Many years ago I was riding my bicycle on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, rolling south past Oak Street Beach, near the Hancock Tower. It was a beautiful summer day and the path was really crowded with people walking, jogging and cycling. I was working as a bike messenger at the time.
As I was riding I saw this guy heading towards me. He was this tall, brawny skinhead on Rollerblades, skating north. He was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a t-shirt that said “WHITE POWER” with a big swastika on it. I myself had a shaved head and I was wearing wraparound shades at the time, but I’m a short, skinny Jew.
I crossed paths with this guy and it took a moment for the significance of his t-shirt to register, but a few seconds afterwards I thought to myself, “I’ve got to say something to him.” So I did a U-turn on the path and rode up alongside him and said something kind of lame to him like, “You know, I really don’t appreciate you wearing that t-shirt on the Lakefront Trail.”
He replied in a deep, monotone, robotic voice, “Thank you. I value your opinion.” That must be his stock phrase for when people confront him, and it was pretty effective. I was actually pretty freaked out and I immediately slammed on the brakes and did another U-turn without looking. The path was really crowded, so I almost got killed doing that. I looked behind me and the skinhead was silently skating off into the distance. It was a very sinister experience.