Jan 29

Here I Am!

Kudos to Bianca for guessing correctly that I’m hanging out in Florida.

Key West and Miami Beach to be exact.

I’ll have lots of stories to tell when I get home tomorrow night, but right now there is a white sand beach with turquoise blue water waiting for me right outside my window. UMB didn’t wait for me, he’s already there.

In the meantime enjoy these pictures taken out in the Everglades.

Everglades

Gator!

Jan 28

Where Am I

UMB and I took a spontaneous 12-hours-in-advance notice trip. We found an incredible fare and met up with my parents.

Here’s a geography quiz for everyone… well everyone but Jerry, Toby and Dan who know already… Where are we?

Schooner

Beach

Memorial

The last photo should be a big hint…

Beacon

Jan 26

Dear Nashville Star

Nashville StarsI will be the first to admit, I have never watched a single episode of your show before. I know, I know… that seems a bit strange, being that I have a deep connection to the country music industry, and I’m completely addicted to American Idol.

However, for some reason, I’ve never made it a point to watch before, but you caught me in the mood with a recast of this week’s episode at 1am.

I don’t mean to be rude, but are these contestants the best you could find? Seriously?

You may find it hard to believe, but I don’t really have that big of an ego. I feel I must tell you that I can sing circles around these people that you have assaulting my ears on national television. There were at least two moments tonight where I made a face that can usually only be accomplished by squeezing unripe lemon juice directly into my mouth.*

First, Joshua Stevens completely murdered one of my favorite songs of all time, “I Still Believe in You” by Vince Gill. He lowered the key from Eb to D and still couldn’t reach the high notes, instead he made a sound very similar to the bleating of one of those famous fainting goats. I was wishing for momentary unconsciousness myself.

Oh, but you saved the worst for last. Oh, Whitney. I don’t care if you had to switch your song choice at the last minute due to clearance rights. The fact that you didn’t get to rehearse your selection as much as you would have liked does not change the fact that you started out singing “The First Cut is the Deepest” under the pitch, and remained flat for the first verse. Nor does it excuse your remaining in the original key for the duration of the song despite the modulation that the band and back up singers nailed. By the end of the song you were still flat and in the completely wrong key, and YOU HAD NO IDEA!

Lord help me, the only performances that didn’t make me want to ram an icepick through my eardrums were by Zac and David, and they were nothing to write home about. I certainly won’t be running out to buy an album by either of them at this point.

In conclusion, please let me know the next time you are holding auditions, because I have no doubt that the Warner Brother’s record contract you’re waving about will be mine. All mine.

Sincerely,

Jester

* I didn’t know it wasn’t quite ripe at the time.

Jan 24

Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much

Dear Mr Cooper,

Please stop sending me articles about “God’s Plan for Sex,” or “Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do.”

I appreciate your concern, truly I do. However, you have already proven to me on multiple occasions that your sum computational power if harnessed couldn’t brown dinner rolls.

I must admit that the article you sent entitled, “What Are The Dangers of Anal Sex?” made me laugh out loud. I especially appreciate the charming illustrations like this one:

Anal Sex

It has been over a month since I awarded you the Flaming Fuck You Award. Apparently you have spent that time glued to your computer conducting “research.”

Here’s my guess at what I might find in your browser history trail or Google Search cookies*:

  • Anal Sex
  • Butt Pirates
  • Inserting Penis Buttholes
  • Toys For My Tushy
  • Illustrations Gay Sex**
  • Homosexual Lifestyles
  • Civil War Re-enactments***
  • Coming Out to My Church
  • Depression
  • What is Down Low?
  • Wayne Cooper****
  • Nearby Gay Bars

Now if you don’t mind, my boyfriend of nearly five years just stripped off his pajamas and asked me to come to bed. We’re gonna go open a “superhighway” and do what you have been spending so long fantasizing about. Sucks to be you.

* A quick shout out and welcome to all the porn-seekers who have found this blog based on this list.

** Might I suggest Tom of Finland?

*** I don’ t know why, but you seem like the kind of guy that is into boring ass Civil War Re-Enactments, and vacations in Colonial Williamsburg.

**** No doubt searching for the number of references to you by name that also contains the word gay because you like the way it sounds. I hope my site comes up number one.

Jan 23

A Dish Best Served Cold

I have another side to my personality that most of you have not yet seen. It doesn’t come to light very often, because I am an extremely patient man. Most of the time.*

But when my patience has been abused, the circumstances become dire enough, or I feel egregiously wronged, I have the ability to become an evil bastard.

