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School day memories best forgotten

Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs

Recently, I was reminded my school day memories were not always pleasant. Perhaps my greatest trauma was in second grade when we were learning to write with a pen. Remember pen-wipers, the ink well in the desk corner, the replaceable pen point?

I kept bending the point down and ruining it to the extent I was forced to write with my pencil for the rest of the year. The only one in the class so ordered. Oh the shame! The humiliation! My teacher delicately asked my mother if I was “a bit spastic.”

As for baseball, I was inevitably sent to the outfield where everyone (I most of all) prayed nothing would come my way.

Another unfulfilled goal was letting out a piercing whistle through my fingers and teeth. Forget about it. Besides, no one could compete with Gloria Goldberg, one of my girlfriends – she of the extremely short hair and boots.

My greatest wish was to perfect the manly art of spitting. I practiced diligently to no noticeable effect. While others, including Gloria, could zap a fly on a leaf, I sprayed the whole rhododendron.

Of course the many gay guys who actually love sports and the rugged lifestyle escaped the sissy tag. Unfortunately some hid (hide?) their gayness to the extent of being outwardly anti-gay. I tell myself they regret those days; I realize then to keep job, reputation and even family ties the self-preservation gene overcame the gay gene. I forgive them, I guess. I’m working on it.

I even have a hard time believing they are gay. How is their decorating sense? Do they like musicals? Do they know who Dorothy is?

Wait a minute. What am I doing? Am I actually giving in to all those years of brainwashing by Hollywood (of all places!) that gay guys are silly queens and lesbians are women prison guards? How foolish I am.

Current movies, TV and books are finally showing a vast and positive variety of gay life. The diversity of which allows for gay guys to be football players as well as drag queens and lesbians to be rugged women athletes as well as gorgeous bikini models. Young people are not bound in their thinking as we were. They recognize themselves among the spectrum, realize they are not alone and come out as many of us never could.

We older people have to look beyond the past when our gay world was far more restrictive and celebrate the wonderful diversity of worlds available to the young gays and lesbians of today.

More body-strewn than Tijuana, more deadly than St. Mary Mead

In “the old days,” gay themes in popular novels and TV shows were always well hidden with he/she changes, confirmed bachelors, effeminate antique shop owners or two pathetic maiden ladies sharing a house together “to save money.” A wink and a nudge did the rest. For serious crimes, they were re-occurring themes due to the blackmail possibilities and scandalous photos that brought ruin and retribution for their sin.

I don’t miss those plot lines, but I do miss the murder genre in which I could figure out the killer if I paid attention. I love the beginnings: a bus arrives; a wan, pregnant woman gets off with a small, shabby suitcase and no wedding ring! She wends her weary way to the inevitable diner and asks directions to “the old Jackson house,” home of the town’s wealthiest citizen. “No, no. I’ll manage,” she says, refusing all help, and walks off into the evening dusk … Weell!

We all know a pistol or a pickaxe is just a few pages away. After all, this is the most dangerous place in the world, Cabot Cove, Maine. Bodies (usually dead) have to be stepped over as one goes to the post office, library or choir practice.

Always enjoyable is the slew of suspect suspects who invariably turn up from the long lost heir who just happens to be working as the bellhop to the usually mentally challenged sheriff or assistant (think arch-booby Dr. Watson).

Now all is changed. The crimes of LAPD, NYPD, NCIS, FBI, CIA, CVS etc. are solved through the computer and magic laboratory equipment. Team members need a PhD in chemistry, law and anatomy plus the ability to type at the speed of light.

I miss the art of deduction. I want a bloody cuff-link, a man’s sock under Lady Agatha’s bed, a left-handed golf club in the nunnery! What fun. Nowadays all that technical stuff makes me feel old, so I tell myself to just enjoy the scenery and the hunks.

Speaking of which, I do appreciate the more positive images of gays now on the shows, but wouldn’t it be great to have a gay team member solving the crimes? On second thought, what type of gay would he or she be? How stereotyped or non-stereotyped would the audience accept? Would the actor have to be gay?

I can see why the producers have delayed deciding the issue. I doubt even the members of the gay community could agree. Bring up the topic at your next meeting and you’ll end up with a very lively discussion.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Aug 18, 2011. Filed under Bill's Briefs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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