Friday, August 3, 2012
I will not be kissing my wife in front of a Chik-fil-A tonight nor anytime soon. Although I may kiss her at Eat n Park or Emiliano's or one of the other restaurants we frequent. I don't know. It all depends on how I feel. I can tell you this, we won't make out. I hate it when you're out somewhere, and that sweet couple who just a moment ago was holding hands suddenly is all tongue and spit til you're finally like "holy crap, get a room!" I hate that.
I guess I'm just old fashioned. Nowadays it's all boycotts and Huckabee appreciation events, kiss-ins and chicken sandwiches. <Sigh>
I really am old fashioned. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school and attended church every Sunday. My sibs and I were taught the importance of family and country. My sister's a nurse in the Air Force. One brother's a cop, the other's a plumber. I've worked my whole life, taught school, worked with seniors, helped community groups, voted in every election. I own a house and love my neighbors. I'd like to shoot a gun someday. And I'm married, but only in Canada.
Sunshine and Happiness and I can't get married here because we both have who-ha's which makes some folks think we're perverts or pedophiles. Or that we have a gay agenda to indoctrinate the youth of today which in turn will bring the wrath of God down upon us all. Some also believe because I'm a lesbian, I have no style, a bad haircut and wear sensible shoes.
I'll cop to that last one.
So old fashioned, God fearing, traditional marriage proponents want to protect themselves and their children from me and Sunshine and Happiness because if we (and our who-ha's) can get married what's next? Meanwhile married folks are participating in:
intercourse in the missionary and 63 other positions
(or so says the Kama Sutra)
S&M (Have you READ 50 Shades of Grey?)
sex with multiple partners (divorce and remarriage)
sex with multiple partners (adultery)
sex with multiple partners (swingers clubs)
sex for pleasure
sex for intimacy
sex for fun
sex out of a sense of obligation
Unmarried folk and gay folk participate in these things too but straight folks also sometimes have sex, 14 kids and a reality TV show which I and other gay folks cannot do without third party involvement.
And THAT (to me) is what's really at the crux of this whole "traditional" marriage thing. When straight couples stick thing A into slot B they can biologically reproduce (sans medical/age issues) without outside help. Sunshine and Happiness and I not so much. My friends Rich and Joe when they put thing A into slot C, not so much. Which makes a sizable portion of this country believe us to be unnatural and an abomination.
As for straight folks - some women are infertile, some men are sterile and what may I ask happens after menopause? These folks can put thing A into slot B, not procreate and they can still marry. And men and women who don't intend to ever have children get married all the time. As for gays, we can choose artificial insemination or a surrogate mother. We can adopt and foster children where it's legal. Or we too can choose not to have children at all.
Which leads me to conclude this argument about traditional marriage vs gay marriage is really only about who-ha's and ding-dongs. Who has 'em and who doesn't, where they stick em and what happens when there's not a thing A to put in slot B. It makes traditional marriage proponents squeamish. And because it makes them squeamish they go all fire and brimstone on our asses. The only way my marriage would be OK with traditional marriage proponents and I could have sex with their seal of approval is if my who-ha was a ding dong.
And all the kisses in the world ain't gonna be able to change that.
Friday, July 13, 2012
A ways away was the neighborhood fire station which had a big red metal Coke machine. I loooooved that Coke machine. The firehouse doors were usually open and kids could take the change they'd collected delivering papers or scavenged from Dad's couch cushions to get an icy cold Coca-Cola sweat dripping down the green sides of the glass, bottle refundable for a nickel,. Sometimes the firemen who sat smoking on the metal park bench in front would let us climb up onto the truck, hang from the back, put on their helmets, try on their boots and if we were lucky sit in the cab and honk the horn.
We attended the local Catholic School walking with our book bags which were not knapsacks but actual suitcase looking things and metal lunchboxes that scratched our legs as we walked. My family attended mass on Sunday and my classmates and I went to morning mass on First Fridays and regularly scheduled weekdays. In my homeroom everyone knew everyone else. We were a group, a collective, special. It was the same students first grade through eighth. We knew who would be in the turtle row, the rabbit row, who would get boxed around the ears by the nuns, who would volunteer for extra work. We felt sorry for the public school students who didn't have the one true faith and collected pennies for the pagan babies in our pint sized milk cartons. It was familiar and safe.
During the summer we spent our time at the local pool playing with the teenage boys who would pick us up and throw us like sacks of potatoes to splash into the deeper water. Or they'd pass us around like dolls from one to one another putting us on their shoulders, jousting with each other to see which of us would fall first from our perch.. My favorite game was jumping as hard as we could on the diving board for height, distance, momentum and doing cannonballs trying to hit the lifeguard on duty with the splash. I grew up with a pair of enormous identical twins, older and desired by the girls who tried to bounce the bolts from the board's sockets and who always inevitably won.
At home we watched Leave it to Beaver, the Little Rascals, Mayberry RFD and Matchgame 76. We ate dinner as a family, did our homework and were in bed by 9. Life was simple, I was innocent.
All of the above is true. And not.
My childhood has a dark and twisty side, a shadow if you will. There is an underbelly of shit that got stuffed up in the attic, down in the basement, anywhere it could be shoved while my family struggled mightily to maintain an illusion of all is well rather than face reality which scared all of us. The reality of my childhood is one of love, presence, God and community. It is also one of abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and cruelty.
I have spent the better part of my adult life struggling to heal from the things stuffed up in the attic and basement. On bad days I'm not sure I'll ever be whole. On good ones I feel joy and gratitude. I continue to make progress and one bit of wisdom I've gleaned is my nostalgic recall of the innocence and simplicity of my childhood is fantasy. Life's complicated. Good and evil exist side by side. When I was a kid though the evil was never acknowledged, the elephant in the room. And because it was not acknowledged or called out of hiding it perpetrated itself. with impunity. As Edmund Burke once said "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Which brings me to Penn State. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley et al. stood by passing the buck from one to another while Jerry Sandusky continued to steal from boys who trusted him as a father figure any hope of a physically, emotionally and spiritually whole and healthy adulthood. It is also true Penn State espouses academic excellence, personal/social responsibility and the dignity of others as ideals to be upheld and has produced thousands of graduates, including former football players who have gone on to become solid citizens and to lead moral, upstanding and successful lives. These things coexist. Good and evil. Light and shadow.
Along with thinking about my childhood I've also been wondering if I were the janitor who witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a child in the locker room would I have blown the whistle? What if I knew it meant the loss of my job? What if I thought no one would believe me, a janitor at the bottom of the institutional food chain, my word against that of a revered coach? What if I told myself, surely someone else knew about this and would do something? What if I feared Sandusky would sue me for libeling him after no one believed me? Would I have called police? Would I have intervened? Would I have had the courage to act?
No one likes looking at evil. By it's nature it makes good folks want to turn away, run, hide, do nothing and hope someone else will step up to the plate.
I'm afraid that if I were the janitor I would have just kept on walking. We all have good in us. We all have a shadow. I need to look in the mirror and see what is there, unflinching not turning away and accepting what I see. I need to acknowledge the shadow in me and then pray that by the grace of God I will do the next right thing. Because what the mirror shows me when I dare to look is.....
We are Penn State.