Thursday, July 26, 2018

A child's salon on the rocks

I shudder to think about this crew

Yes.  It really was real.  Wife Swapping was a "THING".

Back in the 70s, as I remember it.  In the 1950s, it would have been a bit avant guard.  But in the seventies, all sorts of stuff was happening in homes with shag carpet.

When I was in or about fifth grade, Wife Swapping, however, was all the rage.  Or so the magazines would have you believe.   My friends and I would go to Campus Drug and pick out our dime candy bars and our quarter (.25) cans of cold pop and stop off look at magazines to see what we weren't supposed to know about.  The covers talked about all sorts of things that we were clueless about.  "Weed".  "Giving yourself permission to look at your vagina."  "Premature ejaculation" and "How to make him feel like a potent man."  All of it, in the seventies, was on magazine covers.

But, according to Cosmo, Wife Swapping was empowering. "It's a BLAST" the headline read.  Playboy's cover was all IN for girlfriend swapping.  There was even an article on one cover that asked "Why Swap? Orgy Instead!"

My friends and I would take our candy bars to the vacant lot across Fairmount Boulevard and sit on a pile of rocks left over from some house that never got built, eat our .50 cent horde of pure sugar when one of the boys in the neighborhood wondered aloud about the topics we were reading in the headlines.  The Wife Swapping topic proved to be as puzzling to our uninformed minds as any other topic.

But we knew from the word "Swapping" that this somehow involved trading.

"Why would you want to do that?"


"Swap your wife?"

"Because you're tired of her.  It's like trading your car with a friend because you want to drive his convertible, but he needs your station wagon."

"Hey," said Ann Douglas to Beth McClatchy, "You aren't going to mix pop rocks and Pepsi together are you?"  Beth, her mouth full of pop rocks, wide-eyed, nodded 

"It's certain death," admonished Ann.

Ann was such a buzz kill.

"What if she's tired of him?"  Colin, Beth's younger brother asked.

"In our house my parents just sit in different rooms, sleep in different rooms and grumble about going places together."  Brad Silverman said.

"Why don't they get a divorce?" asked Colin.

Sally Wilson said "Because stupid, they are staying together for the sake of the children.  So Brad and his sister's can come from a happy home.  Don't you know anything?"  Beth nodded in agreement.

I chimed in reminding them that my parents were divorced.

"But my mother says your father is a "hound" and a skirt chaser."  Sally had a point.  My father loved women.  He didn't love my Mom.  But women, yes.  My father loved women in every shape and flavor.

Ann Douglas, who was a sixth grader who "knew" things said, "I think they do it to spice up their marriages and love lives.  It's like watching every episode of the Walton's and expecting something different at the end and always getting "G'night John Boy."  Sometimes you wish someone asked, "Who farted?"


I asked, "None of our parents would do that, would they?"

At that point all everyone else's parents became suspect. Every last lawyer, accountant, den mother, and housewife could be into "Wife Swapping" and we would have no way of knowing. It was my first and only Mexican Standoff.  The crinkle of candy bar wrappers stopped.  All was silent as we look at each other, asking in our minds "would Chuckie parents have sex with Colin's parents, or would they peel off with Ann Douglas' parents?

Then, someone broke the tension.  "NO!"



One friend from Colby Road said to me "Your parents are divorced, so they can't swap.  Your mother could become a Swinger, I guess.  Then again, your father remarried so he could be a wife swapper."

Secretly I knew that my father's wife was promising men sex in bars because both of my parents had first names that began with the same letter (M) and my mother was in the phone book as "M Cookie, and my father was in the phone book as MA Cookie.  So drunken men were calling the first "M. Cookie" house asking to speak to "Bessie" because "Bessie promised to masturbate me off."

The first time it happened, I went to my mother said "there is a man on the phone who wants to talk to Dad's wife."

My mother replied, "Well, she's not here, give them your father's phone number.  He ought to enjoy taking that call."  It seemed like the thing to do.  So I did.

Mom came back into the room and asked "What did the guy want?"

"He said that Bessie was going to mastersomething him off.  I don't know the word or what it means."

My poor mother.  She was expecting that.  "What did you say?"  I started to repeat what I had said but she cut me off.

"I only said it because you asked what the guy on the said it."

"Don't say that word again."

