As a suburban dad in his fifties, I get that young-again feeling whenever I have a chance to go downtown and stroll along Nicollet Avenue or check out the latest bohemian shops once frequented by Bob Dylan in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota campus.
One such time a few years back I went to an event at the university put on by the Genocide and Holocaust Studies department, a poetry reading by a noted Armenian, Peter Balakian, author of Black Dog of Fate.
As it happened, I was late in finding the exact location of the event, which was tucked in the Hubert Humphrey Center for Human Affairs. Hubert Humphrey, for those of you who, like many young Americans, consider Hitler the only pre-1970 historical figure of note, was known as the happy warrior, that fiery liberal politician reincarnated as Paul Wellstone and now - sadly for those of my political perspective - Al Franken.
But I digress. Upon rushing into the Humphrey Center and fearing I would be too late to gain admittance, I was quite pleased to find a greeting table staffed by some attractive young people.
In fact, I was welcomed by an stunningly radiant young woman. The dress – incredible. High heels, legs bared.
The cleavage. Elegant. Platinum blonde wavy hair and ice-blue piercing eyes.
Emma Watson - enriched.
Wow, I thought, never seen anything like that at Saint Krikor Armenian Church.
“Welcome to the GLNSBTAGJA”, she greeted me.
Strange I thought, I’ve heard of a lot of Armenian organizations, but never one with quite so many initials.
“Oh thank you,” I answered. “I was worried I was too late to get in.”
“Not at all,” she said. “If I can, I’d like to put you on our GLNBNGTJA mailing list.”
Eager to be associated with such a vibrant Armenian group, I agreed readily.
“By the way," I paused to ask, "what does the NGLJA … umm … NLBT … what does that stand for?”
“Oh I’m sorry. We’re so quick to spout off our acronym. We’re an off-shoot of the NLGJA, we’re the [I think she said] NGLBTJNA [which I’m guessing from further research but without a conclusive link stood for the National Gay and Lesbian Bisexual Transvestite Journalists of North America],” she said apologetically.
“No need to apologize,” I said, thinking of that Seinfeld line, "Not that there’s anything wrong with that."
I dismissed myself and explained confusingly that I was there for an Armenian event but that I must have gotten the date wrong. She smiled and thanked me for stopping by anyway.
“Funny,” I said to her as I left. “I didn’t think you looked Armenian.”