Monday, October 31, 2005

JT Leroy: How the Spectre Grows

Who is JT Leroy?
This article in New York Magazine by Stephen Beachy has perplexed me. It's all about the "true" identity of JT Leroy and implies rather strongly that JT is in fact a Brooklyn woman named Laura Albert. Could JT Leroy be a literary hoax? It seems rather plausible. Though his blog has many recent celebrity endorsements, my feelings are less definitive.

I read Sarah when it came out and was deeply moved by it. Mostly, I was moved by the backstory of the young author working through his personal demons by writing a "novel." I believed what I was reading had to be based on his life. How could a child make up such beautiful and lurid prose? It was a page-turner and I read his next book with the same enthusiasm. Then, it seemed, the young author had caught up to himself. He had revealed his entire life, the childhood of abuse in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and subsequent horror of teen prostitution in Sarah. Then there was the "biography" which told of how he was rescued by the system and bing, bang, boom, book deal.

If the events of his life are true, this brings us to an interesting place. What, I wonder, will this wunderkind write about now? Will he delve into drugs? Become a celebrity? Both? How can his work continue in the same vein with this "happy ending" I have contributed to by buying his books? The dynamics of his artistic integrity have been forever altered. He no longer has to live on the streets, selling his ass to make ends meet. So what, I ask, will his next book be?

Years go by... JT writes for magazines, starts a website, blogs, has readings, becomes friends with people like Winona Ryder and somehow came up with Harold's End. Four years after The Heart, he releases this "novella" about a heroin addicted hustler kid and his pet snail. It had pictures. End feels like fiction, moreso than the other "novels." Now comes Stephen Beachy with this article about the great hoax that has been pulled off for the last five years! And I start to think, was it all just a dream?

I'm not sure it matters much to me whether or not JT is real. I have no doubt that the spirit of JT Leroy exists, either in a young man wondering what to write about now that life is good, or in a troubled woman who apparently needs this mask. Maybe it's really Dennis Cooper, who recently posted this rant on his own blog, more or less saying that after all is said and done, there is "nothing much of interest" in the Leroy books if you separate them from the author and his "life." What the shit does that mean?

So what if there is no real boy named JT? Everybody read the books and knew the "story" and we all creamed our jeans over the entire tawdry affair. I am sorry but it says: NOVEL -right on the fucking cover of all JT Leroy books. It always has and it always will. If we choose to believe that these horrible, evil, wicked, disgusting things actually happened to some poor little boy, if that is what it takes to make us feel satisfied about our literary tastes, then we deserve what we get. Like I said, I believe in the spirit of JT Leroy. That is the spirit of survival. Real or not, he refuses to die like Tony. Truth? What is true anyway? Did the way I felt when I read Sarah really happen? Or was my emotional truth just part of an elaborate joke? Regardless of "who" the author turns out to be, the story remains the same. I don't need it to be real. In fact, I kind of hope it's all fiction.

According to the spectre is already "hard at work on the next novel." Actually, it reads: "The JT Leroy's hard at work on the next novel" with a funny picture of a roomful of women typing like crazy. I can't wait to read what "The JT Leroy's" write next.

Friday, October 28, 2005

B'bye Scooter

As this news broke...

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff resigned Friday after he was indicted on charges of obstructing a grand jury investigation and lying about his actions that blew the CIA cover of an Iraq war critic's wife.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby became the first high-ranking White House official in decades to be criminally charged while still in office. jaw dropped. I was flabbergasted. When I finally managed to speak, this is what I said:

"Oh my God!" This got the attention of everyone in the immediate area. "There was someone named 'Scooter' working in the Whitehouse?"

Why I found this shocking, I do not know. It figures, I suppose. I'm not surprised that there was corruption at the highest levels of our government. That's a given, but "Scooter"? How did Bubba and Jethro avoid indictment?

This new development, coupled with Harriet scampering away, marks the beginning of the end for the Bush regime, mark my words. It won't be long now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Got Smote?

I honestly cannot recall the last time I was smitten, really smitten.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's in a name?