"What word?"  Needless to say, Mom sat me down and she gave me the talk.  I was appalled.  I was appalled that I had spoken to the guy, I was appalled that my mother had to explain "masturbation" to me, and I was just appalled, but curious...

But back to my mother being a swinger.  We all knew that was as unlikely as mankind exploring Pluto because my mother would never have sexual feelings. Or muss up her hair.  None of our mothers would, well, because they were our mothers and that would be gross.

"Do you think that anyone in our neighborhood would become a Swinger?" I asked.

Beth chimed in and said: "I think it could happen, but if the membership committee at their country club found out, then they could kick you out."

"Why would they do that?" I asked.

"Because you can't get in until they judge you.  Getting into a country club means you have a good reputation, and someone is willing to sponsor you into the 'the club'.  And getting caught sleeping with someone else's husband or wife is not the kind of thing that looks good.  That's how reputations are ruined."

Ann had a point. 

The Rosensteins went to Israel and came back raving about living the Kibbutz lifestyle.  They gave their house a name: "Kibbutz Rosenstein" and became vegetarians.  They even had their son oldest Gary enlist in the Israeli army.  But Beechmont Country Club kicked them out when they insisted that they help with the day to day operations of the club in lieu of annual dues, which they felt was a capitalist concept.

"If," my friend's sister started to say, "anyone in this neighborhood is going to swing, it's going to be the Shipley's.  Mr. Shipley is, according to my mother, 'handsome like a news anchor' and Mrs. Shipley can wear hip-huggers."

John Wise added in "And she has big boobs."

We all talked about Mrs. Shipley's boobs until Ann pointed out that damning bit of evidence: "They have that modern house."

Well then; That was the key to everything.  They looked the part, and they lived it, so they had to be honest God real wife swappers.  The nail in the coffin though to securing our decision that they were both on the road to living the lives of a Jacqueline Susann character lifestyle was the house.  It was big, and bold and had an all-white interior with huge plate glass windows.  And they had no children.

"So they can swap without worrying about finding babysitters."

"And they ski. There's a lot of drinking and sex at a ski resort."

How would you know, I asked - never having been skiing myself.

It was, of course, a foolish thing to ask.  "Chuckie Turner's father reads Playboy, and the evidence was under the mattress in his parent's room.  Playboy was a magazine of nude women and cartoons showing escapades at ski lodges that took place on bearskin rugs," said David Wright.  David was mostly silent, so when he spoke up it was something.

After deciding that all wife swappers could be swingers, but not all swingers would be into wife swapping, I asked - having my our silent yearnings even at that age and wondering what Mr. Shipley looked like without his shirt - "Why do they call it 'wife swapping'?  Why not 'husband swapping?"  Now I could see a couple of the male camp counselors at Weehawken doing it.  But I was smart enough not to say that.

And the answer my friends proclaimed was one of major importance:



"Can't happen. Because men are men, duh!"

This is when they told me that it was OK for two women to do it together because that was hot, and men got off on that.   But two men having sex was "totally homo."

"So women never think about two guys together?"

Beth let out one of those pre-adolescent girl growls - "GAH!"

And with that, Sally put an end to the salon on the rocks having finished her Pop Rock's, and moved on to Hubba Bubba, the absynthe of eleven-year-olds.  "Look, you guys are just gross," which is kid speak "Oh, fuck for fuck's sake."  And thus our enchantment, our kiddie salon, ended.

"What are we going to do now?"

I announced that my father gave me a tape recorder.  "We can go to my house and swear into it?"

Ann Douglas proclaimed that as something she wanted to do.  "I love saying fuck. And now I'll be able to hear myself fucking say it.  Fuck, I mean."

And that's what you did when I was a kid in the 70s. You made up life as you went along.  From candy and cola to solving the question on Wife Swapping, and the answer was "gross" to swearing into tape recorders, that was a summer day in Shaker Heights.

And I still have those old cassettes with us swearing on them.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Has anyone seen the bladder control products?

So Cookie is one of the chosen few who participates in BIG ONLINE RETAILER MARKETING REVIEW PROGRAM, a review program that BIG ONLINE RETAILER conducts.  BORMRP works by sending out items to people for free, in return for use and review.  Where do they get the items?  Manufacturers provide them at their cost.  They may get ten widgets from International Amalgamated - "We make everything, you can have everything" -  or they might get 500 sanitary napkins from Amalgamated International  - "Discerning products for picky people."

