Monday, December 15, 2014

When I was a homophobe

     There was a time recently when I was called a "homophobe."  When I heard this I thought that someone should immediately inform my boyfriend.  This was the was first time in my life I had ever been accused of this actually.  What happened was I responded to a picture I saw shared on Facebook. It was a photo of a little boy with the "No on 8" campaign design on his cheek while holding a sign which read "My name is" whatever his name is "I am not gay but get called'... then listed pejoratives variations of the word faggot.  The sign when on to explain how his parents complained about the bullying to the school district and they not only took no action but the bullied kid was reprimanded by the school. I saw this sign and was shocked.  I also felt horrible for the kid.  I commented on the photo saying that people should have supported the kid based on the fact that he was a child being bullied and that alone. His sexuality had no relevance.  Then lots of people commented getting upset.  I then went on to say that there was no reason to explain if this child was gay or not. People should support all bullied children and try to protect them for the reason that they are kids and that alone.  After hundreds of others commented on this post someone randomly commented that I was the H-word.  This was said out of context.  Then when I commented saying that whether this kid was gay or not all that mattered was he needed help  Then again I was attacked by people on this post.  One person even went on to talk about how he had met me and knew people like me even though we had never met nor did we have any mutual friends.  He also lived in a part of the country I had never been to.  Then one of people on this board took a photo of one of my comments without the context of the "No on 8" photo and then posted it onto a blog called Joemygod, because the more drama the merrier.  The next day I was tweeted by about 40 people calling me a hateful homophobe telling me about how homophobia still had existed, an argument I never made in the first place...  Interestingly enough what these twitter people hadn't realized was that attaching me in this way on my personal account was pretty homophobic in itself.  I did not ever say that homophobia didn't exist.  I also never said that this kid from the original conversation was not called homophobic slurs but that didn't make his cause a gay one.  By clearly mentioning that this kid is not gay while advertising a symbol of gay rights does not make this kid's cause a gay one.  It's about a child who needs defending. That's all.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Vodka and Limelight donates to Margaret Cho's #BeRobin !

Come out to this event! On Wednesday 12/10 come out to a live reading and storytelling from my book "Vodka and Limelight!" For every book purchased on 12/10 I will donate $3 per book to Margaret Cho's charity #BeRobin ! There will be surprise guests and local celebrities! Please share, come and donate!

Come out 12/10! Buy "Vodka and Limelight" and I'll donate to #BeRobin !

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Run Forrest"

Intro rough draft for my next book....

            They say to write about what you know. Something you’re an authority on. I suppose writing about how to roll the perfect joint doesn’t make for a best seller. I do know how to drink responsibly and not be the guy who ever gets kicked out of a bar for any reason. That’s not a topic. Just called being an adult. I am though the biggest klutz who’s survived more odd injuries/impediments than Lindsay Lohan’s career. This is a topic that I am an authority on: surviving the lemons life throws and coming out a better person with lemonade and a funny story. At the end of the day that’s all we have. Our stories.

            I could start by telling you about one of the three black eyes I have survived in my life. None of which resulted from a fist. I could tell you about how during my 10 years bartending I accidentally cut my hands on glass more times than an old person cuts the cheese. I could tell you about my 19th birthday. When I broke my foot walking New York City. Yes. Walking. I could tell you about how I was hit by a car while crossing the street and not only survived but changed the world around me. I can tell you how I ended up with a few screws in my femur, a surgery that made me into the real life bionic man and left me with the uncanny ability to forecast the weather. We will circle back to that one later.

I suppose it’s best to start at the beginning. I was born with two left feet. That’s not a euphemism. I was the cutest pigeon-toed, flat-footed, bigheaded, shockingly pale-white little boy you ever did see.  You would have to be blind not to see me. I heard people needed sunglasses to look at baby me. I was so damn white. Back talking about my two literally left-feet. I was forced to sleep with these braces on my feet. Not exactly “Forrest Gump” style but similar. This is what the podiatrist assured my parents would help fix my feet. A pair of shoes with a metal bar connecting them and keeping the toes pointed as far out as possible. This was understood as the only way to help me have a normal life meaning able to walk like other people. It was also before I knew that I would never be like anyone else and that was actually okay.

Every night I would go to bed with those heavy braces on my little meatloaf looking feet. As a toddler I thought there wasn’t anything heavier than that bar holding my feet in place. As an adult I realize that bar couldn’t have been more than 3-5 pounds.  At bedtime my mom would tuck me into bed, which was a playpen because I was known for climbing out of the crib. I was the MacGyver of infants. What can I say? After mom hummed lullabies, setting me down in the pen and shut the light off, I was vehemently at work on an escape mission to find me real family, the rich one. I had lots of living to do.