I would like it take a moment to discuss my rather unusual pseudonym and the reasoning behind it. My decision to be pseudonymous is, like most, to protect my "real" identity and to be free of the constraints that identity may hold. For instance, my given name is Wayne, which means "wagonmaker." Now, I have never, nor do I have any intention to ever, construct a vehicle to transport your shit to the promised land. That being said, I blame my parents, who planned out their children's names before we were ever conceived, with such precision as to rhyme. The truth is, if I hadn't been the eldest, I would have been a Shane. Or Elaine. Or some other such painfully pretentious name in the same vein.

I believe that there is energy connected to our names. Would Elvis have been Elvis if he was a Hubert? I think not. That is why, when Saviour Onassis occurred to me, I felt there had been divine intervention, perhaps from Hubert himself. This new moniker encapsulated my interests in a unique way, combining sacrilege, escapist politics and punk rock into one sweet little name. The first part appeals to my messiah complex. The second to my "Jackie" complex, which has to do with being a professional widow. Jackie, of course, couldn't handle it and married Onassis, I suspect, to escape her history with Kennedy. Which brings us to the "Dead Kennedy's," the punk band of whom I was never a fan, but I always loved their name. Blasphemy is a turn-on.

Despite the Suessical nature of my given name, I was born into a family of Mormons, not poets. Mormonism didn't jive with my own thoughts on spiritual life and I left the church, in a huff. Only to stumble around godless and forsaken, until I took up a theological quest of my own. This included dabbling in the occult, astrology, mythology, the "New Age", and naturally, the more mainstream dogmas like: sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. I have read numerous books on spirituality, consciousness, and self-improvement, which led me to the conclusion that we must all save ourselves. We hold the power of the universe. We manifest our own reality. There is no greater power than our own consciousness.

Now, there are also many interesting anagrams that can be derived from Saviour Onassis.

  • son is as saviour

  • our ass is so vain

  • so various as sin

  • no virus as oasis

  • our ass as vision

  • siva is on our ass

The most interesting to me is that last one, siva is on our ass.
"Siva is the god of destruction. His duty is to destroy all the worlds at the end of creation and dissolve them into nothingness. Siva's destruction is not negative. It is a positive, nourishing and constructive destruction that builds and transforms life and energy for the welfare of the world and the beings that inhabit it. He destroys in order to renew and regenerate. His destruction is the destruction of an artist, or a surgeon or a cook. Through destruction he facilitates the smooth transitions of things and events from one stage to another."

"He destroys our imperfections in order to ensure our spiritual progress. He destroys our illusions, desires and ignorance. He destroys our evil and negative nature. He destroys our old memories, so that we can move on with the movement of time. He destroys our relationships, attachment, impurities, physical and mental wrong doings, the effects of bad karma, our passions and emotions and many things that stand between us and God as impediments to our progress and inner transformation."

Yes, with Siva on our ass, it is most important that we pay attention. You can learn more about Siva here. Now, back to the energy of names. Psychic Julia Melges-Brenner has this to say on the subject:

Throughout history, people have taken new names when going through spiritual initiations or rites of passage. They might be given new names by shamans or other spiritual leaders, or choose new names themselves. Jewish Rabbis will give someone who is seriously ill a new name, the idea being that this will infuse them with new life. Some peoples have even believed that if a person didn't have a name, he or she didn't really exist.

All of this reflects the underlying metaphysical truth that names have energetic vibrations, and everything in the Universe is ultimately energy. First, the sound of your name carries a vibration; it's like a mantra. There is great power associated with the spoken word, with bringing something abstract into the physical by speaking it out loud. Your name is the sound constantly associated with YOU, so if you change your name, you change what is associated with you.

In Saviour Onassis, I have created a generous messiah. A diety to remind us all of our own divine nature. It is true, that I fancy myself as a prophet, but then again, aren't we all? The world we live in is a manifestation of our own collective consciousness. First, we must accept responsibility and then we can proceed with the reinvention of ourselves and our universe. The message behind the icon I have created is an ironic one. If you're expecting me to take you higher... When will you learn? I'm not you're f*cking messiah! So I say to you, dear congregation, that you must Save Your Own Asses! But please, keep checking out mine, cause my ego is fragile...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Last Night I Dreamt...