Sometimes, its feast (computers, mattresses, lawn mowers) other times its famine.  Mostly, it is famine.  I would love to say that everything we get is fantastic, but sometimes we get products that are duds.

Cookie's job is to give an honest review.  NOTE: Cookie does not "logroll" his reviews.  What is logrolling?  Logrolling is the old term that was used in publishing by big name people who would provide GLOWING reviews just to get their names and quotes on the back of the book because the PR was better than nothing.

When I review, its the good, the bad and the ugly.

One review even drew the ire of the manufacturer, but the product was obtuse and support was all in pictograms.  It was so high tech that the creators got lost in its design supremacy. 

There have been winners - like the coffee maker that is so exclusive that I would never hope to own one, but now that I do, I cannot imagine anything better.  There have been losers, like the item above (its real use was never clear to me), or the set of bamboo sheets that disintegrated in the washer right out of the package.

Things remain on the catalog page for a couple days - the best stuff gets snatched up in a hurry.  The stuff that languishes, however, ends up in something called "Something For Everyone", which is a dustbin of unloved, unwanted things.  You know, inflatable cat mattresses, one single cupboard doorknob, and course things like "Men's Extra Small Under Armour Tank Top, Moss Oak Camo".

Part the reason why these things languish is that they are simply too specific ("Amana RADAR Range Replacement Glass Tray") or they get lost because people don't know how to catalog them.  Like the item above: 

Mixed in with hinges, switches, cotter pins and wires in the INDUSTRIAL & SCIENTIFIC category is an Incontinence Pad. 

Industrial?  No.

Scientific?  Debatable.

Meanwhile, these will stay here, unnoticed, and unwanted.  Not because they aren't needed, but because they are in the wrong place.   Somewhere, someone is leaking and they never thought to look under the deal that sends one a SINGLE hinge.

And while you may think that this a boffo program to be on, I have no advice as to how you do it, because I certainly don't know how I got into it.  AND you have to pay taxes on the value basis of the item. 

I am grateful I am part of it?  Yes.  Am I mad because all their clothing options sent to me are women's clothing?  No.  But then again, you can't review what you can't use. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Show Your Love, Remember Them, DO IT!

In today's blog entry, Cookie would like to ask that readers follow the following links to the site Find A Grave, and leave "Flowers" on the memorials of the following pioneer gay adult film stars.

While Find A Grave does have a famous section for "actors", evidently they feel that adult film performers (men, women, gay, bisexual, transsexual and straight), no matter how popular they were are not worthy of being tagged as "famous". 

As a result, many of these men who are icons of the gay porn have memorials that are languishing and forgotten.  I mean, Richard Locke, the man's man from the Joe Gage's milestone Working Man  Trilogy has five, FIVE, freaking tributes.  ONLY FIVE!

We knew these guys because their movies were erotic, sexual, and somewhat forbidden.  In death, at least on the largest website dedicated to finding the graves and outcomes of people's lives, they too are being forgotten by policies that damn them and their accomplishments to the dustbin of society. 

The irony is that Find A Grave's acronym is "FAG".

In the tribute section, you can choose a flower and leave a brief message.  Remember that Find A Grave is a "G" rated site and that if enough people dispense with the social protocols of the site, that the memorial will no longer be able to have tribute made in the future - something that has happened to likes of baby seller Georgia Tann. 

So keep it clean, and for goodness sake do this.  These men literally gave their lives unwittingly so a generation of men could get off.  Some were more famous than others, and there are hundreds more like them like the ten featured here. 

1) Casey Donovan,

2) Andrew Robert Okun, aka Al Parker,

3) Fred Halstead,

4) Richard Cole, aka Steve Taylor,

5) Scott O'Hara,'hara

6) Chuck Holmes, Founder, Falcon Studios

7) Robert Curtis "Bob" Blount -

8) Chris Burns,

9) Frank Richard Fitts, aka Dick Fisk,

10) Leo John Hilgeford, aka Leo Ford,

P.S. Marilyn Chambers qualifies as a "Famous" record, which allows you to vote on how famous she was, on the site because of her "Ivory Snow" work in Commercials.  Seems a bit one-sided, no?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Barbie's Slambook

Pages from a real slam book found in a Goodwill bin.  Drama. It's "pissen" her off. 