I’m going to tell you a story that as far as I know, only 5 or 6 people have heard.

I’ll leave out some of the gory back story details and boil them down to the following points about my ex-best friend Michele:

  • we met and even dated in high school much to the dismay of her conservative Christian family.
  • we lived together several times, in Missouri, Nashville, and out here in California.
  • we were almost polar opposites in every single way, except our sense of humor which was always eerily similar.
  • on many many many many many occasions she has insulted or pissed me off to the point of near-homicidal rage.
  • she met an extremely homophobic paralegal, Chris, who at last count has unsuccessfully taken the Bar exam 6 times. He hates me and they call me “Wham!” behind my back because I’m so flamboyantly gay.**
  • the last Christmas that we were speaking to each other, I spent over $100 on a nice set of bakeware for her Martha Stewart-obsessed pantry… she gave me a large bag of chocolates, knowing full well that I am one of those apparently bizarre people who hate chocolate.
  • Chris, the boyfriend, has a habit of meeting girls who leave him for other girls.
  • Michele was at one time in a three-year long relationship with a psycho named Kristen.
  • She burned her bridges with me in a big way.

Last year, after we stopped speaking to each other, I stumbled across her blog. It was a lot of the same alternating cheesy romantic hooey and woe-is-me self pity that made up her journals. However, the blog announced her engagement to the Rhodes Scholar and detailed the wedding planning process.

One post (I can’t link to them because the blog is now M.I.A.) talked about the mailing of the invitations and how people on the guest list would know if they were on the first cut or not based on the type of stamp that was on the envelope. Classy. I left the following comment on that post:

Guess you decided that since you live three blocks from me that you would just hand deliver my invitation. I look forward to attending.

At the same time, a mutual friend, Leayn, was making plans to make the trip out here for the wedding. She’s a music teacher in Kansas City and like most teachers is on a very limited budget. She called me and asked if she could stay with me while she was here. She knew that it might seem a bit awkward given the circumstances, but also knew that I could be adult enough to not let it bother me. I told her that I would love to see her, and of course she was welcome to stay with me.

Michele was not pleased with the arrangement at all. She threw a living hissy fit on the phone with Leayn. She was upset that I knew about the wedding. She was upset that I might know where or when it was happening, and she was pissed with Leayn for telling me, apparently she had forgotten that I had already left a comment on her blog.

Leayn decided that she no longer cared to attend the wedding. She wasn’t exactly supportive of the marriage in the first place, being that Chris is a moron who doesn’t want kids, is homophobic, and is about as interesting as flies fucking on a freshly painted wall.

I had decided by this point that I had had quite enough of the whole mess. So I devised a plan.***

Step One: Set up an anonymous email account. Yahoo is great for that.

Step Two: Call on the power of that almighty force that is Craigslist. Place the following ad:

Gay Nudist Hiking Group Event Next Weekend

Nude HikerHey all!

I’m putting together a group of about 15 friends who want to go on an au naturel picnic and hike in the Redwoods next Saturday. We’re all gay guys ranging in age from 25 to 40, but all like-minded folks are welcome.

We’d especially like to see some of our lesbian sisters come along (we need help making the fire! Ha! Ha!).

Email me for details on the meeting place and time.

Step Three: Direct all of the respondents to the exact location in the Redwood Forest National Park where Michele will be exchanging vows with Captain Fantastic.

I got over 300 emails, including a couple from local nudist hiking groups who decided to forward the event to their membership lists. I answered every one.

I didn’t attend the wedding. It actually took every ounce of my willpower to not drive the three hours or so to watch the festivities from a distance.

I hear that the hiking event was a major success. In fact, a couple of the groups that met that day decided to merge ranks.

Lest you think this is the most childish, vengeful, awful thing in the world I could have done, imagine for a moment what might have happened had I attached a photo of Chris Brightbulb, the groom, as the event organizer.

The thought crossed my mind.

Don’t fuck with me.

* As long are you aren’t in front of me on the highway. Or in a grocery store. Or at the bank.

** This is actually pretty funny, as I’m not really flamboyant at all. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

***I realize that my revealing this plan is likely to really upset my readers of the female persuasion. I know exactly how important your wedding day is… how long you dream of it, imagine it, plan it, re-plan it, and stress about it. But before you call for my beheading, just imagine how mad I must have been to hatch this plan.

