Thursday, November 6, 2008

When I was eight, my parents got divorced. My sister and I went to live with our Mom, and every Saturday our Dad picked us up and took us away for the day.

The first time this happened I shook from excitement. I could hardly sleep the night before, dreaming of all the cool things we could do. We could get drunk and cruise Rodeo Drive, yelling obscenities at everybody on the street. We could drive out to Muscle Beach and see if anybody needed a massage.

Instead, Dad drove us to Dodger Stadium to watch a baseball game.

Now, this mystified me. Dad was a carefree bachelor now, so I was sure partying would be on the menu, if not the Playboy Mansion. Instead I found myself in nose-bleed bleachers, surrounded by white people stuffing their faces with meaty snacks.

My sister and I looked at each other. We'd rather have gone to a museum. We'd rather have gone to a botanic garden. Heck, we'd rather have stayed in the car and seen what spit can do on vinyl. Even at our young ages we realized there was something ridiculous about chubby people cheering on fit people as they exercised. Dad didn't care. He sat there with fingers crossed, hoping against hope that America's favorite pastime might turn us into regular kids.

A chick in a sequined gown strode up to a microphone placed midfield, and over the sound system came the tinny strains of the National Anthem. My dad stood up. My sister reluctantly followed. I snorted a line of coke off my Hello Kitty mirror.

"Are you fuckin' kidding me?" I asked.

See, even at this young age I realized something: Americans were either stupid or hypocrites. Every chance they got they congratulated themselves on this amazing country where everybody had equal rights. Riiight, I thought -- and those X-ray specs they sell in comic books really let you see bone. I shook my head as my classmates recited the Pledge of Allegiance, proudly parroting claims nobody tried to prove, and I shook my head here. I thought, why don't they all sing about how the White House is also a UFO, or how in his off hours Gerald Ford dons a cape and fights crime?

On Tuesday, our country took a major step forward. Maybe we didn't leap up and demand that gay people needed equal rights. Maybe we didn't jump up and swear that hypocrisy and bigotry were now ancient history. But at the very least, sparking the first stirrings of pride in a much taller but still cynical kid, we stood up and in one voice declared:

Joe the Plumber, go fuck yourself.

1 comment:

R J Keefe said...

(Raspberries all round!)