Lesser known works

Friday the 13th: Current mood.

That's right.  Hanging in there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Farewell Fernway, May You Rise Anew

Snatched from WEWS News Site. 

Kinda of a sad day in Shaker Heights. 

Fernway Elementary School, built in 1927 caught fire and is severely damaged.  The School System is in disaster recovery mode because school starts in a little over a month and things have to be moved and changed. When the roof caved in, we thought it was a total loss.  But Shaker didn't build poorly constructed buildings, so we hope it can be salvaged and be reborn.

What was eerie in watching the video feeds from the stations in Cleveland, was how quiet it was as people watched.  At least seven different fire departments responded, from as far away as Lake County and the west side of Cleveland.  In the picture above, you see the finely manicured lawns, the trees in full leaf and flames coming out of the roof at the northwest corner. 

No photoshop this - its the real deal, and it's surreal.

Still, of the nine elementary schools that were open and full when I went through the system, Malvern is now assisted living, Sussex and Ludlow have other education programs inhabiting them, Moreland is the main library.

So that leaves Mercer, Lomond, Boulevard, and Onaway to either absorb the overflow or, one of the other two middle schools will have to yield space for the 300+ pupils in grades K-4 that attending the school.  And it was a lovely building in a beautiful neighborhood. 

And here is the kicker, next to Mercer, built around 1952, Fernway was the second newest building in the district as far as grade schools go.

I hope that they do the right thing and rebuild it.  I would hate to see another school get shut down or its student body dispersed.  Its a community, even if you don't have students in the school itself.

So, farewell Fernway, may we see you reborn, and soon.   

Monday, July 9, 2018

No good deed goes unpunished, but every lesson can be learned

The clue phone was calling.  I needed to pick it up. 

Medicine has turned into an American Horror story.  Hospitals are growing like cancer cells, adding on new buildings, new rules and milking patients for every drop they can get.   And yet for as sophisticated as modern medicine gets it the people that get lost in the shuffle.  Today, I witnessed it quite literally. 

We don't live in the inner core of Baltimore, but one thing about this place that drives me crazy is that every morning the window sills are coated in the dark gritty mess, year around.  You can wipe it up and it just comes back.  And the grime stains things a yellowish tint.   Add that to the flowering everything and grasses, the weeds and the cat piss, and reader, I am telling you, I have never wheezed, rattled and coughed so much in my life.

Cookie heads to the near hospital every two weeks for allergy shots.  I am allergic to everything from bi-valves to grasses, cockroach poop to cats.  I have been a compliant patient and go every two weeks.  The shots and the steroid inhalers help.  I can breathe in this God forsaken city. 

Every week, I get "Cats" and other allergens (molds, cockroach poop, etc.) in one arm and the then opposite arm gets "Pollen and Grasses".  I can always tell the "Cats" arm because it hurts like a motherfucker.   Then you return to the lobby and sit for a half hour until they are sure you aren't going into anaphylactic shock at the worst, rashes at the least. 

This morning I showed up and couldn't find a parking place.  The hospital campus charges you to park.  And the places where patients can park is limited.  Usually, it's just easy.  Today, after the July 4th holiday week, the place was packed.  So I wasted 15 minutes driving around looking for a parking space.

Then up to the allergist's office, I go, only to be met with a line, which never happens.  I stand and I wait and there is a small, old African American man at the head of the line talking softly to the receptionist.  The line doesn't move until a woman and her daughter, who have been speaking French, loudly - and not very well because it wasn't "French", but "Berlitz French" - got fed up and decided to go get a coffee and continue their conversation on what sex a mans belt is downstairs in the "cafe".   So I got to move up.  This afforded the chance to hear the conversation better at the window.

The Man: "But this is the room that they said to go to."

Receptionist: "The room on your piece of paper says suite 500.  We're suite 550.  So the office you need is down the hall and across from the elevators that you came up on."

The Man: "So this isn't the room I am supposed to be in?"

Receptionist: "No sir.  This is an allergists office.  Your paper tells me that you need to go to Suite 500 and that your appointment is with the Perioperative Group.  So you would leave our office and go down the hall to Suite 500.  RIght now you are in Suite 550 and your doctor is in 500."

The Man: "So I go down the...This isn't where I am supposed to be?" 

