Everyone gave Douglass just the worst advice. Customers would annoy him at the movie theater. “This popcorn doesn’t have enough butter on it.” “You’re not gonna usher me all the way to my seat? Just the aisle?” James would say, “You should take that dirty rat by the hair, see, and just drag him right out of the theater, see. That’ll show the bum.” Ever the pacifist, Jimmy would say, “No, no, see, what you gotta do, that’s – just be nice is all. He’ll go away. And if he won’t, well, he can just, he can soak his head, I guess. Oh, I don’t know.”
It was easy to ignore the stupid advice Douglass got about most people. Except Julie. Beautiful Julie, whom Douglas spent at least half his day worshipping, who couldn’t begin to remember his name. “Don, can you clean the gum off the seats?” “Dan? Take out the trash?” “Dane. The soda fountain.” Duke would say, “Maybe you oughta tie her up and throw her over your shoulder. That oughta get her attention, pilgrim.” He knew better than to do something like that, though, because Audrey would say, “A proper lady likes to be romanced. Be a proper man. Display a bit of class, and you’ll sweep her off her feet.”
Everyone was so eager to distract Douglass. He would be in the middle of changing a reel, and Judy would say, “How’s all this work? Goodness, it’s just so fascinating!” Marlon would say, “Can’t you see he’s trying to do something here? Lay off!”
The doctors gave the worst advice of all. He’d tell them about how hard it was to sift through all the conflicting advice he was given, and they’d say: “What you’re hearing isn’t real. You know that. You’re a schizophrenic. You hear things that aren’t really there.”
And if there was a moment where Douglass would believe what they said, King would say: “There’s one thing you gotta know, man. If we ain’t real, this beautiful world ain’t real either. Ain’t worth living in, man. Uh huh.”
Everyone else agreed. And Douglass felt reassured. What a boring life it would be without all the advice he got.