Recognized Social Butterfly



Twists and Turns On the Bus and in the Gym

Yesterday when I sat down on the bus, a group of men were bashing Trump as the worst President ever. In a jaunty tone, I offered my opinion: Trump in all of his trumpery has less integrity than Nixon, the maestro of deceit and trickery. My newfound pals liked my comment. We all continued to bemoan the fate of our country under Trump’s half-baked right-wing agenda. I had never before met such politically kindred souls on a bus.

All of a sudden, one of the older men opposite me sang, with great gusto and vibrato, the opening chorus in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. It was an enjoyable contrast to the gut-wrenching critique of our woefully non-presidential President. And I told him so, much to his delight. When he was done, he said that he once was in the chorus at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu. I replied that St. Andrew’s was a venue for some of the choral concerts my wife and I have attended. He seemed pleased to hear that.

Then a slightly inebriated man sitting next to me said that although he was not much of a scholar, he proudly proclaimed that he had once read the complete Bible in four months, “thank the Lord Jesus, hallelujah.” He followed with an “amen.” I, trying not to be too pedantic, revealed that the word amen comes from the Hebrew word omain and that hallelujah derives from the identically pronounced Hebrew word. He seemed to be a little taken aback about the connection. I should have left it at that, but I was on a roll: I guess inwardly I didn’t care for his bragging. So I mentioned that there was something his faith also “stole” from the Jews, Jesus himself. The man, perhaps thinking that my comment was insulting, admonished me: “You got to share the love; you got to share the love, man.” I apologized and put my hand on his shoulder as the bus reached my stop.  I hope I hadn’t dampened his fervor for too long. I stepped off the bus, subdued and chastened as I entered the gym. Trying to be witty, I had said something witless.

I made up for my faux pas after my workout. Near the exit, I noticed a cheerful young man who had myriads of New Testament verses exquisitely tattooed in tiny print along one of his arms. Awed, I complimented him for using the tattoos to reflect his biblical faith. He explained that he got the idea from Ephesians, where Paul states that Christians need to wear the armor of God (the breastplate of righteousness). I was impressed with the young man’s ingenuity and resolve.  He then warmly shook my hand, told me his first name, and hoped we’d meet again at the gym. I said it would be my pleasure to do so. And I sincerely meant it.

I felt so much better (almost buoyant) leaving the gym than entering it after I had embarrassed myself at the end of the bus ride to the fitness center.

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