The two women in front of me were uncomfortable with this, and all I wanted to do was register for the shots so I stepped for and inserted myself to get things moving.

Me: "Hi sir, I hope you don't mind, but I would be happy to walk with you to Suite 500 so you can see your doctor."

He looked at me and you could see the haze in his eyes.  Someone dropped him off and didn't stay with him.  He was lost in the building, and he was very confused.

So we walked down the hall together.  He told me his name was Willis and that the woman in the office told him to go down the hall to see his doctor.  The paper in his hand said Suite 500.   We talked about how big the building was and how he used to be young like me, and how confusing this was.

I agreed, but I promised him I would get him to the right place.   Eventually, we reached Suite 500 with Willis using his cane and shuffling his bed slipper-clad feet, and me trying to take small steps to walk with him, not in front of him.

When we got to Suite 500, the woman at the desk looked up and said "Mr. Willis?  What are you doing here?  I told you that you needed to go to suite 510 down the hall."

Willis looked right through her and then at me.  "Tell her what the woman said in that office."

I explained that he ended up at 550, and seemed very confused.  That I brought him to 500 because that was what his paper notes said.

"You don't need to tell me what's on that paper," the receptionist snapped. "Mr. Willis I told you suite 510."

"5 what?" he replied.

I didn't like this woman and didn't know if she was having a bad day, or if she was always cunt like this, but I excused ourselves and said that I would walk Willis over to the other suite.

When we got to Suite 510, I took Willis up to the desk and the receptionist looked at me and then the old gentleman.  She asked where he had been.  "We've been looking for you for twenty minutes, where have you been Mr. Willis.  Raejean called me from the main office and said that she sent you here.  So where have you been?"

Really - the guy has been AWOL for 20 minutes and now you are screaming at him, too?

"I believe that Willis is a bit confused and needs assistance.  Is there anyone who can help him instead of treating him like an errant child?"

Another woman appeared and said "I know Mr. Willis - it's me, Candy," she said at him and his face lit up.  "Let me come out here and help him."

Relieved, and somewhat offended at his treatment I said goodbye to Willis and asked if had someone to help him home.  Just then, Candy came out and said, "We'll get him transport back over to residence.  Thank you for helping him."  He seemed happy, so I was happy.  My good deed for the day.

Or so I thought.  By the time I made it down to the allergist, there were no 16 people in front of me.  This meant that there was no line jumping reward for doing the good thing.  And my parking would be higher because of the time I spent walking Willis from point A to B and then to C.

An hour later I left the building to discover that the car had been dinged - its first chipped paint.   I did stop by 510 and spoke with Candy to make sure the old man had had his appointment and she assured me that all was fine, but that "HIPAA prevents me from saying anything more." Understood.

So frustrated, I set sail in the Prius for the credit union to deposit a check for my husband and it gave me time to think.

Did I do the right thing?  Yes, I helped that man out. 

But did you do it to help him out, or did you do it to get my shot?  "One," my mind said, "was kind, the other selfish."

Yes, I did a kind thing.  The kind of thing that I would want someone to do for me.  But I didn't do it out of a good heart.  I did it to help me get ahead in the line. 

And truth be told, I was annoyed by the old man until I asked his name and we talked as we slowly progressed down the hall.  And once we got to Suite 500, I had no idea of becoming emotionally attached to the scenario.  I was going to dump the guy off and get my shot.

So I didn't do it to be kind, I did it to be selfish.  It became a kind act when I started to care about him as a person.

Maybe Karma taught me a lesson about patience, about not judging people, about doing for people not because I would hope someone would do it for me at some point in the future, but because it was the right and just thing to do in present. 

Now Willis may never have known this was going on in my head.  Maybe he did, but he was a gracious man, thankful to see someone he knew.  Thankful that someone cared enough, for whatever reason, to see him safely through that 100-foot journey.

And perhaps, the ding in the paint was a lesson as well.  What was important was keeping that man safe.  What isn't important is a medium tip pen chip in a car door.  Because in the long haul, which matters most, security or vanity?

I did call the practice and speak with the administrator and I gave him an earful about Raejean and how she needs some training.  I also pointed out that if Raejean had been paying attention to Willis in the first place, no one would have been put out, but Willis would have been safer and better attended.

"Can I send you a free parking pass for your next visit?"