I was in an old red brick building. It was a school of some kind and I knew that I loved the library. I had the impression that this building had once been a grand hotel, like the Ambassador. It was full of people, busily going about their business. I wandered around until I finally found a bathroom. (I had to pee real bad... Not great in the dream state.) As I relieved myself, the floor went out from under my feet, or rather...I was thrown. Instantly, I knew it was an earthquake. The tremors came again and again, very strong. What do I do? I thought as I felt the building collapsing around me. My body flew around the room. I quickly settled on the decision that: This was not me. And then I was outside, a survivor of what seemed to be, the destruction of a single building. All around, the city was still intact.

It looked as if the ground had decided to swallow this structure, whole. Where it had stood, seven stories into the sky, now completely flat. I knew that there were many people still inside and watched as other survivors scrambled to rescue them. But they couldn't find anyone. I walked to where the entrance had been and removed a piece of rubble. I had uncovered a large hole, leading down into what had been the lobby. I called out, my voice echo through the cavernous opening and I heard movement below. I called again, "This way!"

Somehow, my voice acted as a beacon. From the ruins, survivors came...along with the dead. Zombies filed out the building effortlessly. They looked shaken and in shock, and they were definitely dead. I could tell because they were blue and looked like zombies I had seen in movies. The living survivors needed a lot more help. They were crying and distressed. I helped them out, never fearing the zombies, just knowing that they posed no threat.

I got the feeling that something of mine was buried in there. Something that would not make it out. I don't know what it was, but I am sure that I no longer need it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rebel Angel

About a year ago, I received a letter from a well-known organization in the "sports world" indicating that according to their records, they owed me two hundred dollars. All I had to do was verify my address and mail them back. Now, I have absolutely no recollection of having had anything whatsoever to do with this particular organization, as I have always regarded sports as "something that hits me in the head." (I regret that I cannot divulge the name of the company, you'll see why...) Naturally, I was curious and I did indeed verify my name and address, also inquiring as to why they owed my money. I could not imagine a reason and months passed by without a reply, so I forgot about it.

Then, sure enough, a check arrived in my mailbox, just last week. No explanation. Nothing. Just this small, unexpected fortune. I mentioned this to a friend, who pointed out that being in the film industry, especially in the commercial world, isn't it highly likely that at some point maybe I had worked for them? I guess so. My memory is for shit and the amount corresponds to an entry level day rate... Did this mean I didn't have to feel guilty about cashing the check? Could I abort my plan to send it to victims of some horrible natural disaster? I decided I would have to think about it.

So, the check sat on my desk and I tried not to think about it. But I did think about it. Should I just recycle the karma? Or was this some kind of karmic payback? Surely, a giant corporation would rather just pay up, such a small amount, whether it was legitimate or not. I thought about the things I would buy if I had two hundred dollars, just for me. I thought about people starving, homeless, and desperate. I thought about how horrible and selfish I am. I thought about all the money I have given in recent years, to causes I believe in. I thought about all these things and then suddenly, I picked up the check and went to the bank.

This was Saturday, so the line was really long, criminally long. I decided to skip it and went outside to deposit through the ATM. Now, the money was in my account and I still had a choice. I could keep it or give it away. I left the bank and drove, no particular destination in mind. I mulled over what charities could benefit the most from my generosity. I circled a parking lot, waiting for a space to open up. I watched two teenage girls, beautiful, healthy California girls, get into a Mercedes and drive away. I parked in their space. I thought about how horrible it would be to have a major earthquake here in LA. I walked up the steps to the GAP.

Inside the store, I was in a dreamstate. I watched helplessly as I tried on a corduroy blazer. Then, another and another. They were on sale. Unable to make a decision about the color, I took three and wandered into the pant section. Another sale. Where was my size? 32 now, not 36 like before... I only found two pair and headed for the cashier.

"That will be one seventy three fifteen, debit or credit?"

"Debit," I replied, handing her my card. Within moments, I was out the door. It had all happened so fast. I bought three corduroy blazers, one navy, one tan, and one charcoal, and two pairs of pinstripe pants, both brown. What had happened? Who was this person dressing me in GAP clothes? Had I gone completely mad? I spent $173.15 in less than five minutes! That only leaves $26.85 for the orphans! What was I thinking?

