This Was A Bad Day. (Part 2: ROTNAC)

28 Jul

July 28, 2016

Ever wonder what people sell at a small local flea market? Here are some of the highlights of what was for sale at other tables on the day Saarah and I were there.

  • A scruffy old rotary phone with a ripped half of an AT+T sticker on the side
  • A turntable arm. Not the whole turntable, just the arm.
  • Used sneakers. It seemed like every third table was covered in a jumble of old, worn sneakers.
  • Old records. This was probably the most normal thing there, except that when I glanced in one of the boxes, they seemed to be only Bobby Darrin records.
Bobby Darin! SWOON!

Bobby Darin! SWOON!

There were also people selling clothes, makeup, and jewelry, which is exactly what Saarah was selling.

And did you ever wonder who goes to a small local flea market? There’s no real type, unless you count cheap as a type. No matter what you were selling, no matter how much you were selling it for, they offered you a dollar. And if you happened to be selling something for a dollar, they offered you a quarter.

It started out promising. We made our first sale before the market officially opened. We sold a plastic hanger to the woman running the table next to us. Price? One dollar. We were planning to hang some of Saarah’s clothes but it turned out that we had nowhere to hang them so selling the hanger was a no-brainer.

We spent much of the day sweating in the heat or, in my case, dealing with weirdos. Trust me- if you want to haggle with me over a one dollar bracelet, you’re a weirdo. “What’s your return policy?” Seriously? I’m a guy at a folding table, what kind of return policy do they think I have?

But speaking of weirdos, I ran into the King of All Weirdos, ROTNAC.

In brief, this is a ROTNAC:

He is around fifty years old, with a head of thick black hair, now graying, and a thick beard. He is fat and wears shabby clothes. The most remarkable thing about ROTNAC is his headgear. In the winter it is a furry hat. In the summer it is a baseball cap, but what sets them apart is the sign saying “ROTNAC” that he either attaches to or writes on his cap. It is not unusual for him to walk down the street amid a chorus of “Hey Rotnac!” One theory is that ROTNAC, read right to left in the Hebrew style reads as CANTOR, so ROTNAC is a cantor. He does look and dress as though he would fit in a synagogue. He is usually sighted carrying a large, full, plastic bag which contains any number of items, including a very odd, telescoping tennis racket.

That description was from 2010 and there have been some changes since then. He’s dropped most of his extra weight and his hair is almost white.

Santa Rotnac

I still see him rambling around and I still see him with a great many shopping bags at times, but there is one big change. He never wears the ROTNAC card any more. In fact, he looks so different now that there is a chance that this may not be “the” ROTNAC but simply “a” ROTNAC. He’s what I call a “ROTNAC type.” For all I know he’s a part of a vast ROTNAC Legion. Look out for them in your neighborhood. They are usually jovial and talkative.

In fact, this one may have been too talkative. I was taking a break in the shade of a tree just on the other side of the flea market fence. People were walking in and out (most did not make any purchases) and I was just minding my own business. As I was standing there, out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone walking towards me. I turned and it was ROTNAC. All I knew was I wanted nothing more than to avoid any attention, since the last time I interacted with someone there I almost found myself in an episode of Law and Order: SVU. (See part 1.)

So I turned away but ROTNAC was determined to talk to me. He came to my side (as I assiduously looked elsewhere) and said “The Church collects the money but they give it to the Jew.”

“The Church collects the money but they give it to the Jew.”


  • Why me? Why, why did he pick me?
  • The Jew or a Jew? Was there a Jewish guy running the flea market? Seems unlikely since this was a Korean Church.
  • Was this an anti-Semitic remark? What does this do the theory that ROTNAC is a cantor in a synagogue?

I stood as still as one of those guys guarding Buckingham Palace, just without the big fuzzy hat and showed no reaction whatsoever to this. If ROTNAC thinks I am deaf this is why. He wandered away to, I don’t know, the Lair of ROTNAC, and I, thoroughly confused, wandered back to my table, slowly walking past heaps of out-of-package lightbulbs and piles of soiled doll clothes.

At least I hope they were doll clothes.






2 Responses to “This Was A Bad Day. (Part 2: ROTNAC)”

  1. Mac of BIOnighT July 30, 2016 at 12:29 am #

    That quote is awesome, I hope I’ll have the chance to slip it into a conversation with somebody sooner or later 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • bmj2k July 30, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

      I am sure he meant it to be a deep quote, but coming from him, and in that context, I am not sure how he meant it and how I should take it.


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