From the very beginning of President Packer's talk there was a frosty chill sweeping down from the Conference pulpit. Even his voice was hard; like Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade.
I had been looking forward to Conference. My family got together early for breakfast and the we all settled into our favorite spots to watch. I sat there with my mom, brothers and sisters and literally thought "Damn, you can forget about coming out to them any time soon." I got up after he spoke and excused myself. The rest of that session I spent driving around angry in the hills, listing on the radio.
Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars should have been playing while he spoke.
Its the middle of the night, and my thoughts won't settle.
I'm not in the mood to read, and on television there's nothing but the old Three Stooges reruns and juicer infomercials.
Finally my mind shifts to another man; a stranger I've met only once. Is President Monson sleeping comfortably this hour, or is he restless as well? I pray he is sleeping. I pray that he is well rested, and able to find the right words when he speaks. Words that will heal wounds and make things right.
I hope they are words that will help me to understand, and settle my restless heart.
A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me a link to a ChristWire.org article with 15 signs to tell if your husband is gay. This drew my eye, however I'm not sure how seriously to take it. I wasn't familiar with ChristWire.org. On first look it has every appearance of a real conservative Christian website, yet the more I explore the more it takes on a certain subversive Stephen Cobert kind of a tone... and the funnier it gets.
Well, I suppose this is a case of if you don't get the joke, maybe its because the joke is on you. Joke or not -- married or not, I wanted to see how I fit into the checklist -- just for fun. Depending on the answers I night even lose my official gay certification altogether. One can hope. Here I go!
1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers.
Yes, I have to say I am very private about my cell and computer usage, but no more than most I think.
2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way.
Actually I'm a bit shy about eye to eye contact with someone I find attractive. It makes me blush just thinking about it. There is a thrill in the moment when you look at that guy across the room and you realize they're sending you a flirty look back.
3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups.
This may be true, but if I'm inattentive in Church it's mostly because I'm bored.
4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home.
"Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them. They sweat and they smell." The article states. I won't own up to sweating or smelling too badly, but I guess I do have a bit of grit round about my place once in a while.
5) Gym membership but no interest in sports.
Nope to both. No gym memberships for me, and I'm not a big sports guy, though like a true masochist I'm a huge Chicago Cubs fan.
6) Clothes that are too tight and too “trendy”.
"Skinny" jeans are as trendy as my wardrobe gets.
7) Strange sexual demands.
8) More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films.
9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia.
No, but for dinner I reheated some General Tso's Chicken Chinese takeout.
10) Too many friendly young male friends.
How can someone have too many?
11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends.
I'm all that and a bag of chips.
12) Love of pop culture.
This is true! I've read the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly front to back, while the Ensign is practically untouched.
13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public.
I'm shy about my bare chest in private!
14) Sudden heavy drinking.
Not unless you include the ice cold Diet Sunkist I'm sipping on.
15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?
The article says, "If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion. Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children? Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!"
Now that's a comprehensive list! Based on this I'm now prepared to warn any female marriage prospects about my smoldering, below the surface status as a homosexual.
If you were within a five block radius of my apartment yesterday evening chances are you heard what sounded like stifled screams. Don't worry, though. This did not come from a poorly soundproofed sweatshop full of migrant workers chained up in my basement, nor from a secret mental facility illegally operating within my domicile.
No, I'm fairly sure it was the sound of me watching the evening news. I used to have a much higher tolerance for it, but some days even limited exposure is enough to set me off. I've had reasons aplenty this week to be a little pissy, but tonight I had to close my eyes and find my happy place before I went full on apoplectic. I am proud of myself for limiting the verbal/physical abuse to a couple of stunned cacti I keep potted near my back porch.
I guess what has gotten my tits in a wringer this week has been the failure of the United States Senate to repeal the shameful and antiquated Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. A whopping 75% of Americans agree with me that DADT is a sucky policy, and its damn hard to find an issue that three quarters of everyone can unite on. The very idea is simply absurd that we still exclude gay people from the ability to serve in the military openly, while also reserving the right to conduct spiteful and expensive witch hunts against them on a whim.
I really don't understand why the GOP and friends are still putting up a fight about it. Why not look good for once and lead the charge against something that is so clearly on the way out with the other trash from the dustbin of history. I mean is there anyone who really doubts this will continue as an issue much further in the future? The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell is simply a demographic inevitability.
The fact is the Republicans Party is not the only villain of this story. Democrats stand silently by, as their own feckless little Legion of Doom. I've seen Mr Smith Goes to Washington. I know how this should go down. We gotta have a real Frank Capra moment in this county. When some Senator from the opposition threatens a filibuster, by golly, they should be forced to follow through. When southern racists fought against the passage of civil rights, they were forced to actually get their asses out there on the floor of the senate and filibuster. If you are going to block a vote that 75% of Americans agree on, that person should have to defend his position in the well of the U.S. Senate. We've had enough of this brand of phony Democratic leadership offering little more than poorly delivered lip service to the gay community. (So to speak.)
Even if our Mormon brother Harry Reid lacks the ability to use his position in the Senate effectively, it is President Obama who withholds much more power than he's been using. A study last year shows that the President could unilaterally halt gay discharges from the military anytime by signing a simple executive order. It makes me start to believe what they say; that both democrats and Republicans get more out of keeping gay issues alive than they do by solving them.
And may I just say one more thing? At what point did our most effective spokesperson for this issue become Lady Gaga? We can't get Snookie or even a Kardashian? I'm not much of a fan of Gaga to be honest, but I was impressed when she arrived at the MTV Video Music Awards escorting gay men and women who served in the military and were discharged because of their sexuality. Her message might have lost a little credibility however, when she walked on stage wearing a meat dress requiring a butcher as well as a seamstress.