After the initial shock wore off, I readied myself for a gallery opening that night. "Rebel Angels at the End of the World" was the name of the show. How appropriate, I thought as I wandered through impressionistic paintings of James Dean and Captain Kangaroo. Normally, I despise the pretension that goes along with events like this, but that night I was especially calm, knowing that I looked fabulous in my navy corduroy blazer and pinstripe pants.

The Digital Age

Some things in life are unexpected.
This can be unpleasant.
But if you know what is coming,
you can prepare
emotionally, physically and psychically.
That way when it finally happens,
it can even be rewarding.
Wouldn't you know...
The one time I go in to see the doctor,
fully ready for, expecting, and anticipating
a prostate exam and
he doesn't do it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

No Thank You

This month marks the expiration of my Costco membership. I can't really imagine why I felt compelled to get one in the first place. I am a young, single, gay man and the things that I need and desire to own are not for sale at warehouse prices. I suppose part of the allure was having heard Sandra Bernhard tell the story of how she took Britney Spears there to purchase copious amounts of toilet paper. "I like to buy my paper products in bulk." Sandra said. Who doesn't? I asked myself as I drove deep into the valley to where I had passed this local bastion of commerce. The parking lot was so crowded, it took me at least ten minutes to find a space. As I approached the monolithic building, my pulse quickened. Was this the answer to all life's problems? A blast of conditioned air hit me as I entered. I immediately went to the membership counter and signed up. Forty bucks for a one year admission seemed a little steep, but I was sure I would recoup it in the incredible savings. Now, it was time to shop.

I wandered the aisles, careful to avoid the baby carriages and gigantic shopping carts of the many family units that filled the store. I was truly amazed to see how literally everything could be sold in ridiculously large quantities. Who couldn't appreciate a 5 gallon jar of spaghetti sauce? Wide screen TV's, power tools, golf shorts, candy bars, it was overwhelming. After the initial shock wore off, I tried to find something I could justify buying. None of the bestselling books interested me. Their DVD and CD selection was lame. I could never consume any of the food products before they expired. The clothes were ugly. I didn't have room for a patio set or a china hutch. Slowly, I began to realize that I had made a horrible mistake.

Babies were crying. Old ladies were trying to get me to taste their summer sausages. Poorly parented children ran willy-nilly, to and fro. Couples argued over hams and pies. I was in hell... and I needed out. But I couldn't leave without buying something. So, I made a selection and headed to the deeper level of the underworld, which was checking out. The lines were all insanely long. Where was the express line for attractive, young folks who just needed one little thing? I was astonished by the purchases I witnessed my fellow members making. I guess your baby will need all those diapers after it eats fifty cans of chili... Once out, I ran to the car and vowed never to return. This place was evil, pure evil...

How sad is it that someone could be buried in a coffin purchased at Costco? I drove home, shaken. It was a good thing that I now had 1500 B-vitamins to help calm my nerves. I was happy to receive a letter recently, reminding me that my membership to Satan World was almost expired. Would I like to renew? No, thank you!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Why I prefer desperation to death

I am currently trudging my way through Season 3 of Six Feet Under. Yes, I know, I am unfashionably behind, since I do not have cable and my local video store sucks. Thankfully, I recently switched over to Netflix. I am once again back in the land of the living and what do I do? I go straight for the depression, death and despair of Six Feet Under.

I had rented the first two seasons, years ago and was enthralled. It was the first series since Twin Peaks that I felt an affinity to. TP was the best thing to happen to network television and I was sorely disappointed when ABC decided to cancel it. Of course, back then the networks weren't as competition savvy as they are now. See, when the cable series' started to take off, cable channels had the luxury of showing the episodes over and over again, so audiences could keep up. Now, of course, ABC is back with two hit shows, LOST and Desperate Housewives, and they are smart enough to repeat episode twice a week, so we don't have another Twin Peaks situation. Of course, my schedule is so maddeningly unpredictable, I missed almost all of Lost and DH in their first season. But thanks to DVD, I am catching up. I finished Desperate Housewives Season 1 recently and was in the mood to watch another series. I thought Six Feet Under would be a perfect one to pick back up. Like I said, I am trudging through. I am in a strange state of shock.

