I remember the first day I knew shame.
I was younger, much younger, young enough not to be bothered by or care about the fragile nature of public opinion or weighed down by the burdensome chains of pride, my mother confused me with one of those long-suffering poodles who’s owners clearly are on the journey to being full-blown psychopaths but have commitment issues.
She entered me in a school talent show, despite my obvious lack of talent. Remember, my chief accomplishment up to this point was being “The Boy Who Was Asked Not To Return To Tumbling Class.” Her “big concept” was me going out in “medieval garb” and singing “Greensleeves” to an “audience” of midwestern parents.
Okay, perhaps four sets of quotes was too much. After all, no one died.
On the outside, at least.
During her heyday in the 60s, my mother was quite the fashionista. Certainly that description must be tempered with the understanding that we’re talking about Midwestern Fashionista, but these things must be relative. There are pictures of her lying around in a white blousy thing with a zippered up leather vest and looking very retro glam with frosted eyeshadow and kohl-lined eyes that seem to peer out at you and find you wanting. The air of superiority is amusingly constant, with one picture capturing her sort of looking back over her shoulder as if to say, “I see you there, person years in the future, I see you and I’m not impressed.”
It’s only natural, or so the therapist eventually told me, that she thought this outfit was “Medieval Garb” in some sort of relative way. To her, the late 70s is to the mid 60s as the late 70s is to the era of wimples and dyes made from unfortunate sea creatures. One must not judge others on their inability to perceive the passage of time.
One must judge them on what they put their child of the opposite sex in and thrust them out on to the stage.
I might have been able to find some shred of forgiveness in my heart, standing there in that white blousey thing and the leather zipped vest, if it weren’t for the fringe. Or the green panty-hose.
To this day, she still insists those were tights.
They came from an egg and they cracked my soul.
All of this was bad, but the capper was the fact that a friend of my mother’s, a fantastic homosexualist, created a tape for me, accompanying me with his autoharp. I’m not sure why he couldn’t be there in person, other than he knew that the sight of a small child having his own little one-he/she Stonewall riot there on the stage of the elementary school would be too much for him and he’d literally die laughing on the spot.
Ironically, several years later, he actually did die laughing, but that’s another story.
The tape, though, was not the best. His playing was fine, but literally the tape was not good. As I stood there and the curtains slowly opened, a spotlight plastering Ye Olde Cher Impersonatore to the middle of the stage behind a microphone, the first few bars of the accompaniment played only to be followed by a painful screech…then a whine…then a snap, followed by a frantic whispering from off-stage, “You’re going to have to sing without music. The tape broke.”
So I stood there for a minute, considering my options. There was a new part of my soul that day, the same part that one day would say, ‘You know what, Mom, I’m gay but I’m never going to tell you because it would give you far too much pleasure,” in probably what has to be the first and only case of vicious Inning of a homosexual. As this part of my soul opened inside of me like a flower, but not one of those nice poetic flowers…the one that smells like rotting meat, the thoroughly unsavory sort of flower, I thought to myself, “Well, self, this is it. Really, it’s all up from here, so take a chance.”
I remembered something my mother said and began to sing into the microphone…
“Alas, my love…Jesus Christ my ass is on fire in these panty hose!”
And I turned to run, well pleased with my little jackanape, my hubris caught up with me. The boiled leather shoes (who has goddamn boiled leather shoes just lying the fuck around…my mother’s fantastically homosexual friend, that’s who), which had no traction, betrayed me and slid out from beneath my legs as I tore through the curtain. Out of reflex, I grabbed onto that curtain, that old, public-school elementary curtain, and after a horrible moment of tearing noise, I literally brought the curtains down on my performance.
With all that said, I’m STILL sitting far prettier than the super huge mega-twerp and conservative California State Assemblyman Michael Duvall who was recorded telling tales of his sexual exploits with two married female lobbyists.
Now, leaving aside for the moment the fact that on the recording (now pulled from YouTube by CBS for “copyright violation”…heh, like that was the only violation happening), there appears to be a county in Southern California called “Placenta”, what I want to know is how does this randy old goat with all the sexual charisma of a neck boil manage to bag two women, one of whom desires to be spanked (and, for her taste in sexual partners, clearly deserves to be not only spanked, but slapped)? I know power is an aphrodisiac, but not even GOD’S OWN SPANISH FLY could make that sweaty silverback fuckable.
At least when I got smart into a live mic, I had a curtain to then hide under and make my escape from.
Oh, and to address that “very edgy” sexual maneuver, spanking. Look, you Bargin Basement Slim Pickens looking motherfucker, spanking is about as edgy as key parties and huffing. Welcome to the 90s, you half-assed perv. If you don’t at least have a sling, then you’re so hopelessly vanilla you might as well have Dairy Queen slapped on your forehead.