“You need to embrace the new, McCluskey. Don’t be afraid of the technology,” I say as I shake off my wet jacket, hang it on a peg and take the stool next to him at the bar. He stops swearing at his iPhone and shoves it in the pocket of his plaid shirt.
McCluskey shakes his head. “I miss my flip-phone. At least I had that one figured out, but no, the wife says get an iPhone, they’re much better, she says. I hold out, but then she gets me one for Christmas, so I’m stuck with it. Whenever I see ‘New and Improved’ I think it’s a con. ‘Sweeter But With Less Sugar.’ Like just because they print it on the box I’m going to believe it. ‘All Natural Ingredients.’ Hell, so is cancer.”
I order my usual and say, “Advertisers are good at selling emotions and vague promises of whatnot. A lot of people get taken in by it.”
I know what McCluskey is going to say, but I wait for it.
“Yeah, well a lot of people are stupid,” he says.
“That’s your answer to everything, more so when it’s raining.”
McCluskey laughs. “But you, old buddy, with all of your politeness and sensitivity to others, have yet to dispute me on it. I think you secretly agree that a lot of people are stupid. But that’s okay, stay in the closet with the rest of the politically correct. It’s only a matter of time before you get so fed up with them telling you one plus one is three that you won’t be able to stomach it any longer and you’ll admit to yourself that not only are a lot of people stupid, but that you’ve been one of them by buying into that politically correct bs.”
“Ha, you are who your friends are,” I say.
“That’s one of those asinine memes to keep the sheep in line. Fear of going against the flow makes people stupid, but when their heads clear they’ll know I’ve been speaking the truth all along.”
“So I’m stupid with fear and a sheep?”
“Consider me a missionary of truth and this barstool is my pulpit.” McCluskey swigs his beer. If we’d been fishing or camping, he’d let a out a loud burp, but he restrains himself as the waitress passes. He turns in his seat and looks at me pointedly. “I’ve faith truth will win out in the end. Do you remember the 80s?”
“How’d that New Coke taste? Or that Dry Beer? I remember you drinking both and nothing but and where are they now?”