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If I put a title like that at the top of a page, chances are good that I might start feeling like a well-known, well-paid writer like Jonathan Franzen. I might start feeling bold enough to sass Oprah in a public forum. (But I’m not feeling that bold yet. Hi, Oprah! God bless!) I might be able to visualize my future literary success. I might stop getting writer’s block.
I might start looking forward, rather than dwelling on the past, as I’ve been doing lately. Occasionally it occurs to me that the legions of readers out there who hang on my every word might sometimes wonder whatever happened to the fragments of my life that I expose to the world in this space.
Luckily, I have the luxury of sitting back and subjecting said readers to a recap.
For instance, I wrote in 2002 about my niece, whose stereotypically heterosexual antics resulted in me finding myself in what I referred to then as some “incredibly un-lesbian” places. (See “Auntie Establishment.”) This summer, on the day before my birthday, the niece, Tara, is getting married, making her young-at-heart auntie feel like a geezer. I’m barely old enough to get married, let alone the 19-year-old spawn of my only brother.
So I’ll find myself sitting through a heterosexual wedding, as I have dozens of times before, but this time, thanks to the powers-that-be in places like San Francisco and Multnomah County and Asbury Park and Massachusetts, I won’t have to feel a little cheated by the injustice inherent in that whole system. I may even be legally married myself by then.
Maybe even to Paul McCartney. (See “And I Love Him.”)
In November 2002, I wrote about my mother having a mysterious illness, having buckets of blood drawn from her. I sometimes can barely remember just how scary that got, how I sobbed on the phone with her one night when she told me the doctor had mentioned testing next for rare blood cancers. (See “All the Trimmings.”)
I really feared for a while that I might lose my mother, until suddenly a diagnosis came through, indicating that she had a treatable fungal infection in her lungs. Today she’s fine; health-wise and in all other ways, she’s back to abnormal. (Hi Mom! God bless!) Feel free to read more about my rock-n-roll superstar of a mom at “Owed to Mom.”
One of the more poignant updates I offer to readers is from the same piece where I discussed my mother’s mystery illness, as I was counting my blessings. I mentioned some of our gay-supportive friends and relatives, noting how lucky we are to be surrounded by such fine people. There was a well-deserved shout-out to one of my best friends, Shalar, who’s been a big part of my life since middle school. I marveled at and raved about how she was raising her sons to be gay-supportive.
After she read the column and dutifully shared it with her husband, Todd, Shalar wrote to report Todd’s comment that “men can be supportive too.” It was a good reminder: Todd is an important part of the team raising their children to be good men. Todd, himself among the elite corps of admirable men in this society (and certainly one of the finest straight men I know), is without question a superhero, as are my partner’s brother-in-law, Blake, my mother’s partner of many years, Ned (formally known as Dennis), my housemate’s brother, David, and so on, and so on.
I am not one of those man-hating lesbians.
About a year ago, I wrote about how our friend Linda had been stationed in Iraq as a nurse in the Army (see “All’s Fair”) and how that was making our liberal household see another side of the divisive war issue. Sometimes war stories have happy endings, at least on the personal level; Linda came home last summer and is now retired from the Army and working in Wisconsin.
I wrote shortly after the election last November that I was rooting for two ideologically different city council candidates in two different cities — my hometown, where my brother sought (and won) a seat on the Burlington, Iowa, council, and the town where I now make my home, Takoma Park, where an open lesbian was running. (See “Politically Correct.”)
It is with some relief that I report that my brother hasn’t dealt with any gay issues in his thus-far short tenure as a councilmember — at least not that the city’s newspaper has seen fit to cover. After all, chances are good that he and I might clash on some of these issues. Meanwhile, my openly lesbian councilmember, Heather Mizeur, has proven herself to be both assertive on the issues that matter to the Ward 2 residents and impressively responsive on constituent concerns.
When I wrote Heather a note a few days ago asking why Takoma Park wasn’t jumping on the same-sex marriage license bandwagon, she replied almost immediately, explaining that municipalities in Maryland don’t issue marriage licenses to anyone, straight or gay. I’m not sure who does; the county, I guess — I’ve never had reason to seek such a document, since Paul McCartney has yet to come calling. Heather asked me to let her know if I had creative ideas for solving the problem of Takoma Park having its hands tied on this matter. She’s a real can-do gal, and I’m proud to be represented by her.
Finally, I learned the hard way that reality TV stars are fair-weather friends. (See “Reality Bites.”)
My close and dear friend James, whom many of you swooned over during last year’s Boy Meets Boy on Bravo, remains a steady and true pal, at least in my active imagination. But I have to take umbrage at the bald-faced lie told to me and my traveling companion, Chris, by Chip and Reichen of The Amazing Race quasi-fame when they told us they had worked through some difficulty but were definitely still a couple last September.
This white (but bald-faced) lie, however, pales in comparison to the betrayal I’ve recently experienced from my friend Ted of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame. During a recent episode of his program, Ted learned that one of the straight guys had a vegetarian girlfriend, and quipped something along the lines of “vegetarians have garlic breath and fart a lot.”
Shame on you, Ted. Shame on you. (See a reflection on my vegetarianism in “Fishing for Answers.”) I don’t make jokes about your doofy hairstyle this season. I rarely point out how you’re not nearly as funny as Carson or Thom or Kyan, even if the latter does call the straight fellows “my friend” way too often.
Kristina Campbell is more than happy to send out links for every single other column she’s ever written, in a totally non-self-promotional way, of course. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.