A Borders Story

(For some reason I remembered this at work today & it made me laugh, so I’m sharing.)

Once, when I was working the info desk, I remember this British woman came in & had a few items she was looking for.  I got her everything she needed, but she had one last request.

“I’m looking for a new CD for my daughter; she’s 13, ” she said, “Something intelligent.  She’s very progressive; she speaks her mind.”

I got really excited.  Patti Smith’s Land had just come out a few weeks ago & I blasted “Gloria” everywhere I went.  I thought it would be perfect & told the woman I had just the thing.  So I walked her over to the Pop/Rock section & picked up the CD.

She looked at the cover (just a shot of Ms. Smith blindfolded with some white curtains behind her) before flipping it over.  The silence extended.  Then I realized she was probably looking at the title “Rock N’ Roll Nigger.”  I start babbling an explanation, thinking that this might not be such a great choice after all.

“See, she uses the term “nigger” in the sense of an outsider.  Someone who doesn’t fit in; someone who society looks down on.  She’s trying to transcend race.”  I stopped talking when I realized that the customer wasn’t responding.  & that I, a white person, just casually used the n-word, which could have probably fallen on the wrong ears.

Five more agonizing seconds crawled by before the customer put the CD down, turned to me & thanked me for my help in her posh voice.  “I don’t think my daughter would like a CD with a song called “Piss Factory” on it.”


1 thought on “A Borders Story”

Comments are closed.