Not long after the American invasion of Iraq I was sitting around, as I did nearly nightly playing poker with the same group of guys.
Our games were the norm typical with a poker game, lots of jabbing, anything to distract each other to pull a few dollars off someone else, and way too much cig smoke in the air.
On this particular night the conversation was about those damn evil muslims, nothing uncommon, but it seemed a bit worse than normal. "Damn Rag Heads, what good are they?"
"Turn the entire middleast to Glass" on and on, you have heard it all before.
I am sitting there quietly, (I know you are shocked) taking it all in and waiting for my move. The cocktail waitress comes by asking each person if they would like something to drink, I would be the last person she would ask me last and I would hold up my hand and say "Allah forbids it" Nothing new for me, I rarely had even a beer when I went out, but that fact was not noticed.
The table became deathly silent, you could hear cloths brushing with restlessness against each chair as the players looked uncomfortably upon each other, and then down, staring at their chips, running them through their fingers.
I would leave it like this for a few hands, watching them scarcely breath, I waited until the waitress came back with their drinks, and then I would break the silence.
"Why the silence?" I would ask.
Someone broke it "Well now I know why you wear that damn dew rag all the time"
I would reply "ok, so for years now, nearly nightly I have sat and played poker with you fellahs, we have laughed, ribbed each other and generally had a good time, yet now, suddenly you think I am something which you do not understand so there is all kinds of hate" I paused. "So what is different now? nothing, I am the same person I always was, the same guy you play with night after night, without a worry, other than your wallets"
I smiled "Further, have none morons noticed I rarely ever drink anyhow?"
Not sure, they knew regardless the joke was on them.
Soon they would relax, and play would go on, with the usual banter continuing after that night.
Careful who you judge.