Jan 23

Energy Vampires

VampiraNo, I’m not talking about all those little two-pronged wall warts that suck electricity and money from your pockets at an alarming rate.

I’m talking about those people in your life who suck every last ounce of patience, energy, love, and support and rarely, if ever, return the favor. People who consider you their ‘best friend’ because you listen and offer advice and help as much as possible, whenever possible, but are the last ones you can call on when in need…

People like her.

She’s going through a divorce, maybe, if she can ever get her shit together to actually file. In the meantime she’s fucking anything that will have her, though admittedly, she’s been fucking the same guy almost exclusively for the past year. He won’t call her his girlfriend though.

She needed a place to live. I found her a room with my aunt, for an incredibly cheap rent.

She works as a substitute teacher, but not full time. I knew she needed help with money so I hired her to clean for us. It was supposed to be $10/hour for four hours every week. That soon became the same $40 every week for less than 2 hours of ‘cleaning’ that usually consisted of her peppering me with stories about her boyfriend who is apparently way too attached to his mother while wandering about the house with a sponge.

On our recent trip to the Midwest, I asked her to house/dog sit. This should have been a blessing for her as she really wanted to get away from her roommates for a few days. Three days into the trip, she called me and said she couldn’t deal with my dogs. Apparently they are used to having some attention and she just could not be called upon for that. I didn’t mention the several times that I house sat for her, including the times when I had to chase down her nearly blind decrepit old cat that needed medication three times a day, or caring for the dog that was recuperating from being run over by her husband. I didn’t mention the week that I spent watching her daughters, driving them to and from summer camp, soccer, cooking and cleaning up after them so she and her husband could ‘work on their marriage’ in Vegas. No, instead I called my aunt and asked her to uproot herself and her dog to come stay at my house.

And then when all hell broke loose at my aunt’s house with another roommate, she chose sides. She began making life miserable for my aunt.

She would do all these little things, like turning down the thermostat to freeze the house when she left, turn the refrigerator up to where the food was barely cold and the ice would melt. Things started escalating to where she would scream “bitch” at my aunt whenever they were in the same room. She went to the post office and put all the mail in the house on vacation hold. God knows how much mail she destroyed.

I tried to stay out of things for the most part. When I helped my aunt get rid of the roommate who was instigating all the animosity things just got worse. I told Vampira that I hoped she would decide that my friendship was more important than the petty bullshit and she could be an adult and act like one.

Apparently she couldn’t.

She accused me of hacking her email, changing her passwords on myspace and her credit cards… None of which I did.

She eventually threatened my aunt and her dog. My aunt took it seriously.

I wrote the eviction letter, filled out the temporary restraining order on my aunt’s behalf, and served it on her myself.

There is a smear campaign going on over at Myspace that has even gotten her 13 year old daughter involved. I haven’t responded to it outside of this post.

You see, though I know all of her secrets… and believe me, there are some doozies that I’m sure the School Board, her soon-to-be-ex-husband, her kids, and her current fuck buddy would love to know about, I’m an adult.

More of an adult than this 43 year old woman who I have supported for the past nine years.*

Flaming Fuck YouSo here’s a Flaming Fuck You award for being such a selfish, egotistical, hypocritical, two-faced, petty, herpes-infested (oops, did I say that outloud?) douche bag. Good riddance. And may I never be subjected to any more stories about your girl’s cheer leading competitions, and no, I don’t wish to see the video.

* Maybe just barely, but the distinction is there.

Jan 16

A Tragic Short Story

::Warning – This post contains graphic imagery and a situation that may not be suitable for all readers. It is however Safe for Work. Consider yourself warned.::

Late September 1995 was a perfect Indian Summer in the Midwest, warm temperatures, bright sunshine and everything was green and beautiful. It was a perfect Saturday afternoon made for playing frisbee with a dog, or fishing, or anything that would get you outside to enjoy the best part of the year.

Agnes* was driving home from a visit with her mother in the next town over. The radio was on, the windows were down and other than her dark green 1986 Oldsmobile, no traffic on the highway. Her 13 year old son, Jeffrey, having been up most of the previous night playing video games, had drifted off to sleep in the passenger seat clutching his GameBoy.

They were about twenty minutes from home, heading into a wide valley between two of the rolling hills of north-central Missouri when Agnes noticed a bright reflection off the glass of a large black Ford Bronco approaching them from the top of the next hill. The driver of the Bronco seemed be having trouble keeping the truck under control as it picked up speed on the incline. The right tires briefly slipped onto the gravel shoulder kicking up a rooster tail of dust. The driver seemed to get it together, and then swerved into the center of the two-lane roadway.

