The Soda Bottle on the Dinner Table

By Marc Dion

June 4, 2018 4 min read

A lot of the women President Donald Trump knows can be seen naked on the internet: his wife, Stormy Daniels, Kim Kardashian.

When you catch your teenage daughter sending naked pictures of herself to her boyfriend, don't get tense.

"Keep doing that, honey, and you'll be the first lady someday," you should tell her. "You want daddy to buy you a video camera for your Sweet 16?"

You didn't used to be able to say things like that about the president. Well, not the president of the United States, anyway.

I thought of that this morning, in a newsroom, while I was explaining to a guy with two daughters why I hated both versions of the late, a decision lamented by racists, "Roseanne" show.

"I don't know where in hell they got the idea that working-class people are like that," I said. "I grew up in a working-class house and we weren't crude and ignorant."

My father was a bartender when I was a kid. My mother worked in a bank. She wasn't the bank's president, either. She worked in bookkeeping and referred to herself as "one of the girls in bookkeeping."

We lived in a series of rented houses and apartments. We had one car, and it was always bought used.

One of the things my mother would make for dinner, at least once a week, was fried hamburger patties, boiled potatoes and canned green beans. I would have preferred to eat the hamburger between two slices of bread (we never bought hamburger buns) but my mother wouldn't let me.

"You eat supper with a knife and a fork," she'd say.

If any beverage was consumed during dinner, it was poured in the kitchen, and brought to the table in a glass.

You see these working-class sitcoms, and there's a big bottle of soda on the table, and a pizza box, and everybody's reaching over everybody else to get at the food, and they look like a bunch of escaped convicts who broke into a Domino's.

This is called "keeping it real" or "being yourself."

Yeah. You can stick keeping it real out on the counter, where the pizza box belongs. You're eating pizza for dinner, the pizza box and the two-liter bottle of soda go on the counter. You take a slice of pizza; you put it on a plate. You put some of the soda in a glass. You take the plate and the glass over to the dining room table. We did this even when our dining room table was in the kitchen.

My parents took me to church every week. My pop took me to the library every week. I was not allowed to read comic books.

"Comic books make you stupid," Pops said. "You gotta 200-word vocabulary. You can read Hemingway, not that crap."

Did I mention that neither one of my parents had a college degree, my mother grew up in poverty, and my father couldn't speak English until he was 8 years old?

My parents weren't trying to be themselves. They were trying to be somebody better.

Which is why I don't call black women "apes."

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion ad read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Dion's latest book, a story of the election that "kept it real," is called "The Land of Trumpin'" and is available in paperback on, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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