Normally I would have said no, but in my mind, this man having to mail me this was a way to enforce to him that Willis had someone witness how he was treated.  And Raejean surly is getting a good finger waving in her face for being such a cunt.

What Raejean should have done was taken two minutes to walk that gentleman to 510 instead pointing her six inch fake nails at the door and expecting him to comprehend what she just "told" him to do.  Where is the caring in that?

So, ask yourself the next time you do something out of "kindness": are you doing it because there is nothing in it for you, or something in it for you.  Then you decide if it was really kindness or not. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

A lovely, twisted and broken memory.

Every time around this time of year, I feel a bit sad.  It's the kind of sad that you get when you are given an object that brings with it memories, but you break it.  You try and remember how it went together, and if you figure that out, then you can glue it back together and make it all better.  But it isn't all better, because the object is still broken.  And will always be broken.

It was in July 1984 that I met Michael Gedling.  And he is my broken memory.

First all, in 1984, I had been out for a year and a half. I was a newly minted baby gay (out at 20) and I was naive.  One of the things that gay boys and lesbians didn't get back then was the practice dating and advice on how to handle crushes and breakups.  You couldn't go to your parents in those days.  It was strictly OGT (On Gay Training) in real time.  So we all acted like a bit like children in figuring how things were supposed to work, but without any role models to look at and work toward.

So, 22, out of the closet and desperately wanting someone who wanted me, I fell in love.  Actually "I fell in love" is an understatement.  Everything around me stopped.  He was handsome, smart and funny.  I felt like I had found "the one".  Other than his worship of Prince's music - Purple Rain had just come out - he was perfect in bed, and in life.

Mike Gedling was everything I dreamed about.

But I got out too far in front in the dream of happiness.  He could be the rest of my life, I fantasized.  He could be the rest of my life.

And save but for a twist of fate, he could have also ended it.

But, as so many of us find out the hard way, sometimes the one simply isn't who or what we think they are.

The first chink in the armor was was when we were talking one night I got brave enough to tell him that my father sexually molested me when I was in grade school.  What I thought of as sympathy soon got very weird and he invited me to act out what my father did.  Sex should be fun, but this was creepy, especially when I felt coerced by his statement  that "if we can act it out, there is no shame in reliving your abuse."

Sex became his weapon, and this turned him on.  I kept trying to steer him back to just having great sex, but in the middle of it, ask me to call him daddy and my dick would go limp.

Here we had a good thing and it just started to go to Hell.  It was like carrying that object if was starting to get our your hands, but you hope that you can save it.  A normal weekend became the odd weekend, and then the whole thing went sour. 

Within two months, he had not only used me but humiliated me in the rawest, most hateful way possible.  The breakup?  It came in the form of a note that read "I can't do this anymore."  Not "I'm sorry for using your abuse as a turn on."  Not "I'm the one with the problem." 

Just five words and his name on a piece of paper, "I can't do this anymore."

I was devastated.  I cried for years, quite literally.  He took that secret of mine and used it on me, and I allowed that happen.

Making the matter worse was that he and his roommate had taken a place literally around the corner from where I lived.  That meant that I saw him and his new boyfriend "Joe" all the time.  And the salt was ground into the wound all over again.

Michael Gedling sent me into an emotional tailspin, and it wasn't until years later that I discovered what he had sparred me from.  And that tailspin - that was all mine as well.

I moved in 1985, to Clintonville, I got on with life, and assumed he got on with his.  I also got a shrink because I was not going through this again.

What the shrink taught me is not to accept damaged goods as part of the package.  He taught me to think better of myself.  He taught me to not tolerate a drunk.  He taught me not to tolerate a sex addict.  And he taught me that if the guy was adopted, he had better be at peace with it, or at least working on it.   I had my own host of horrors to contend with, and the shrink taught me that "needy" love would cure neither of me or the other guy.

Yes, I would make some of those mistakes with the next guy I was with.  And yes, it took me nine years, eleven months and two weeks to figure that one out, but I did it on my own.   

I may not be the sharpest knife in the block, but eventually, I cut through the smoke and mirrors.   But I am getting ahead of myself.   Because...

In the fall of 1992, Michael tried to worm his way back into my life.

I had come home from work one day and found him on my front porch.  "I bumped into Bill and he told me you were still in town.  So I looked you up.  How have you been?"