Agnes grew concerned that the driver was either drunk or otherwise incapacitated, so she slowed down and pulled to the right shoulder. She continued driving forward slowly while the truck continued to weave back and forth, growing ever closer. Agnes stopped the car on the shoulder and flashed her headlights in an effort to get the driver’s attention.

Unfortunately, the driver of the Ford Bronco, David, was asleep at the wheel. His allergies had been bothering him something fierce with all the recent rain and warm weather keeping the pollen and mold counts high. He had taken some Benadryl and was hoping to make the trip from St. Joseph to Macon without using an entire box of tissues. The effect of the medication, and the warm temperatures induced a ‘highway hypnosis’ that he was powerless to resist.

The Bronco, traveling around 70 miles per hour crossed the center line and in a perhaps one-in-a-million shot slammed head-on into the parked Oldsmobile.

I was on emergency service call that day, meaning that I was in uniform, but at home carrying a pager/radio. When the call came in to the dispatcher, he sent the warning tones out over the airwaves that activated the pager.

I recognized the tone for my pager (each person’s pager responded to different tone frequencies, mine was a perfect descending 4th) and was already walking out the door to my pickup when the tone for my supervisor, John, went out and the dispatcher’s voice crackled over the radio. “Units 2 and 5 10-21 Emergency.” The ten code meant ‘report to base’ and ’emergency’ meant ‘turn on the lights and sirens on your personal vehicle and get here 10 seconds ago.’

John and I lived less than 2 blocks from each other, which in turn was approximately 12 blocks from the station. We arrived almost simultaneously. Bryan, the dispatcher, met us at the door with the call sheet containing the location and any other available details, and a set of gloves for each of us. Our procedures dictated that we put on our gloves and other protective gear before we entered the ambulance. In emergency situations it is quite easy to forget to stop and glove up once you arrive and get caught up in the scene.

“There’s a 10-50 J2 J3 on Highway 36 between Marceline and Macon. Macon County is already en route,” Bryan informed us. A 10-50 is an automobile accident and J-codes were used to classify the severity of injury. J1 was no-injuries, J2 meant injuries reported, J3 meant multiple patients. The neighboring county had an ambulance closer to the scene than we were and was responding, but as the location was within our county, we would run the show upon arrival.

That Ford ambulance had an 8-cylinder 450 engine that I once personally drove at 140 miles per hour with plenty of room left between the accelerator and the floorboard. John drove to the scene this particular day.

We were about 8 minutes from the scene when Macon County arrived. The Highway Patrolman who had responded contacted us, and stated that this was a 10-50 possible J4.

J4. Fatality.

We arrived to what can only be adequately described as a ‘clusterfuck.’ There were police vehicles and two of Macon County’s ambulances, our own fire squad who had followed us, Marceline’s volunteer fire squad, and probably every single civilian with a police scanner parked haphazardly in our way.

John and I hopped out of the ambulance, grabbed our bags and hurried to what had once been a dark green Oldsmobile. The hood of the car had crumpled and was now situated where the windshield should have been. The roof of the car was flattened almost level with the headrests of the front seat. Engine parts were strewn about the highway, parting streams of antifreeze and various other fluids leaking from the inner workings of the car.

It’s strange how quickly a bit of training and only a small amount of experience can make your brain begin to work in a different way. I looked at the smoking wreckage and my brain immediately began processing things like: Head on collision means we should first check for head and chest injuries caused by the windshield and steering wheel, then seatbelt injuries to the neck and shoulders and then extremity damage caused by the transmission being forced up into the floor or the engine block entering the cabin…

The fire crew was getting the hydraulic snips, often called the ‘Jaws of Life’ assembled, and one of Macon County’s medics was hanging halfway out of the passenger window trying to assess the status of the patients inside. We couldn’t get the doors to open, and it was going to take some time for Jaws to grant access to the passengers.

I was much smaller than I am now, and was able to easily drag myself into the backseat of the ruined car through the driver’s window. John handed my bag to me through the window and I began to yell out instructions to those standing outside.

Agnes had been screaming non-stop since we arrived. I was positioned behind her and trying to calm her down. She didn’t have any obvious head or neck injuries and was freely moving her arms around but the force of the collision had propelled her downward into the floorboard and the seatbelt had locked holding her into place and keeping her from changing position. I couldn’t see them, but between shrieks of pain she informed me that her legs were broken. I was hyper focused and picking up on little details one at a time. Things were moving in slow motion for me. Get the cervical support collar positioned, calm her down, ask her if had pain anywhere besides her legs, is that blood on her arm?

