I was on my way back home, south on Surf Route 101, and, as is part of most of my surf expeditions into the cell-free zone (not free if you pay roaming/Canada fees), I had lists of things to get in the Vortex that is Sequim. So, checking out at Costco, I notice the checker, on the other side of plexiglass, has a black facemask with images and writing.
Oh. I was, of course, curious. “I, um, can’t read everything on your, uh…”
He pulled the mask taut, and, though I can now read it, he tells me what it says. “Stand for the flag, kneel for God.”
“Oh. Okay. That’s, um, a little political, isn’t it?”
“A little, maybe, but that’s what I believe.”
“Sure.” Pause while I sign the check. “Um, uh, what about if someone’s, say, on his knees, but he’s doing this?” I make the sign of the cross, punctuated, as I often do, with a throwing out of the right hand as a sort of shout out to God. I know what it means; an acknowledgement that I have serious faults. I kind of figure God also gets it. God, after all.
“Oh,” the checker said. That’s it. He’d already told the girl who asked if I wanted any boxes that he was going on break in eight minutes. My receipt was on the cart and I was shuffling toward the exit.
It took a while before I thought, if he was, and I’m pretty sure he was, referring to football players kneeling during the national anthem, a gesture referencing the social injustice that can be denied but not, evidently, corrected; I could have mentioned that I have observed, when a football player is seriously injured, injured enough that the game has to be stopped, other players, from both teams, gather around the medical team and the injured player, and take a knee.
Are they insulting the flag?
How would I know? I was busy thinking about how many waves I caught, how many hodads and kooks and rippers were around, what other spots might have been breaking; almost forgetting that, though I’m certainly not above praying for surf on the way out, I am a bit lax in thanking God for a beautiful day and a few fun rides. Yeah, that’s from me, kneeboarding; not out of any disrespect.