09 November 2004

It’s Not Exactly Like I’m Straight Either

So I’m leaving work, heading towards the building door, when I spot this bike messenger. Now, maybe I’m doing a little conjecturing here, but I think he was about twenty, intelligent, probably taking a year off from college to “sort things out,” and bisexual. Though one day he’ll be a top, right now he’s just a boy and pretty much open to anything, and he’s gorgeous! He’s dressed in jeans and one of those black thermal jackets, he’s got tousled blond hair, pale dry skin, and big wide eyes and — keys hanging on the right.

So now I’m at the top of the stairs and I say:

Dutchman: Nice keys.

Delivery Boy: Huh? (Sees my keys and points.) Yeah, keys!

Dutchman: Wear them on the right, do you?

(About now, Mary Pat, from a big PR firm in the building comes down the stairs. She’s my age and has worked in the building and known me since Pumpkin was born.)

Delivery Boy: (Stands real loose, resting the package on one hip.) Sometimes.

Dutchman: I always dress left.

(So now Mary Pat can hear everything we’re saying and she kind of slows down.)

Delivery Boy: Look —uhm— this is my last delivery of the day.

Dutchman: So, you’re as good as off in five minutes?

(Mary Pat is staring right at me, as if to say “What are you doing?”)

Delivery Boy: Yeah —uh— want to go get a cup of coffee or something?

Dutchman: (Laughs.) I can’t. My partner’s got dinner waiting for me at home.

(Mary Pat has stopped dead on the bottom stair.)

Delivery Boy: You’re partnered?

Dutchman: Been partnered nineteen years.

Delivery Boy: Wow, you don’t look that old.

Dutchman: Thanx.

(The elevator’s there and the boy gets in. Mary Pat walks right up to me and asks:)

Mary Pat: Aren’t you married?

Dutchman: Yeah. (Steps to the door and begins to head out.)

Mary Pat: Well — then why did you say “partnered?”

Dutchman: That boy’s gorgeous; I didn’t want him thinking I was straight!

Mary Pat: (Stops dead.)

Dutchman: (Out the door.)

22 August 2004

Fighting Fire

It’s Sunday afternoon and I trying to take a nap on the couch when someone pulls up in a Hummer and begins to bark their horn. You know the story — too lazy to get out and ring the door-bell, this jerk is going to honk until everyone in the neighborhood (including the person they’re here to pick-up) is looking out to see who it is. So I tell the Pod-Man, “Go out and tell that ass-hole to cut it out.”

So my eager little boy runs out, and I hear the horn honk a few more times, then I’m knocked off the couch by a loud blast. I look outside and Pod-Man is standing by the open passenger window with his rail-road air-horn. (You know, the kind of compressed-air horn they use to warn track crews that a train is coming …)

The woman in the Hummer is furious and she starts to honk her horn in anger, but then Pod-Man gives another ear-splitting blast from the air-horn and she quits.

Wow — I love that kid!

15 July 2004

Having a Side-Kick is Great!

The other day I went to pick up Pod-Man. He attends the Columbia Collage Arts day camp and so we were coming back to Red Star on the Brown Line. At about Lake/Wabash he asked what I was reading:

Pod-Man: Are you reading the queer newspaper?

Dutchman: Yeah — it’s free.

Pod-Man: What are you reading that for? You don’t read everything that’s free.

Dutchman: Checking out this gay marriage thing.

Pod-Man: What about it?

Dutchman: Well, there’s got to be a grandfather clause.

Pod-Man: A what?

Dutchman: Do you think I would have married your mother, denied my true nature, and set myself up for nineteen years of living hell if I could have married Brian back in 1985?

[People start to look at us …]

Pod-Man: I guess not …

Dutchman: Shit no! Now, if they go changing the rules in the middle of the game, then don’t I get a do over?

Pod-Man: So — are you going to move to Vermont and marry Brian?

Dutchman: Faster than the wind out of a duck’s ass!

[Now they’re really staring …]

Pod-Man: Are you two going to dress like sailors?

Dutchman: In Vermont? Of course not! We’ll dress like lumberjacks.

Pod-Man: Do I get to live with you?

