My mother the Baptist fanatic, who hadn’t spoken to me since I’d come out as a gay man eighteen years earlier, left me a voicemail telling me that with “the passage of time,” she now accepted my “lifestyle” and hoped we could “patch things up as soon as possible.”
“All right, Mom, what do you want?” I asked when I called her a week later (as soon as possible by my standards).
“Nothing,” she replied. “I’ve changed.”
I agreed to meet her for lunch sometime.
“She must have eaten her first pussy,” my husband speculated later.
If so, hooray for new experiences, though rebooting a relationship can make you pine for the previous script and its well-rehearsed predictability.
Stopping at Target and seeing the empty shelves due to the COVID-related supply chain disruptions, I joked to my girlfriend that we lived in the Eastern Bloc now, causing her to respond in a non-joking manner that good thing we had, in her words, “turned into Blocheads,” because, first, the American desire for cheap, bountiful consumer products had driven down wages and destroyed the environment; and, second, those Communist countries at least had generous social programs and no, again in her words, “religious crap,” though of course other crap had existed. Every ideology has its crap, she added matter-of-factly. (She’d taken Cold War History in college, taught by a professor so radical, he wore ragged jeans to class.)
12/31/2021: Tyler, having heard Betty White, the last surviving Golden Girl, had died that day, posted on his Reddit account those nude photos she’d posed for sometime in her twenties, photos where she shows her non-geriatric boobs and butt. His girlfriend Skyler, a Golden Girls fan, saw him post the photos.
“You think she’s hot?” she asked.
“Sure,” he replied. “I’d bang her.”
“I’d rather bang the young Bea Arthur.”
Whereupon Ty and Sky ushered in the new year by staying home and banging each other. Afterwards, screw COVID, they spent $105 on-line for two VIP tickets for the Golden Girls puppet show in January at that fancy theater. You can do anything when you’re in love.
Sure, my brother’s a Vicodin addict, but at least his migraines have disappeared. And hey, he feels absolutely great; some Vikings get all depressed, even more depressed than the kids at my high school. (Vike-kings, get it?) Every time I drop by his apartment, his upbeat mood almost convinces me he’ll be okay. Almost.
Speaking of his apartment, how does he even pay rent? He won’t tell me; he lost his job months ago, and I sure as hell don’t give him anything. Maybe Mom does. She won’t tell me, either.
My last visit, he said “You should quit teaching and become a barista. Coffee keeps people sane. Homework doesn’t.” (I do puns; he does epigrams.)
“You know what Mommy said?” my six-year-old son asked me during dinner at Dave & Buster’s. “She said the firefighters serve the people, the ambulances serve the people, and the cops serve the government.”
Later, after I’d returned him to my ex-wife, and he’d gone off to watch Trolls World Tour for the millionth time:
“Stop feeding him your anti-police bullshit,” I told her.
“Yeah, telling him the truth is bullshit,” she said.
“Keep it up, and I’ll sue for full custody.”
“Good luck with that. You’re lucky you get to see him at all.”
“A little too early for PMS, isn’t it?”
And then she really went ballistic. Even the single life stresses me.
“Wanna know why we lost in Afghanistan? We didn’t bang enough hookers. If we banged any. I don’t think they even have hookers there. When you invade a country, you gotta keep the troops motivated.”
“What about Vietnam? I saw Full Metal Jacket; we banged plenty of their hookers, yet we still lost.”
“Not really. According to Noam Chomsky—”
“Who’s he? A pimp?”
“No, a political writer. He said we actually won in Vietnam, ’cause we made it an example. Fuck around and find out. That philosophy kept us in charge around the world, long as we had hookers. But now—I doubt Afghanistan’ll ever get a Starbucks or even a Taco Bell.”
As we ate organic chicken taquitos in the employee dining hall during lunch, my coworker Brynn asked me if I planned to attend “that thing” commemorating the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.
I couldn’t resist. “You mean take your plane to work day?”
Brynn laughed. Then I think that bitch complained to HR, just as I think she’d complained when I’d joked about fundamentalist anti-trans nutcases. No sensitivity training this time, though—the company fired me, after those federally-enhanced unemployment benefits had expired. So much for the publishing business. Perhaps I had a death wish, saying anything around her. But I had gigantic balls. And I still do. In your mama’s mouth, ha ha.
Half the cops in town are honest, and the rest are smart. You can guess which type I prefer. A greased palm or two can work wonders. (Turn that into a meme, ha ha.) The honest cops either quit or get fired, or they eventually wise up and start getting their share. I think my son Preston knows how things work with law enforcement; he grew up here, after all. He’s at college, working toward an MBA. He’s ambitious as hell and thinks he’ll become the next Bezos or Zuckerberg. Maybe. I thought I could do anything at his age. Well, I did something. No regrets, though—regrets are for the poor.
My fiancé Delbert and I met my family for dinner one night at Eat’n Park. Soon after the waitress had brought our group’s beverages, five Cokes, my parents asked him how he expected to support me on an associate proctologist’s salary. “Quite well,” he said.
“Yeah, you make a hole lotta money, right?” my brother asked.
My parents laughed, drawing me closer to Delbert. He hated jokes about his profession. If my parents hadn’t laughed, who knows? I might have told him “Sorry” and married Hank instead, who actually ended up marrying my future lover Brenda. I might never have met her or even stopped drinking Coke. (She preferred mineral water.)