Tell us about your first fashion crisis.
Not something I thought we were going to talk about here. This question, America, is why it should be abundantly clear I do not write these questions. I have, of course, but 90% of the time they come from my editor and mentor, Roy. Sorry, back to our question. When I was in kindergarten, I remember very little. BUT, I remember ‘Western Day’. We were to dress up in fun cowboys ways. One of my big brother’s (the dumb one, not the ugly one) had some cowboy boots. Both brothers are about 5 years older, so the boots did not fit. That had NO bearing on my decision… I was going to wear those fucking boots! So, I spent the day at school falling out of my shoes and probably looking dumb. Obviously, it didn’t go terribly well… as it is literally my only memory from back then.
I smile as I look back, but that is also because I had all my classmates murdered since then. Well, except the Az Monkey Boy. He even knows about the library book incident… which assures he will be dead.
What is your earliest memory of recess?
Fun, playing, running, football. I was an athletic kid, so recess was the best. I mean, what’s not to love? You aren’t in class? Was I supposed to say how lonely I was? Am I supposed to say this is when I was afraid to go play because of the bullies? Is this where I tell you about the incident with the PE teacher who got a little handsy? No sir. My childhood was AMAZING.
Can I tell you something that no one will even talk about? In middle school (so I am about 12, and this is about 1984) our favorite game was called ‘smear the queer’. Note, this had NOTHING to do with anyone’s sexuality. It also had NOTHING to do with bullying… because everyone who played was self selecting. We all voluntarily went out to the field and played. Perhaps you are not familiar with the game. You have about 10 or 20 boys, and a nerf football. Whomever has the football, everyone else chases and tries to tackle. He is, you see, the ‘queer’. When he could not longer handle the heat, he would throw the ball away. Now, he is instantly safe and no one cares. All eyes are on the next fool who grabbed the ball (voluntarily). It was silly fun, and tons of exercise. That is it. I am sure kids were bullied. I was not bullied (well… much. I was a spindly as kid with a loud mouth. I made things kinda tough on myself), nor did I bully… or see bullying.
OR… maybe I did, and was, and am… and just repressed it.
I want to clarify another thing. Growing up, we used the term ‘gay’ a lot. It had nothing to do with sexuality. Obviously, it is a mean and unnecessary descriptor, and I no longer use it. However, then (if not now, I don’t know) it simply meant ‘lame’. Understandably, I don’t use that term anymore. That word is off limits, which is (frankly)… gay! Why do I keep working so hard to point out there that 1) I am not gay, and 2) it’s ok if I sling the homophobic words around because I am of course cool with gays.
Obviously, it’s time to do some self reflecting. It is’t not fine to yell ‘gay’ or ‘fag’ or ‘queer’. I didn’t get that when I was young, but that doesn’t make it alright.
So, all this ‘gay’, ‘homo’, and ‘queer’ stuff is innocent fun, right? Just kids being kids? No it is not. How would a young 10 year old kid feel who was gay hearing these words and terms thrown around? we would have sometimes 30 kids out there running around and terrorizing each other yelling ‘fag’, etc. Odds are, just by the math, some of those kids were gay. Think of the cruel shame and confusion they must have felt. What is a young gay kid’s take away? That being a ‘queer’ is the worst thing you can be, and to be physically attacked was socially acceptable.
There is a horrible epidemic of young gay men committing suicide. The great Dan Savage began the campaign of ‘it get’s better‘. I hope it does, because I can’t imagine the pain and cruelness that must have been for a young gay kid who just wants to hang out and play with his friends. We (us straight little undersexed terrorists) never meant the game to be a public shaming of gays. I certainly didn’t. However, looking at it from the other side, how could a young guy man not take it that way?
He would be terrified, and likely ashamed. THAT is why we don’t talk like that anymore. Well… I don’t. Maybe those little homos in 6th grade still do. Barbarians!
Tell us about your first driver’s test.
You won’t like this. It was SO easy and SO awesome. In short, I got my license without ever taking the test. In high school, I got to participate in an after school program called ‘Behind the Wheel’. It was something my parents wonderfully paid for, so I could learn to drive. 2 or 3 days a week, after school, I got driving lessons. It was a single adult teacher, and 3 to 4 students. We would take turns driving. I don’t remember how long this was for, but when it came time to get my driver’s license… I had a pass. Literally, I was given a certificate from this program and I handed it in and got my license. I don’t even remember if I took the written test, but I know I didn’t have to take the driving test.
Funny consequence about that: I never learned how to parallel park. Seriously, I STILL can not parallel park. I haven’t had to. I didn’t drive back East, where you have to parallel park daily. Plus, 90% of my driving experience has been in trucks. You don’t have to parallel park
Tell us about your oddest family relative
Believe it or not, and I understand if you don’t… I can’t think of one. On top of that, I would not be surprised if anyone else in my family named me. I am fine with that.
Tell us about the first time you got into trouble in school.