Sometimes I think I have everything crystal clear, but more often than not that is not the case. Like the time I got into a (friendly) shouting match at a bar because I was one million percent positive the song playing at a bar was The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult when in fact it was Burning for You, the only other song BOC is known for. I was POSITIVE I was right and so confident I bet a beer and my non-existent first-born that the other person had no knowledge of two-hit classic rock wonders, and that he should live in shame. A quick trip to the jukebox left me hanging my head low, sitting at the bar ordering a round to pay my debt.
Other times my certainty is met with utter, complete stupidity. At least when I was testing my knowledge of classic rock, I could rest on the fact that I at least knew who BOC was, and that I knew one of their two songs. Most of the time however I am so far off in my claims to knowledge that I am left to wonder how I have made it this far in life. Here’s an example.
By now you have most likely seen the navy and yellow image of an equal sign representing LGBT rights. This sticker is usually seen on activists who stand outside on Michigan Avenue asking if you have a moment for human rights. (Sidenote: When I’m on my lunch break and have a limited amount of time to run around before an afternoon meeting and I still haven’t picked up food on said lunch break, I don’t care if you ask me if I have a minute to save my mother from a secret CIA plot to feed her to monkeys, my answer is no. And that goes for you animal rights kids that try to block me on Subway run. Nuke the whales! Nuke ’em good!) Due to the activity in the Supreme Court this week in which they will be hearing two cases regarding marriage equality for same-sex couples, many people have posted a red version of this symbol in support for their peers. As someone who personally believes in marriage equality, my eyes light up whenever I see a person’s profile picture update in support for this cause.
But what does this have to do with Denmark? Allow me to explain.
A few years back, bumper stickers made a comeback bigger than Justin’s return to music. See below for an example:
Apparently it was cool to show your ethnic pride by displaying it on the back of your car in an oval sticker that showed your country’s flag and the abbreviation, which, unless your job was to make map legends and country flags for a living, no one knew what it stood for. Not too long after, the navy and yellow equal sign popped up as well. Whether it was created around the same time or I just started noticing bumper stickers around the same time, I’m not sure, but in my world they appeared at the same time, probably from the exact same bumper sticker maker.
So for what I can only explain as being a length of time longer than I ever would care to admit (years? maybe?), I saw this equal sign on multiple occasions, certain of what it was trying to convey to me, which was:
This person is from Denmark.
Not gay. Not lesbian. Not transgender. Not bisexual.
Now how I came to this conclusion is far beyond my comprehension. What I believe happened was that in all my learning of less popular European countries via oval bumper stickers, I somehow came across the rare combination of a gay
Denmarkian Danish person driving around Chicago and made the completely inaccurate connection.
For years I just thought that this is what the Denmark flag looked like. If by some odd instance I was sent to Denmark for work and landed at the airport, my first thought would have been, “Why did they change their flag to a red and white cross? The old one had nicer colors. Pale white people don’t look good in bright red! Stupid Denmarkians.” Luckily, over time and countless encounters with the Human Rights activists, the connection came together very, very slowly until one day I looked it up and realized a few things: 1. This sign means GLBT equality. 2. Denmark does not have a blue and yellow flag. 3. I am a complete and utter moron.
What I am trying to say through my own personal admission of stupidity is this. Whether you believe in marriage equality or not, stand on the right, left, or middle side of the proverbial political aisle, or have your own personal stand against someone or something obscure (red-heads? pigeons? fat guys named Bob?) that’s up to you, but the next time you begin to talk about these issues I ask you to think of Denmark, and remember that even though we can be so certain that we are absolutely, positively, 1000% right, there’s always a slim chance we can be just a little bit wrong.