I met David Duke once. Kind of.
It was at least a decade ago. Probably more like a decade and a half.
I was an assistant store manager for a company called Service Merchandise. We were what was called a catalog showroom. Which meant you came in, saw what you wanted, wrote down the catalog number, went to the register to pay for it and than went to the customer service counter to wait for it to come down the conveyor belt from the warehouse. I know, I know, it sounds like a lot of trouble to buy something. Which is probably why you don’t see catalog showrooms around anymore. But for awhile in the 80s they were pretty popular in the South.
Sometime during the afternoon someone said Duke was in the store shopping. I’ve heard he’d been in before to shop, but never while I was on duty. I wanted to see him for myself. I think this was after he had already been in and out of the State House as a congressman. The store I worked at was in Metairie, which was part of the area where he once represented.
I went to the back of customer service so I could hand out the items coming down the belt. I watched him stand in line and make his purchase. It was a slow day and there were no other customers in line. The cashier that waited on him was black, so I waited for some word or gesture on his part. He merely paid for his item and then walked over to wait for it.
Within minutes his purchase came from the warehouse. He had purchased an electric razor. While he stood there I watched him. I don’t know what I was looking for.
I don't know if I expected to see horns or what. Sometimes the face of evil can be mundane.
When I was younger two stories from English class in high school remain with me to this day. One was “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and the other was “A&P” by John Updike. In the latter story the stock boy Sammy makes a heroic gesture because he thought the manager of the A&P had been rude to some girls.
I think I was hoping to see Duke do something rude or racist so that I could make my own heroic gesture. I wanted to say something to him. Something that would cut to his core.
His order came up and I handed it to him without a word and he left.