The Dalai Lama and a rock star walk into a Waffle House. The Dalai Lama scans the menu and orders chili. The rock star looks over and says: "Man, I should pray for you."
Sounds like a joke. But it could have happened this past weekend in Atlanta - if the Dalai Lama went to bed later or Kid Rock ate earlier.
This weekend, Atlanta experienced an odd convergence, one of the world's great spiritual leaders coming to town at the same time as a guy sporting a CD called "Rock N Roll Jesus." I'll give you one guess which one was arrested after a late-night altercation at Waffle House.
The Dalai Lama was in town to be installed as a visiting professor at Emory University, which is just around the corner from the restaurant where Kid Rock, birth name Robert James Ritchie, got into an altercation that led to his arrest and the arrest of five other members of his entourage early Sunday morning.
Apparently Kid Rock, the self-professed "Hick-Hop" artist, and his crew aren't quite as at peace with the world as the man staying only miles away from where they got in trouble. Though he has the No. 1 album on the charts, that didn't stop Kid Rock, in town to play the Tabernacle on Saturday night, from being pulled over after his tour bus left the restaurant.
Over at Emory, things were much more calm and refined. It was a big weekend for the school, which welcomed the Dalai Lama for his first ever teaching professorship at a university in the United States. He was officially installed as a professor on Monday, with the students giving him a faculty ID card as a gift.
The student who presented the ID to the Dalai Lama, very recognizable with his shaved head and flowing robes, said she figured he didn't need it to prove who he was. But the students wanted to make sure the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader knew he was welcome at their campus.
It was a nice gesture, one that makes for an interesting juxtaposition between the visitor on a quest for peace and the one on a quest for afterhours hash browns. Between the man who fights (figuratively) for a free Tibet and the one who fights (literally) at the slightest provocation. Between the man who says: "I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, no less" and the one who says: "I'm a cowboy."
That these two men could be in the same town on the same weekend with each representing themselves in familiar fashion says a lot about us and our tolerance.
It's not always perfect, but everyone gets a chance.
So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Tuesdays.