Dutchman: You don’t want to live with women do you?

Pod-Man: Will you let me smoke cigars?

Dutchman: When we’re not abusing you …

[At this point, I think everyone on the car was listening in …]

Pod-Man: What kind of abuse?

Dutchman: Now — If you had a word for it, then you’d go telling the authorities all about it, wouldn’t you?

Pod-Man [Evincing mock guilt]: I guess …

[The train pulls into Chicago Avenue.]

Dutchman: Our stop, let’s go!

[I pat his ass on the way out]

17 May 2004

My Curiosity Punished

So I’m sitting on the El train this morning when this girl gets on. She’s short, kind of plump, short haired, dressed in jeans and T-shirt. She passes right by me and she has this button on her shirt. It’s yellow on top and white on the bottom. The top says: “I want a President who …” and I can’t make out the bottom. So the girl sits down right opposite me and I’m staring hard at her trying to make out what the bottom of the button says and, evidently, this is a do-it-yourself button where you fill in whatever it is you want the president to do and this girl’s handwriting isn’t the best so I’m really staring hard at this, when she gives me a NASTY DROP-DEAD LOOK and I realize two things:

1] The button is pinned right on top of a really big hooter that I’m staring straight at …

2] The full text reads:“I want a President who SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE!”

So — I had to sit across from the bull dyke who thought I was staring at her tits from Belmont up to Howard. If looks could kill, I’d be a dead man …

04 May 2004

Pop Quiz!

Saturday I was at the public library with my son (checking out DVD’s of The Bank Dick w/W.C. Fields and Geisevus' Memoirs), and we're going down the escalator and I have this rip in my jeans, right at the top of the leg, about an inch and a half of leg-flesh shows out, no big deal, nothing you can't see at the beach, and this voice comes from behind us:

Lady: You forgot to wear underwear!

Now, the voice was kind of snotty, like Lilly Tomlin, so I turn around. It's a woman, about 35/40, wearing jeans and a sweat-shirt, mouse brown hair in a pony tail, no make-up, so it's not like she's dressed up…

And what does she expect me to do, wear underwear with jeans? So I try to answer her nicely, make a joke out of it …

Dutchman: I never wear underwear. Elvis never did, and I always ask myself "what would Elvis do?"

Lady: How do you know he didn't wear underwear?

Every biography says so …

Now we've gotten off the escalator and she's following me …

You can't always trust what you read!

Well, I guess you could always call up Priscilla and ask her!

She wasn't with him for very long.

I didn't answer this one, I just made a sharp turn and went off where I didn't want to go just so she wouldn't follow.

So here’s the quiz part:

1] What was that lady's problem? She didn't seem to care that I wasn't wearing underwear, she just seemed to want to talk and then she contradicted everything that I said. What the hell was on her mind?

2] In a civilized country, would she be in a Gulag, or what?

01 April 2004

Some kids need Quiet, some kids need Storm

Before I actually had a child, I was of a mind that they were born blank slates and that they were totally shaped by their environment. (This idea was probably a hold-over from my youthful indoctrination into communism.) About two weeks after my first child was born, however, I realized that my little Pumpkin had a personality all of her own and that I couldn’t shape her into an ideal Soviet Man, Modern Enoch, or whatever your ideal might be. I could only help her to become the Good Pumpkin, or the Bad Pumpkin, but she would always and only be Pumpkin.

After I had a second child I realized that, because Pod-Man was a different person, that I would have to treat him differently. He needed different things, must learn different lessons, responded to different incentives, and annoyed me in an altogether original way.

This caused a good deal of trouble, as my kinderen would frequently feel short-changed when they became aware of these differences and could point to my sister-in-law who scrupulously treats her two daughters exactly equally. None-the-less I stuck to my guns. Again and again I explained to them that Pod-Man got tickets to the opera because he was a born connoisseur, but that only Pumpkin could be left alone in the house because she was my responsible girl, and that Bean-Girl needed more alone time with Daddy because she was my shy girl.

They never bought it.