While there are similarities between the two shows (this has been commented on by many a reviewer). I find the differences more disturbing. SFU is much more grounded in reality. Sure people die on Desperate Housewives, but not in every single episode. But it's not the body count that bothers me at all, it's the living. These characters are all so incredibly fucked up and I relate to them. No one in the Fisher family seems capable of being happy. It's painful to watch how they manipulate each other and allow themselves to be manipulated. I think the women of Wisteria Lane are smarter than the Fishers. They are certainly happier. The housewives are all resourceful enough to manage their lives. I do not want to look at the hard realities of my own mortality. I would rather make cookies with Bree, or get drunk with Edie, or have a sleepover with Susan and Julie...or do a little gardening. Truth be told, I prefer the primetime desperation of Housewives to the inevitable gloom of the Fisher clan.

I guess I should think of Six Feet Under as a cautionary tale, how not to live...

Now, I know that I will keep watching SFU because I just will. Even though I am seasons behind and much has been spoiled for me. I remember driving down La Brea and glancing over at the city bus next to me, reading: RIP Lisa Fisher with the dates of her birth and death. Boom! Spoiler, on the side of a friggin' bus. And the hoopla surrounding the series finale was too hard to avoid. Yeah, Nate finally dies. All I can do is wait...and watch.

It's interesting to me that these shows were both created by middle-aged gay men, Alan Ball (Six Feet Under) and Mark Cherry (Desperate Housewives). Again, despite the similarities, here we have two vastly divergent points of view. I hope that someday, when I myself reach middle-age, I will be able to create a series that will be as critically and commercially successful as these men have. I cannot say what tone or aesthetic my own show would have, but I imagine that it would reek of genius. But that's just a self-educated guess.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pee Boy (part three)

Ah, puberty! It was the twilight of my youth, soon I would no longer be desirable to pedophiles, I was becoming a man. One night, as I was preparing for bed, I heard my mother's voice call to me. I padded down the hall and into the master bedroom. My parents were both in bed, the television off. I stood in the doorway, waiting.

"Come here," Mom said, motioning me over to her side of the bed. I cautiously approached, wondering what was up. "Your father and I have been talking." This was not good. "We were wondering if that other ball ever came in." As if it had been on back order. My face turned red. I assured her that everything was fine and tried to retreat. "Show us."

So, there I am, on the verge of manhood, forced to pull down my underwear in order to prove to my parents that I had balls, plural. I looked away, wishing the TV were on. Both my parents examined the evidence visually. Yes, the undescended testicle had made it's way down to form a pair. Satisfied that my cremaster muscle was in proper working condition, my mother excused me, wishing me sweet dreams. Dad never said a word. I went back to my room and closed the door. I knew that what had just happened was not normal. Other preteen boys were not having their genitals scrutinized by their folks. At least I had passed the test.

This is when I started living a secret life. My Dad had built me a bed with a dresser underneath and a secret crawl space with a little door. I loved having a place to hide. I would keep all kinds of things in there. But my favorite thing to hide was the old Sears catalog. Every year, my brother and I were allowed to go through the catalog and pick out what we wanted Santa to bring us from Sears, up to $100. Mostly, I wanted multi-player games. Domination, Hungry Hungry Hippos, etc. Which is ironic because I had no one to play with. But that didn't deter me from collecting games. If I ever did make a friend, we would never run out of games to play. One year, I flipped the pages of the catalog from the beginning, not going directly to the toy section. That's when I discovered the men's underwear page.

These images did things to me that I could not explain. I would stare at the photos of these men for long periods of time, hiding in the crawlspace with a flashlight. This atmosphere, of course, led to other behaviours I won't bother describing. But let's just say, I had found a reason to live.

