Last night, I watched several entertaining performances at Gotham Comedy Club. One of the comedians was my friend Christy, who has been landing gigs left and right since moving to New York in November, so it’s been a pleasure to see her climb the stand-up ladder in an extremely competitive city for comedy work. Right after she finished her act, a tall redhead comedian named Patrick took the stage and totally stole the show (with the exception of Christy, of course!). He joked about his no-nonsense Irish grandmother (I have one as well!) and how non-redheads seem to think all red-haired people know each other or are related. Next time, he should talk about the asinine notion that everyone thinks redheads make cute couples, but I guess that’ll be an issue for me to tackle. The jokes really resonated with me, and had he not taken off right after his performance, I would have sent him my praise.
I went home feeling pretty good about the evening, which had ended with my friends and me catching up at a nice bar in Chelsea, so I took the subway ride home as an opportunity to catch up on the novel I’ve been carting around for a week, “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. Though a hot item on the literary market right now, it’s not necessarily the highest quality of writing you’ll find, but the plot makes up for that. Besides, I recently finished “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” one of the most terrifying story lines I’ve ever encountered, so a breezy read was just what I needed.
The girl sitting next me was also leafing through “The Fault in Our Stars,” and three other people nearby were entranced in their own books. I didn’t realize the unusual number of people reading on the subway until some loudmouthed drunk ginger scoffed at us. Granted, he was with his friends, and we all know how nasty people can become when wanting to dominate social situations, but he was unnecessarily rude nonetheless.
“Oh look, it’s the subway book club,” the redhead guy joked, inspiring laughter from his zoned out cohorts. “We meet every Saturday night on the subway because we’re just SO COOL!”
“Maybe you should try reading sometime,” I said. “You’ll gain a lot more from it than turning to your iPod to kill time.”
And I was being totally honest. Really. Several times a week, I willingly fry my brain by listening to pop songs on my thirty minute ride to and from work. Imagine how much more I can learn by reading in that block of time, but the redhead fellow didn’t appear to appreciate this alternative. He just continued laughing at me and the others for reading, as if it’s the nerdiest thing you can do on your way home from a night at the bar. I’m not going to lie, his callousness caught me off guard, but I was mostly just curious as to who he was trying to impress. It was all too reminiscent of my freshman year of high school, when I had to take the bus home everyday and endure the hurtful comments from the punk bullies in the back of the bus. The guys, who wore spike-studded belts and tight-fitted Social Distortion t-shirts and clearly lacked the character to pick on someone their own size, disparaged me for devouring numerous books a week and writing in my notebook each day. I thought they were morons back then, but this redhead dude was a true loser to bully fellow adults for engaging in intellectual activity. Sorry nothing besides debauchery and belligerence can get you excited about life, but don’t clip our wings for wanting an escape from technology and having a beneficial set of interests.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I was reminded last night that us gingers aren’t always on the same team. We’re not always going to band together, and we’ll gladly tear each other down to impress our friends. Well, I’ll try not to stoop to this level, but it happens, especially when alcohol is involved. Growing up, my father and I used to complain that all redheads in movies are either dim-witted or evil. Our favorite example was Scut Farkus, the yellow-eyed carrot top bully in “A Christmas Story.”
Then there is Ron Weasley, the dopey best friend in “Harry Potter”:
Let’s not forget the ginger saboteur in “House Bunny”:
We’re far from perfect, and come to think of it, one of my most militant bullies in ninth grade was a redhead, but that’s another blog post entirely. All I’m saying is that I no longer trust redheads by default. We may only comprise 2 to 4 percent of the population, but that doesn’t make us confidants.