Finally an incident made my ultimate fairness clear to them. Pumpkin had to read Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front for her High School English class and write a paper on it. She was at a loss as to what to say or write, so she asked me. I tried to draw her out by asking “Well, what’s the book about?”

“It’s stupid! It’s just about how war is stupid!”

“Okay, Erich Maria Remarque was drafted into the Great War and saw all of its futility and carnage. But Ernst Jünger volunteered for war, became commander of a shock battalion, and wrote about how he loved war in Storm of Steel. Why don’t you read that and write a paper comparing them?”

She was baffled, “What’s to like about war?”

“Well, Junger said that ever-afterwards he only felt really alive when actually in combat. He said that ordinary life was tedious, and that only warfare drew upon the total man. He said that the comradeship formed among his fellow soldiers in the trenches surpassed any other human connection, even that of marriage. He writes about being under barrages as though they hold all of the excitement of a roller-coaster. He makes trench-raids come to life like an adrenaline rush. The affection of a comrade for his buddy, their devotion to one another, their willingness to risk all, makes mere romantic love seem pale and life-less ...”

As I was describing this, Pod-Man came over. At last he exclaimed, “Wow! I want to read that book!”

“NO!” I poked him in the chest, “You need All Quiet on the Western Front!”

This was so self-evident that it became a catch-phrase around out house. Anytime one of the kids objected to the way we were “favoring” one of the others, all I have to say is, “No, Pod-Man needs All Quiet on the Western Front.”

08 March 2004

The Game of Life

Last night I was playing the game of LIFE (by Milton Bradley) with Pod-Man and Bean-Girl and we had a few disagreements on the rules. As the auditors of the blog are well known for their impartiality, we are appealing to them now for a judgment on these rules:

— When I got to the “Get Married” space, I wanted to go to Vermont and marry by friend Brian. It’s legal there now and there’s nothing in the rules that says “heterosexual marriage,” so I contend that I am within my rights. Pod-Man disagrees, however, and claims that this is just a ploy on my part to avoid having children and the ruinous expenditures that they incur. Both Pod-Man and Bean Girl insisted that I marry a girl, but is it really fair to force me to live a lie just because of a an arcane set of “rules” that are no more than the codification of outmoded bourgeois proprieties?

— When it came time for Pod-Man to get married, he claimed a religious vocation. In fact he claimed that he had a calling from God and wanted to be a monk (thus avoiding both children and the purchase of a house). He said that his first amendment rights supersede the fiat rule of this so-called “Milton Bradley” fellow. Does the first amendment guarantee of free practice of religion allow him to do this?

— Bean Girl claimed that she wanted to marry me, and that we could then ride in the same car together and pool our resources. Pod-Man says this would be "incest" and disallowed it, but isn’t that just one more Bourgeois propriety that keeps people from living as autonomous persons?

— I landed on the space that said “Automobile Accident — pay $5000- for repairs,” and decided against fixing it. I proposed that I then walk for the rest of the game, dividing all of my spins by three to represent my slower pace. Pod-Man called this cheating, even though I’ve never owned a car in all my life, thus proving it can be done!

— Bean Girl got past all the spaces where you have children without landing on one and announced “If I can’t have children then life isn’t worth living! I’m slitting my wrists!” and she quit the game. Pod-Man said that she couldn’t, but I said all she had to do was write a note and inform the banker of her method of suicide because, after all, death is a part of life and we would just be burying our heads in the sand if we didn’t acknowledge this.

— Since Bean Girl wrote her note and specified that she was going to slit her wrists in the bathtub, she's legally dead for purposes of this game and, as next of kin, it’s self evident that I’m entitled to her money and property. Yet Pod-Man (who had earlier said it would be “incest” if I married her) claimed that this was just a cheap grab for money on my part. He just wants to have things both ways, doesn’t he?

— Later, I landed on the space that said “Fire Destroys House — pay purchase price to bank if uninsured.” Now, logically, why should I re-build that house when I’ve already inherited Bean Girl’s house and can simply live there? This really set Pod-Man off on a tirade about “cheating,” and “what sort of dad would manipulate the rules of a children’s game?” and “some Bolshevik you are!” Isn’t he just being petty? I think he was just jealous because I had two houses.