Well... I find myself awake on the couch at 4:30 AM, watching the last of the Mad Men episodes I have stored on the DVR, dipping apple wedges into a jar of Skippy peanut butter and drinking a large mug of Ovaltine...
And there's no one to remind me I have work in a few hours and to get my lazy ass up and go to bed.
I'm constantly repenting for something, and most of the time I do feel bad about my infractions, but there is a sin I get caught in day after day. I'd feel worse about this sin if it wasn't so satisfying... so enticing.
The deadly sin I confess is Gluttony. [gasp!] I struggle with others. Sloth maybe, Envy perhaps, and most days just a gust of wind is enough to whip up some Lust (what can I say?), but I relish in Gluttony! (Sorry! Stupid puns should be the eighth deadly sin.)
I love a good meal! Be it prepared by a chef and served on china, or come hot off the burrito wagon and served on Chinet -- as long as its clean, fresh, and tasty I'm not a snob. To me a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, when made correctly, can be proudly served along side my pan seared Rib-eye with sherry vinegar steak sauce. I love to eat, and I have the appetite to match a plague of crickets devouring the pioneer's crops.
And look out! When I'm hungry I get a little cranky. Just keep your fingers out of the range of my mouth and you'll be fine.
Not surprisingly I'm a fan of fast food. In an effort to assemble the perfect meal I once drove around on a double date to Burger King for Whoppers, McDonald's for fries, Jack in the Box for salads, Taco Bell for an ice cold Mountain Dew Baja Blast, and then topped it all off with Frostys from Wendy's. We took our "movable feast" to a park and laughed as we consumed our one in a million meal.
With fast food there rarely are any real surprises. My Big Mac here should taste just like the one I ate in Times Square, and that in turn should taste just like the one I first had at the age of ten. Its the food's consistency that gives it it's power. It's called comfort food because you know exactly what you're going to get.
Yesterday, however, I was introduced to something truly unexpected... even a little scary
My best friend Josh was supposed to come over to my place after work, and called to say he was running late. When I mentioned that I was hungry, he offered to pick us up something. I suggested pizza, but he cryptically said he had something else in mind. I started to ask questions, but he cut me off midsentance, and told me to wait and see. Thirty minutes later he showed up with a huge McDonald's bag and said triumphantly, "I bring you the McGangBang!"
"The what?" I said suddenly unsure I still had an appetite.
"Yeah, I know the name is kinda crude, but give it a chance." He said with a smile. "People at work have been talking about it. It's strictly an off-menu item, but the McDonald's down by the University will make them on demand."
We sat down and I unwrapped my sandwich. What I found was a gastronomic bastard child -- a burger formed by the unholy union of two popular items from the Dollar Menu: the double cheeseburger and a McChicken sandwich. In what is an act against nature, an entire McChicken sandwich is placed between the patties of a double cheeseburger! It wasn't pretty, but it was impressive, not to mention cost-effective. One McGangBang can be yours at a recession busting $2.16. Without a doubt, it's a sandwich that's more than the sum of its parts.
Josh went on to tell me that if they used a spicy McChicken instead of just the regular McChicken, it would have been called an "Unprotected McGangBang". I was glad he had started me out with the safer version. I had to laugh wondering what twisted mind came up with this culinary monstrosity. At first I was skeptical about how it would taste. I just didn't think that exact combo of bread, beef and chicken would get along very well, but it smelled good, and after a few hesitant bites it wasn't so bad. It wasn't pretty, but the different textures and flavors came together in a surprising way.
Just remember if you do take this walk down the Dollar Menu wild side... be careful. Not all bowels are created equal.
Well... one hour of it anyway -- Sacrament Meeting.
Yeah, I know I should have just manned up and hit the whole three hour block, but I'm just glad I got myself out of the apartment. It would have been so easy to stay, but I really don't want to dive totally back into the welcoming arms of inactivity again.
Besides, the weeks I don't go to Church I feel as though I'm missing something. The singing of the hymns, and the still moments of the sacrament ordinance centers me somehow. I sat in the back, and didn't partake myself, but I felt benefited nonetheless.
I had no panic attacks, no cold sweats, and the only time I felt like rushing to the exit was when the Elder's Quorum President cornered me with the standard third degree about where I've been. He's well meaning, but were I to give him the real scoop on that subject I know I'd shock that shit eating grin right off his face. (Maybe, while I'm at it, I could also confess the fact that I think he's cuter than a tree full of Keebler Elves, and see what he makes of that!)
In retrospect it was nice to at least be asked about why I haven't been going. That tells me at lease someone in the ward knows who I am, and therefore, in some small, way I belong.
I'm making no promises, but I'll start gearing up to make it through 2 hours of Church next week.
And on a completely different subject --
Is it just me or was the MTV VMA's a whole lot more fun to watch when Kanye West was drunk on Hennessy? I'm just saying...
Let's see... what are the A B Cs of me? I'm just a guy living life, who happens to be gay. The fact that I'm also Mormon doesn't help, but hey, things could be worse. If you enjoy the kind of dumb humor found on Bazooka gum wrappers, then you might think I'm funny, and I'm at least smart enough to beat most of my friends watching afternoon Jeopardy. My big damn heart is what seems to get me into most of my troubles. Anything else you want to know just ask! I love comments and emails, and don't be shy. I promise I am super nice! (My mom thinks I am anyway!)