I have never liked the word can’t or limitations others may put on one another. I also have never liked the word can’t. Many other kids in my situation would have thought, “I am in bed with heavy weight on my feet, maybe I should go to sleep.” Or feel bad about themselves for not being like everyone else. Not this guy. I took my legs, lied on my back rocking them back and forth in the middle of the night with my feet dangling over the side of the playpen.  After like 20 tries the momentum of the weight of the braces allowed my little body to fly across the room, and limp with the bar holding my feet together, pointed out the living room. Once there my mother would scream out of fear saying, “you could have killed yourself.” I would try to protest my bedtime and every time my father would carry me back to bed telling me to stay put. This would continue for another few years. Luckily I never stopped exploring and we eventually realized that the silly feet-braces didn’t work.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back when i was the "Tea Fag"

            Nine years was an interesting time in a young boy’ life. It was the point before we learned to take ourselves too seriously. It was the age of innocence. It was the age of spontaneous erections and awkward discoveries. It was the time when we truly understood the power of a good fart joke. This lightheartedness faded with time for some people. It was also the age where someone could do something that would stick with them for life. Trust me.

For years people would call me the “Tea Faggot.” I wish I would have had a good comeback and self-esteem to corrected them then.  I would have said, “I like coffee too!” I never did though. I was nine. The world was a different place then. The internet was still a big wilderness and a twinkle in most of regular people’s eyes. “Beverly Hills 90210” was on TV. It was the first time around, when Donna was STILL a virgin. Kirstie Alley was known less for her size and more for her incessant whining on “Cheers” then. It was just a different time.

I was in the fourth grade. I had three real friends. I was related to two of them and one of them gave birth to me. The point is that there were slim pickin’s and that was okay with me. My cousin Nicole was one of my best friends not completely by choice but mostly by situation. We were latchkey kids two months apart with mothers who were sisters. We looked like twin boys until puberty completely hit. I was nine so that tide hadn’t hit yet. We were also in the same class Nicole and I. We also had the same friend.

After school Nicole and I would walk to her house. This was where I lived as far as the school district was concerned because it was a better neighborhood than my own. Our mothers both worked long hours because they had to which left us with lots of down time. This was where we learned to be creative. This was also where we realized that we loved television more than some of our relatives.

The second we got home the TV went on and we went on search for a snack. After dealing with the drudgery of being little fat 9 year olds who were teased often, we needed some caloric love. I would go through the cupboards and fridge and create amazing snacks. There were quesadillas, bologna and tortilla sandwiches and sometimes my aunt would leave us quiche. Yes quiche. If that didn’t sound cute enough, I would also have tea every day. What 9 year olds drink tea? Me. With quiche and tea I’m surprised I ever had the need to formally come out to anyone.

It was one fourth grade afternoon that was just like many others before it. Nicole and I were just finishing watching an episode of “Tale Spin” and about to put on our favorite movie, “Hook.” It was at that moment we both were startled by the sound of the teakettle. My other cousin who was 20 at the time was in her room so we weren’t exactly alone. Since the whistle meant it was tea time, I went to pour Nicole and I a Styrofoam cup. I know, who uses Styrofoam? It was a different time. Anyway, there was a commercial that came on the TV as I was pouring the hot water into the little cups that has a loud bell noise in it. I got startled, tapped the table with the cups and spilled the boiling hot water all over my shorts. It took me a second to realize what has happened. I then started to scream. It felt as though my shorts were literally stuck to my skin and burning through it. I wanted to rip the shorts off but I was in front of 2 girl cousins. Not knowing what to do my older cousin makes me hop into a bath running cold water with the shorts still on. I would eventually get the shorts off, pulling some of my skin with it. It was horrible. My normally pale-bordering clear skinned leg was now lobster red. My poor 20 year old cousin looked horrified running cold water on me. She quickly called for an ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived at the house so had my mother. This was odd because in those days my mom was late to everything. We would often tell her to come to events an hour earlier than the actual time for this reason. When my mom arrived I was being transferred from the bath to the weird bed they carry you on when you are being helped by an ambulance. Hot, muscled EMT guys carrying me on a cot. An image wasted on 9 year old me. As the two men carried me to the ambulance my mom followed less than a foot away in tears. My mom went from tears to bustin’ balls inside the ambulance van. I was screaming due to the pain in my leg. This was before I knew the appropriate obscenities. It was just yelling. We are speeding through intersections and the female EMT say, “We don’t allow screaming.” I wanted to tell her we didn’t allow her Millers Outpost look but would make due. I didn’t say that. My mom though made eye contact with the woman and shut her down. She then said, “if he wants to scream, he is in pain. Let him scream.”

Once at the hospital it took at least 2 hours for a doctor to help me. Bureaucracy at it’s best. They didn’t even give me a pain reliever. My mom spent the whole time pacing and losing sanity. After a long wait and waiting again they gave me a pain reliever and proceeded to remove some of the layers of shin that were burned off. Then my leg was wrapped with all sorts of bandages. From the waist up I was a pudgy little boy. From the waist down, I was all mummy.  I had second and third degree burns all over my left thigh. On the upside, I missed 4 days of school, which to me was bliss. This was 4 days of watching “I Love Lucy,” “Sally Jesse,” and some other crap. I was in heaven.  This was until I returned back to school. It was there I learned my new name “Tea Faggot.” It would be years until that name went away, then they would call me simply “faggot.” I would become a better person for all this.

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