Thursday, October 19, 2006

Racquetball with the Rev

It's happened twice now. We both end up sweaty. He gives me a real workout. Today he left marks on my body. I know, the title sort of deflates the dirtiness, as you know I'm merely talking about playing racquetball. At the unholy hour of 6am. But of course, when the Dark Pope and the HFoC (Head Fag on Campus, much like a BMoC, only with show tunes) get together, SOMETHING must be unholy.

Neither of us can claim to be in prime physical condition. We're much older and....rounder...than most of the (college-aged) group with which we spend time. And yet, we give each other a real run for the money! We're of similar skill on the court. What I lack in speed, I make for with a large wingspan. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for with (disgustingly) trick shots and strategic placement. (I apparently can't return a ball that comes straight at me, or is served into the back left save my soul!)

We have a great time abusing each other at 6am. We laugh, we mock, we groan, we ache, and we out-swear the saltiest of sailors. Yes, nuns walking past the court would likely faint. Those who know us wouldn't really be that shocked. This morning resulted in one win for each of us. (This, incidentally was the first time I've won since taking the sport up again...and I've played against Ainsley a few times as well.) Each point was hard earned, too. Our first game, played to 21 points, took 36 minutes.

It's been nice getting a good solid workout in, though we both feel it afterwards. After our last match, the Rev commented "How do you feel? Cuz I feel like Patti LaBelle's hairstylist...I'm soooooooo tired." It's just before 11am, and my body is complaining about the vigorous pounding it took 5 hours ago. Of course, taking two shots to the body, one quite powerful and direct that missed a nipple ring by 3 inches, didn't help matters. (Rev, 5 hours later there's still a perfect red circle imprinted.) I'm feeling fairly confident that I will maintain the current level of weight loss...50 pounds, as of this morning!

But it's more than that. It's about two friends getting to spend time together. Sharing something (pain!). Pushing each other to do more, do better. We don't get mad when the other person makes an amazing kill shot...we simply "Nice shot...asshole." It's about moving and doing something. Becoming smaller versions of ourselves. Trying to make our bodies move like they did 10 years ago (har har har). Camaraderie, not competition.

Today's lesson: it's not always about winning. Sometimes it's nice to just struggle on, and to do it with someone. Even when they're your opponent.

Today's homework: find someone who can push you at something. Sports, games, cooking, conversation, thinking, puzzles, religion...anything. You'll be amazed how far you can go when you find someone you like and trust who will push back.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Warning: Blatant Sarcasm Ahead

Stolen shamelessly from a friend's myspace bulletin:
Some suggest gay marriage will merely undermine one of our most fundamental societal institutions, causing countless straight couples to get divorced because exclusion of gays was the only thing holding their marriage together. But we know better. Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs.

If we let liberal activist judges in Massachusetts and California set the course, the blood will run in rivers. Mixed with molten lava.

Top 13 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong
13. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
12. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why our society has no single parents.
11. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
10. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
9. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
8. Gay marriage should be decided by the people and their elected representatives, not the courts. The framers checked the courts, which represent mainstream public opinion, with legislatures created to protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Interference by courts in this matter is inappropriate, just as it has been every time the courts have tried to hold back legislatures pushing for civil rights.
7. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Civil unions providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because "separate but equal" institutions are a good way to satisfy the demands of uppity minority groups.
5. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
4. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
3. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
2. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

We all know that it wasn't gay marriage that killed the dinosaurs -- it was a meteor that God sent to earth to spite them because they all became gay. Gay marriage itself doesn't kill anyone; it only gives them AIDS. My pastor told me that if we let gays get married, their AIDS might mutate and become airborn, and then what, huh? Airborne AIDS! Then we'll all have to walk around wearing masks and rubber suits and that wouldn't be much fun now would it?!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


My phone rang around 5am. The University President, Phil Dubois, was calling to tell me personally. To tell me what I knew in my heart before the phone even stopped ringing. After 5 days, Matt had passed. I was sitting on the floor, braced against the wall, too groggy with sleep to do much else. I just wept for a moment, though I think it was more because I knew he was no longer suffering. Then I stood up and headed toward the shower, knowing that there would be much to do that day.

Today, 8 years later, I'm heading for the shower in a more metaphoric sense. I'm rededicating myself to making a difference. To changing the world in which I live so that it's a better place. A safer place. A more welcoming place. A world worth Matt's legacy. A world worthy of our children, be they gay or straight. Black or white. Muslim or Jewish. Male or female. Rich or poor. Young or old.

This is MY pledge. Please take a moment today and make your own pledge to make something better.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A lesson 8 years in the making

Eight years ago, on October 6th, 1998, a new friend of mine left a bar. He left with two men who told him they were gay. And he trusted them. They told him they would give him a ride home. And he trusted them. Not long after he left with them, they tied him to a fence. They hit him in the head some 18 times with the butt of a .357 Magnum pistol. They left him to die. Because he trusted them.

I miss Matt every day. The universe knows that my life is so different today because I knew him. I didn't know him enough, though. I was busy planning Gay Awareness Week on campus. Dealing with the start of semester at work. I told myself I'd get to know him better after all that was done. I'd talk to him about his family. I'd encourage him to be more involved with the group on campus, perhaps even become an officer. I missed my chance, because I put events and agendas before people.

The last few weeks have reminded me of just how precious life is. Friends. Family. A part of me will mourn Matt every year at this time. But I also know that he'd rather we celebrate life. And the good that has come in the last 8 years. That we hold each other tighter to our hearts. That we tell each other more often how we feel, and let people into our hearts. Sadness is not his legacy. Love, peace, and understanding are. Today, I celebrate him. And each of you.

You are all angels. You give me wings.