I was floored.  Why was he here?  What did he want?  We talked, and he asked if I could make him a cup of coffee.  I was, older and wiser.  I did not unlock my house, and he didn't get a cup of coffee.

Instead, we sat on the porch and I asked how Joe was - "Oh, that blew up..." and what he was doing in town.  He was "just visiting," having moved to Chicago.  He made his move, and I recoiled.  Nine years before I would have been putty in his hands, but I told him he should go.  He apologized by saying "Oh, I didn't mean to ruin anything or upset you."

And I responded that he didn't ruin anything, but that I was not going to let myself ruin anything for me.

He drove off and it was the last time I saw him.

Fast forward to 2007, the husband and I just celebrated our ten year anniversary. And I bumped into a mutual acquaintance who knew Michael and a few other people.  We played the game "whatever happened to..." and Michael's name came up.

"Oh, honey," my friend said, "haven't you heard?  He died of massive heart attack in 1993.  He moved home from Chicago when he was diagnosed with HIV.  He died at work - he was terrible sick.

There is a moment when one's blood goes cold.  It was that moment when I realized that he could have taken me down as well.

What happened?  Some detective work and some calls got me what I needed to know to put this behind me. Michael seroconverted and in typical Michael fashion, decided that if he was going down from HIV, he would go down in flames.  He got involved with the raw leather community, had all manner of unsafe, unprotected sex, booze, and drugs.   For Michael, sex with strangers was a way for them accepting him on the most intimate terms.  By making it anonymous sex, he didn't have to accept them, or himself.

That visit he had paid to me? Most likely he was POZ when he was at my house, and would have infected me given the chance.

Was he vindictive?  No.  I think he was angry and hurt. In some ways, he was more childlike than I had been. He wanted everyone to around him to be in the pain he had been in.  He was angry at being placed for adoption, he was angry at being adopted, he was angry at anyone who loved him and he was angry at himself and this was a way out.   Thus his interest in my sexual assault as a child.  His parents betrayed him and it excited him when he could play out my father betraying me.

But what he did was to others was criminal.  And I hope to God that the lives he jeopardized made it through the eye of the needle. Those were the years when the "Cocktail" was showing amazing gains in helping people.  Maybe they didn't get dragged down with him.  Maybe, right?

Anyway, I pulled myself together, and being rather logical about it, I ordered his death certificate, found where he was buried, and drove to the cemetery where his grave was and took a moment.

Then I went to the car, got a trowel and bag from School Kids Records, and dug a hole at the base of the gravestone and dropped in a copy of Prince's Purple Rain and buried it.

This is why I love my husband so. We are here, we are happy and we are healthy.  No games, no secrets, no damages that are hidden from sight for either of us.  Love is best when it is given and accepted.  And it takes someone special to accept what you can offer.  I could have ruined it all had I not gotten help, grown up and got smart.

Still every year, around this time, I get a bit sad.  Hurting me like he did was most likely his way of saying that I was too good for his type.  The pain, the self-exploration, and the strength to say no to him years afterward saved my life.  There is no way I could have saved him.   But I often think of Joe, the guy he dumped me for and hope he is well.  I think about his roommate Ed, and have no curiosity for him at all. Now, Ed's old boyfriend Tom.  I would like to hear from him because he was a honey.  The best of the lot.

So what am I getting at?

You can have a lovely teapot, and have it, and use it.  But if it breaks and you try and mend it, it's still a broken teapot.  It may leak, or the handle won't always be trustworthy.  But if you keep using it, pretending nothing is wrong, one day the mend, the seal, the fidelity of the whole will come apart.  You can be burned in an instant, and you'll have scars for the rest of your life.

I know I some would say throw the whole memory out, be done with it.  But then there is nothing to be learned, nothing to be reminded of, nothing of us when there was so little at all.  So, up it goes and on the high shelf, it goes for another year, to dust off next year at this time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What is on your Fourth of July Menu?

For those of you who didn't get enough out of Part One.

It looks so, so-so.

A Sheldon Cooper Must Have!

Zapped is more like it.  What the Hell is that Aunt Margery?  Chuck Wagon Rolls? 

Not only can you Whiz on your burgers if you are a Top, But you can Whiz in them if you are a bottom.  Vers?  Whiz both ways.  Kraft shows you how. 

So what's grilling at your place?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Don't wear a...

...tank top unless you have the body to carry it off...