Press Talk What if God was one of us

first_imgLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor emeritus. His column of personal opinion appears the first Saturday of every month. Reach him at [email protected] I’m walking.It was a few days ago in downtown Vancouver, heading to meet a source down at Compass Coffee.I see a gentleman standing there — he’s almost always standing there — but today he’s staring right at me.It might be because of my Gators sunglasses. They’re a gaudy orange and blue. Who knows, maybe — just maybe — it highlights my Italian DNA. I say that because the gentleman thinks he recognizes me.“You Jimmy Hoffa?” he asks.Now, for those of you for whom ancient history goes no further back than Justin Bieber, Hoffa was a big-time labor leader who suddenly, ah, disappeared in July 1975. Speculation of his whereabouts swirled from his being fed to the gators in the Everglades to his changing his appearance so he could hide in plain sight. He was said to have been spotted selling hay at a Yacolt feed store with Elvis Presley.Now I get that all Italians look alike to some people, but … really? Hoffa?I’m past this guy now. But he won’t let it go.“You Jimmy Hoffa?” he asks again. This time he’s yelling. He’s hoping for an answer.I don’t turn around, but I’m in a good mood. I opt to have a little fun. I raise both my arms in a bent position to show the universal “who knows?” signal. I keep walking. He keeps yelling.“Come on! Are you Hoffa? Everybody thought you were dead!”I’m getting farther away. But this time I turn my head slightly so we can make eye contact. I put my index finger to my lips. I try to let him know: The less we talk about this, the better. I’m still trying to have some fun with this guy because — well — I think he’s trying to have some fun, too.I’m still moving away from him, but now he has his hands cupped around his mouth so I — and just about everybody else around — can hear him.last_img read more