I don't know what prompted it, maybe she had found the dog-eared catalog or the old nightgown I had stolen from her, but one day my mother asked me if I agreed with her about homosexuals. "They are disgusting, right? I mean, they stick it up each other's butts!" Shocked, I agreed and quickly ran away, horrified by the unexpectedness of her question. Later, I learned that Mom's best friend had once been married to a man who left her for another man. I babysat this woman's kids, from time to time, and felt an odd kinship with her oldest son, six years younger than me. Nothing ever happened between us, but I was not surprised in the least to learn that he was also gay. My little sister became his hag when they went off to college. Of course, back then, neither of us new a thing about sexuality. Sex was something you did with your cousin in the woodshed, not with strangers.

But I digress, the story is about wetting the bed, which I continued to do. Even after I had gone off to college, the secret followed me. The trick I used to hide the odor from my roommate was to pile about twenty blankets on my bed and air it out when he was not around. I was a theater major and things had gone well for me. Towards the end of the first year, I happened to see Madonna's "Truth or Dare" and my life was instantly changed. It was an "Aha!" moment. You see, it had never occurred to me that I could be openly gay, that I could tell people and they would accept it. Never crossed my mind, until I saw Madonna and her band of merry men! I was obsessed and talked nonstop about what a great movie it was. At this point, I had become good friends with Sean* and he agreed to drive to Tucson and see it with me. Long story short, that night I end up coming out of the closet to him and he ends up with his dick in my ass. This led to all kinds of complications to our friendship, which did not continue much longer, but I will always be grateful to him for listening without prejudice to me saying the words which freed me from two decades of bed-wetting, "I am gay."

And just like that, it was over. I never wet the bed again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pee Boy (part two)

"Let him lie in it," my father would tell my mother when she changed my sheets in the middle of the night. "That'll teach him." And after awhile, I guess she grew tired of the ritual and did as he said, leaving it up to me to take care of it. I would get up at night and remove the soiled sheets and place them in the hamper. Sometimes I would put on new ones. Sometimes I would just curl up in my blanket, if it wasn't too wet. Or simply move to the other end of the bed. I tried just lying in it, thinking maybe Dad was right and that I would "learn" not to do it. But on cold nights, the initial warmth would soon fade and I would awake in a pool of freezing liquid, shivering. I would place an old towel over the wet spot and move my body to a drier area.

"What's the matter with you?" My father would ask with contempt and disgust. "Don't you know when you have to go to the bathroom?"

"I don't know," I replied to both questions. When it would happen, I was asleep and would awaken once it was too late and my bladder had already let go. As I got older, it became more upsetting to be startled awake and realize that I had done it yet again. But mostly, it was a comforting feeling. Oh well, I would think and let myself be surrounded by the warm liquid. It felt like love, only more consistent.

"He'll grow out of it," my mother would say. But long after my baby brother, three years younger, could get through the night dry, I was still wet. I began to think there was something horribly wrong with me. Was it possible that my potty-training had gone awry? Did I lack the ability to just hold it? This became painfully evident once I started school and having "accidents." Going to the bathroom had become a horrible and disgusting thing to me and to interrupt a teacher during class was unthinkable. The other kids would laugh at my inability to wait until recess. So, I would sit at my desk and try to hold out. Sometimes, this would work and at break, I would scamper off to the restroom to do my business privately, secretly. But other times, I just couldn't hold it. The blood would drain from my face as I felt my bladder betray me. At first, no one would notice but, inevitably, urine would drip from my seat onto the floor, sometimes making a ridiculous streaming sound and causing some little perfect blond girl to scream. Then they would all stare and laugh. Our teacher would sigh loudly and dismiss me. I would struggle against my tears as I stood up, the seat of my Garanimal pants completely soaked, and I would walk slowly out the door of the classroom.

I was in the principals office often enough to be a delinquent. The office ladies would see my coming and already be on the phone to my mother. When I would get to the door, they would shoo me out. "Wait outside. Your mother is on her way!" Forced to endure even further public humiliation, I would stand on the curb, wet, waiting for Mom. Depending on the time of day, and her disposition, Mom would either take me home and send me upstairs to change or she would bring new pants with her and I would have to go back to class, in unmatching Garanimals. It was around this time that Mom obtained a prescription. A cure! A little pink pill take was guaranteed to stop all "accidents." The only problem was that I was deathly afraid of little pink pills. The first time, I was open enough to the idea, but as soon as it hit my tongue, I could taste the chemical and would become violently nauseated. After that, I would struggle and cry and fight with every fiber of my being to keep that damn thing out of my mouth. Even when they would go down, they didn't work. So, Mom gave up.

