I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How two busloads of gay militants got in my basement

In honor of Pride Month (which actually is celebrated in April around these parts, because June is too $%^$%&* hot), I will recount this tale of gay pride in the Reagan era. Picture, if you will, 1987. Culture Club is on MTV, "As Is" is on cable, Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller himself) co-stars in Harvey Fierstein's "Torch Song Trilogy." This is a long and rambling story, with something of a point, I think, if you bear with me. It's my Alice's Restaurant.

When I was in my first semester at college and I wanted very badly for everybody to love me all at once, I kept to a pattern that I had established in high school, which was this: The way into any group is to identify the most accessible boy and kiss him. While even then I would have freely admitted this was not the most progressive of social strategies, it was nonetheless indisputably effective. It’s really the same skill as picking off the weakest antelope.

It was Fosco’s misfortune that the herd I happened to be stalking was this misfit band of Illuminatus-spouting elves and wizards who dwelled in the coveted on-campus cottage we referred to simply as brown house.

I call him Fosco because “Fosco Tolkien” is the name I got just now when I put his real name in the hobbit name generator at http://www.chriswetherell.com/hobbit/. Clever thing that. Apparently, my hobbit name is Myrtle Smallburrows of Sandydowns. Stealthily, did this Sandydowns temptress come to exercise dominion over poor Fosco of brown house.

Then, to compound my fault, I not only used him for whatever I thought I would gain from the companionship of these woodland creatures, but I also made him do all of my typing. We had vax back then, and I didn’t even know how to log on and make the vax do my bidding in the first place, let alone type. Oh yes, by moonlight I did creep into brown house and shove the handwritten pages of my latest oeuvre into the face of poor Fosco, who – dutiful hobbit -- would churn them out by deadline.

But that was only the beginning of the woes that acquaintance with me would bring him.

Now my true heart’s yearning was an upperclassman who looked like Jim Morrison and dressed like James Dean, with a “Live fast; Die pretty” demeanor not at all befitting his status as my resident adviser. Chivalric was my unrequited love. That he was gay and quite militant only just made him all the more deliciously tragique, as he would allude to narrow escapes from AIDS and bashers alike.

Don’t get me wrong. It was not for him, or not for him alone, that I joined the gay student group on campus. No, I actually did share a very heartfelt kinship with its members as a fellow “invisible minority.” Plus, they were awesome – fierce and self-assured and worldly. They were Stonewall. They were ACTUP, which had only just formed. And inviting – did I mention I wanted the world to love me?

Our big project was we were going to the LGBT March on Washington – the first national march since 1979 and the first display of the AIDS quilt. I wouldn’t have missed it. Also, for me it had the added appeal of a cheap trip home. Eventually there were two busloads of us – and all of them were going to camp out in my basement. Even Fosco had been coaxed to leave the shire, thinking to charm the girlfriend’s parents.


Turtleduck said...

Would this be the same Fosco I hijacked at said gay rights march?

Esmerelda Boffin of Whitfurrows aka Turtleduck aka Megan

Astrodon Johnstoni said...

Oh Dood, Turtleduck, I was just about to get to that part. I petered out in the middle of my epic saga.

Turtleduck said...

Continue then please...

Your audience is waiting.