I had been in the car all of about 6 seconds.

The medic who still had his legs dangling out the passenger window motioned to me and said, “I need some help here.” I hadn’t yet noticed that he was attempting to perform CPR on a slightly overweight teenager who was laying in the seat out of my view. I leaned my body over the seat back to gain access and realized that the boy was trapped behind the woman. I yelled out the door for an ETA on Jaws and then made the decision that I would have to move the woman to get to the boy.

I had to position myself so that my shoulder was pushing Agnes forward, toward the steering wheel, my back was pressed against the flattened roof and my feet were wedged in the backseat giving me some leverage. I was able to reach the boy better from my position and continued CPR, using my left hand to hold and operate a bag mask and my right to do chest compressions. Agnes was still shrieking from the pain of her broken legs, and randomly pressing back against my shoulder in an effort to free herself from the car.

At some point, the firefighters threw a blanket into the car for me to protect ourselves from flying glass and shrapnel. The sound of Jaws wrenching the sheet metal and the screams and instructions being called out around me got drowned out as I was under that dark blanket staring at the lifeless body of a boy the same age as my brother. I knew from the start that he was dead. It was obvious from the visible injuries that he was killed instantly. Missouri’s law stated that once a medic began performing CPR, they could not stop without a doctor’s direct order. Our county’s policy was that once began, CPR would not stop until the patient reached the hospital and doctors took over. None of that mattered, as stopping would have meant that I would have to explain to that woman why we were not working harder to help her son. Not that she had stopped screaming long enough to ask how her son was doing. Intense pain makes you blind to everything around you.

The fire crew got the door off the car and John entered with the backboard and straps to extricate Agnes. He looked me in the eye and asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’ll be better when you get us out of here.”

Agnes had compound tibula/fibula fractures of both legs, exposing bone and muscle tissue. She was loaded into a Macon County ambulance and rushed to the hospital. John reappeared at the door with another backboard for the boy. We couldn’t get him positioned correctly without moving him, and as the three of us coordinated the effort to move him, the extent of his injuries became more apparent. Virtually every bone in his upper body had been broken. His shoulders did not move at the same time as the rest of his torso. In my flashbacks to this day, I picture him as being like one of those old action figures that was held together by an elastic cord. Once the cord got old and stretched out, the limbs would dangle loosely and the waist would separate from the chest.

John pulled him from the car, and moved away with the stretcher. It got quiet for the first time and I realized that the radio was playing softly. The Goo Goo Dolls, “Name.” He was being loaded into our ambulance when I finally crawled out of that backseat. I had been in the car for over 20 minutes.

As John lifted the stretcher onto the back of the rig, I heard the clatter of something dropping onto the roadway. I bent over and picked up a GameBoy. The screen showed an all too appropriate “Game Over.”

I drove back to the hospital, lights flashing and sirens wailing, but not exceeding the speed limit. John and I both knew that there was no hope that we would be able to resuscitate Jeffrey. John was following our trauma code procedures, continuing CPR and administering cardiac drugs, but there was no question in our minds that it was a lost cause. By slowing down we were giving the hospital a little extra time to stabilize Agnes before we rolled in.

We were at the hospital for a long time, filling out our call reports and assisting the hospital staff. Agnes stopped screaming soon after she received some pain medication, and I overheard her description of the accident to the police. She did not yet know that her son was lying in the next room. My favorite nurse was cleaning him up before they told her. I helped her wash the blood off his face and borrowed John’s comb to straighten his hair.

We got back to the station and began cleaning and restocking the rig. A routine that I had now performed hundreds of times. I don’t remember doing it.

John’s wife, the District Coordinator (boss), was waiting for us in the office. We walked in and John gave her a short run down of the scene. I was pretty numb by this point… running on pure adrenaline and instinct for an extended period of time has a way of draining you. For all of the problems that I had with John and his wife over the years that I was a medic, I will never forget the most important thing he ever said to me that day.

“This is it. This is as bad as it gets. I had my doubts when you started here that you were cut out to do this job. You are only 20 years old, and I just didn’t think you had the stomach for it. But I was wrong. It doesn’t get any worse than a kid who was doing nothing more than taking a nap getting killed while riding with his mom. The real test will be tonight, when you get home and things quiet down. If you don’t have a nervous breakdown and think you can get up and work again tomorrow, there will never be anything else in your life that is this hard.”