Then there was "The Loneliest Runner," a Michael Landon TV movie about a boy whose mother would hang his soiled bedsheets outside the house and he would have to run home from school to retrieve them before anyone saw. The boy becomes a competitive runner and in real life, he became Michael Landon. I hated this movie. But my parents would force me to watch it every time it came on and say things like, "Maybe we should do that to you? What do you think?" To which I eventually replied: "I would run away." Since we lived on the Mexican border, this was deemed a credible threat and they didn't push the issue. But they found other ways to torture me. After all, there was still that undescended testicle...


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pee Boy

I stood there completely naked on a tiny platform, my young body shivering from the exposure, under the glare of fluorescent lights. I stared down at the cold, white tile floor of the examining room, afraid I might accidentally make eye contact with my parents or the doctor, all of whom stood on the other side of the room, watching me. The only person who seemed to understand my humiliation was the young nurse, who kept her attention on the cotton swabs she couldn't quite get organized. This is all my fault, I thought and it was. After all, it was me who couldn't stop wetting the bed. I was about to start going to school and something had to be done, so my parents sought professional help. This particular day had included all sorts of tests and examinations of my genitalia and had led up to this final humiliation. I had been instructed to disrobe and stand on a tiny platform that I suspect was designed for just this purpose. I was also forced to consume a great deal of water. Then, confirming my fears, the doctor spoke.

"Alright. If you could just pee on the floor..." The doctor said. Had I heard him correctly? Urinating where I am not supposed to is what got me into this mess in the first place. I look up, as if to say: What you talkin' about, Willis? as I had seen Gary Coleman do on TV. That's when I saw my parents faces. Mom looked as though she were about to cry and my father was not pleased with the situation either. I noticed that the nurse had tuned in to the action as well, knowing that she would be the one that had to clean it up. The doctor made his request again. "Go ahead. It's okay. Just...pee...on...the....floor."

I looked down at the sparkling clean floor, the same white tiles that all clinics and hospitals seem to have. I judged the distance between me and my audience, about ten feet. I can do this, I thought and took hold of my penis to aim.

"Don't touch it!" The doctor screeched and I immediately flung both arms away from my body. My parents exchanged concerned glances. The nurse suppressed a giggle and I began to panic. What will happen if I don't aim? I might pee all over everybody... Suddenly, I decided that would be just the thing to do. I took a deep breath and as I exhaled, a healthy burst of urine shot out onto the pristine floor. I really had to go and I made a sizable puddle. The last drops fell closer to me than the initial blast and I was grateful to be up on the platform. To my dismay, not one drop of pee got on the doctor, or anyone else. I looked up and smiled, pleased with myself anyway. Everyone's attention was now on the doctor, awaiting his diagnosis.

"Well," he said, "There is nothing wrong there. Everything is functioning normally, but I am still concerned about that testicle."

That testicle. My stupid, undescended testicle! Which, through earlier tests, the doctor had determined was there but just didn't want to come out to play. I didn't blame it, after all the poking and prodding the other "descended" testicle had endured. I would hide, too. Doctor Willis made a motion for me to walk around the puddle and I did. The nurse handed me back my hospital robe, which I was more than happy to have back on. Then we all walked out of the room, leaving her to her task. As the door closed behind us, I looked back and saw her unfurling a roll of paper towels. She looked right at me. She looked sad.

