Not a Prick
December 26, 2003
I am not a prick.
So please interpret this story as such:
On Sunday, Brent and I were in San Pedro, having lunch with Ken, his girlfriend, and their two friends, who I'll call "Chris #1" and "Chris #2," because that's always a good white-person name. I had never met Ken's girlfriend or their friends before, so none of us had much to say to each other.
Since nobody was really engaging me in conversation, I decided to be friendly and talk to these strangers. But I didn't want to ask stupid, boring questions like "Where do you live?" or "Where were you born?" or some such irrelevant inquiry, the answer to which I would forget immediately after being told.
So when someone pointed out that Chris #2 (who looked like he received lots of Abercrombie & Fitch gift certificates on a regular basis) was going to Cal State Long Beach, I asked politely and enthusiastically, "Oh, are you in a frat?"
Chris #2 scrunched his face, exasperated that I had asked that question, and protested with a firm, "No!"
Ken's girlfriend said that Chris #2 was going to graduate school.
"Oh," I said, "were you ever in a frat though?"
Chris #2 began twitching his head and shrugging, as if to say "Who is this guy?" But instead he blurted, "No!"
I leaned over to Ken's girlfriend and whispered, "Isn't Cal State Long Beach a party school?"
She nodded, "Cal State Long Beach is a party school."
A gloomy silence fell over the table. I didn't know what was going on. So I looked at Chris #2 and said, "You know...frat people are people too."
Chris #2 looked at everyone else around the table, incredulous.
I added, "No. It's just that you looked very offended when I suggested you were in a frat. But I like frat people. I know frat people. Frat people are my friends."
More silence. Then everyone started talking about something else.
Later on during lunch, Chris #2 sneered at me. "So...'Prince'...is that your given name?" (Now read back that sentence out loud and put some major attitude into it.)
PRINCE: Given in a sense.
CHRIS #2: "In a sense?"
PRINCE: My kindergarten teacher couldn't pronounce my Thai name "Khamolpat" or my Thai nickname "Bin," so she just arbitrarily named me "Prince."
CHRIS #2: Oh, so it's not your real name.
PRINCE: Well, kind of.
CHRIS #2: It just stuck.
PRINCE: Well, you know, whenever white oppression rears its ugly head, I just tend to give in to it.
Chris #2 is my new best friend.
[Commentary 07.31.08: I never saw Chris #2 ever again. I wonder where he is nowadays. Making good money somewhere, I'm sure, and donating generously to his old fraternity.]