The Joke I Never Got.

So, as I've mentioned before, I'm from the South. Specifically Virginia.

When I was in high school, the Commonwealth of Virginia instituted Lee-Jackson-King Day.

That's Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, and...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Somebody had a seriously twisted sense of humor at the Capital Building. Obviously people liked what could have only been intended as a ironic joke, because it stayed on the books until 2000, when I can only assume people stopped laughing at how ridiculous it was and realized how offensive it could be to a large segment of the population.

To be honest, I never pondered the irony at the time. It was a day off of school, and that was fine with me. I never spent much time thinking about the meaning of holidays back then. A day off was a day off, and I wasn't going to rock the boat.

Not being the most racially sensitive person then (or, for that matter, now), I never asked my friends who likely had very good reason to be offended how they felt about it. I can only imagine, and I'm fairly sure my brain isn't creative enough to come close to their reality. I'm sure a lot of them resigned themselves to the reality that that was how the world worked at the time in that state. Doesn't make it right, but that's the kind of stuff they dealt with to varying degrees every day. I was just clueless, but then again I was a teenager.

The best I can do is recognize it now. A little late, but at least I showed up for the party with half a six pack of warm, generic soda and a bag of stale pork rinds.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The occasion certainly calls for some reflection.


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