I was led into another room by a different nurse and given back my civilian clothes. My parents accompanied the doctor into his office, where I supposed they discussed what I look like naked. I imagined Doctor Willis explaining all about my penis and undescended testicle. My father sniffing his fingers in the hope of extracting some of the nicotine lingering there. My mother wondering what she had done wrong... Truthfully, I didn't see what the big deal was. It wasn't like I peed in their bed every night. I was used to it. I had never slept on a mattress that didn't have plastic sheets under the soft cotton ones. And I didn't care. My parents, on the other hand, were horrified by it. Was this the beginning of a lifelong obsession with by bedroom behaviours? I shuddered at the thought as I redressed.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

I'm Desperate

Somedays, I don't even leave my apartment. I don't have to anymore. Anything I desire, I can find through my beautiful iBook. The future is here and it's not nearly as dreadfully boring as George Lucas would have us believe. Just about everything you could imagine, is at your fingertips. At a whole lot more, if you are not careful. For instance, I don't recommend ordering pizza from New York, if you live in Los Angeles. Or a bride from Russia. Or a quickie with a stranger. Stick to things you can rely on being fresh and exactly what you want. One such item I have had pretty good luck with is T-shirts. After all, you can't find a "What would Courtney do?" Tee at Target.

My most recent acquisition was this:

I absolutely adore the show, Desperate Housewives, and didn't hesitate for an instant when I ordered it. It wasn't until later, while I chipped ice out of my antique freezer, that I pondered the meaning of the message. This was one of two "men's" shirts for sale. The other said "Everyone has a little Dirty Laundry." But the one I purchased, not just because it was on sale, clearly says something else about me. I might as well have bought a shirt that says "I'm Gay," that's the real message behind the mantra. I thought it was cute and funny, only now are the deeper implications sinking in.

The ladies shirts are just as obvious. Which Housewife are you? "I'm an Edie" = "I'm a Slut", and so on, fulfilling all sorts of archetypical heroines from Mother to Martha. And I do suppose that it is those archetypes that appeal to me. Of course, they are all much more complex than they appear, but my question is this: What straight man would wear a T-shirt that proclaims "I'm Desperate"?

Unlike Andrew, I am all about the chocolate. Vanilla only goes in my morning tea and I am comfortable with that. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that when this shirt arrives, I will fear wearing it. On the contrary, I look forward to it. After all, I am desperate and I am not afraid to let people know. I may even order the "I'm an Edie."

Yes, life on Wisteria Lane can sometimes be complicated, but a little fashion sense goes a long, long way.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Lonely Hunter

"Life is hard...and so am I."

For the longest time, I thought that precious pearl of wisdom had come from my own brain, so imagine my disappointment when, watching an old 'eels' video, I heard E sing those very words. Damn that E! He's always beating me to the punch, punching me to the beat, and generally annoying the living shit out of me. Yeah, so I'm not the genius who thought that up. Now that I think about it, I am glad. Happy to have recycled my psyche, and sad that I had forgotten the source, I vow to never assume that anything I think is what I am actually thinking.

It's such a depressing sentiment anyway. Who needs to know that life is hard and that the difficulty of living has hardened me. The sexual innuendo is so faint, it's practically latent. With such hardship, who needs a boner? I certainly don't. They always seem to get in the way of what I really want, which is not to fuck the hard, cruel world but to be loved. Boo Hoo! I get lonely. So fuck-diddly-ucking what... All these self-fulfilling prophecies bore me. I want action. I want romance. I want snow, but all I get is ash. But as they say, ash and you shall receive.

Am I a Xerox of my former self? Generationally removed from my authenticity? Have the subtle shades of my character been blown out? These are the questions I ask myself on a Friday night, because I am in need of an answer. No more band-aids. No more bruises. No more scarification. This is my heart:

I expect you to be careful with it, though it's me who really needs to take care. That's how it is and, I suppose, how it should be. Does it scare you? Or does the lack of scars intrigue you? I am a system of beliefs, in need of revision, reinvention. I am no longer my own worst enemy. I cannot afford the war and battle seems so futile in the tents, late at night. The ticket is in mystery, in the desert air, in the things there are no words for. It calls up from the bowels of the universe, for a new mantra. I listen to the faint and repeat the inspiration:

"Life is easy...and so am I"

Am I a diamond forged from the pressure? Or am I merely a slut? More questions desperate for attention, searching for signs of intelligent life, emotional life, or life itself... I know that, it's in the way a challenge presents itself, I get lost. I play Truth or Dare. So, what will it be?

So be it.