though is what you should look like. There’s a movie line, I think its Mamet “You know who doesn’t look uncomfortable around the cops? Theives.”
I ran into Tom Shillue (http://tomshillue NULL.com) in the street and told him abobut the deli. He told me the story of what had happened. How it used to be the United Deli. How on 9/12 the guy squeezed the word States in the small space between United and Deli. How he put of patriotic symbols up everywhere. How the place got redone and ws born anew the United We Stand Deli.
“Wow,” I thought, “Who’da thunk someone would such an identity crisis could make such a damn good ham, egg and chesse.” Then I remembered how good my ham, egg and cheese’s are.