Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"End Is Coming/ Are-U-Saved/ Yeshua's blood/ at-one-ment"

I can't explain it either, but that's what the guy's sign read at the crossroads on the University of Oregon campus. He stood there -- gray beard, little white pork-pie hat, his dog patiently lying in the sun -- ranting about Columbine and brainwashing and what-not. I don't think it had anything to do with today, which is Columbus Day. I'm sure he's just as nuts on regular days.

It was news to me to learn that there is an entire online universe obsessed about whether "Yeshua" is the correct name for Jesus. News, but not surprising. I guess each of us has to fill our lives with something.

Across the mall, the messages were more timely:

"For America To Live/ Columbus Must Die"

"Columbus Was a White Supremist (sic)"

"Custer Had It Coming"

"Christopher Columbus/ America's 1st Terrorist"

Polite-looking and nicely-dressed young Indian fellows sitting at the tables seemed to belie the radical slogans on the signs. But who knows? I was just glad to be refreshed by snippets of conversations going on about politics and social issues -- hardly the stuff of sidewalk talk where I live in Cottage Grove.

Here it's just 20 miles but a world away from the campus where bright young things have the luxury of going class to class on a sunny Monday. Soon enough they will confront the realities of earning a living in a depressing economy while changing diapers at 3am. Still, I doubt that many of them will end up in Cottage Grove pumping gas at the Safeway or standing all day at a checkout lane at the Walmart. Even on Columbus Day.

According to the Eugene newspaper some felt the anti-Columbus Day signs "went a bit too far": "Their effort is legitimate but the 'Columbus must die' sign may be a little extreme," said David McNeary, a 21-year-old former UO student. I wonder how he felt about the "end is coming" sign.

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