I went home that night and I cried for hours. I sat in the bathtub sobbing and shaking and snotting all over myself.

When I got up the next morning, I was able to go to work. And I went on other calls that were disturbing and stressful, some of which I’m sure I’ll write about here as they made definite impressions on me.

When I’m asked on job applications how well I perform under stressful situations, I write that there isn’t anything in the office that is as life and death as my job as a medic, so they could throw anything they like in my direction.

I think about that accident often. Usually when I’m feeling particularly stressed, or on the rare occasion when I feel like my self-esteem needs a bit of a boost.

Because John was right. There has never been anything else in my life as hard as that beautiful September day.

* Not their real names.

Incidentally, David, the driver of the Bronco walked away from the wreck with some bruising from the seatbelt. He was not charged with any crime. He attended the boy’s funeral and I can only imagine the sleepless nights he has had to endure.

Jan 12

Your turn

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth or anything.

I know, you’re totally worried about it, right?

There’s a lot of stuff happening at the moment that I can’t write about yet… I will, but not while it’s happening. I don’t know why but the saying, “When it rains, it pours,” is screaming to be typed out.

I want to write about other things, but can’t really concentrate long enough to do so. You’ll have to settle for this post instead. And to be completely lazy about it, I’m going to pose a question to you dear readers:

What are the best/worst career decisions you have ever made in your life so far?

Discuss.

Jan 08

Olivia

Olivia Newton-JohnShane and I went out on the town one night in Nashville. We decided to meet up with my friends Keith and Candace from the radio station at a cool bar not far from Music Row called The Boundary. The Boundary was an unusual place, a bit like a ‘bar in the round.’ It was two stories with a giant circular bar on the first floor, and it was almost always packed.

It was a pretty mixed crowd, if you consider a bar full of mid-level record company executives, interns and the occasional just-signed or just-about-to-be-signed artists a mixed crowd.

Shane and I were pushing our way up to the bar, which proves to be not as difficult as one might think when one of you is 6′ 4″ and the other is 6’2″ and “husky.”*

I could have stood there all day without a glance, but with Shane being as beautiful as he is, everyone noticed him. Even the straight guys, like the hot bartender in front of us. He was working on our drinks when an older blonde woman made her way up to the bar and squeezed between us. She smiled at us and ordered a drink. I have only the vaguest memory of her face and the fact that she complimented my tie.

Shane and I got our drinks and headed back to join my friends on the upstairs balcony.

Shane stopped me once we got a clearing, “So Olivia liked your tie?”

“Who?” I replied.

“Olivia Newton-John. Didn’t she just say she liked your tie?”

“You mean that woman at the bar? She complimented my tie, yes. But that wasn’t Olivia Newton-John,” I said.

“Dude, that totally was Olivia Newton-John. I just about pissed myself when she started talking to you.”

“Shane, you’ve got to stop smoking crack. It wasn’t her. There is no way that Olivia Newton-John just stood three inches away from me and talked to me without my recognizing her. I had the biggest crush on her as a kid. I had her posters on my bedroom wall. I have seen Grease and Xanadu so many times that I can quote the movies almost word for word. I know all of her songs.”**

Shane thought for a minute and said, “Hmm. Maybe you’re right. I didn’t get that good of a look at her.”

We went back to our table, continued drinking and somehow made it back to our respective homes in one piece. A typical Friday night.

Monday morning my phone rang. It was Shane.

“Hey Paul, have you seen today’s paper?”

“No, Sharon was reading it when I left, so I didn’t grab it. Why?”

“Get a copy and check out the Lifestyles section and call me back,” he said before hanging up.

I grabbed a paper in the conference room and almost immediately saw the article Shane was most definitely excited about. It was the “Sighted” section where people call in their favorite celebrity sightings and talk about the goings-on at local hot spots.

And there it was:

Spotted: Our favorite Aussie, Olivia Newton-John, famous for her role in Grease and 80’s pop hits, at The Boundary on Friday night. She’s in town cutting her latest album that is rumored to be a return to her country roots.

Shit.

I hate to be wrong. I especially hate to be wrong in such an embarrassing way.

I called Shane back. “Hey, I guess you were right. I can’t believe that I didn’t recognize her.”

“Yeah me either, of course she doesn’t exactly look like she did in the 80’s. Oh well. At least she liked your tie,” he responded with a chuckle.

“Actually, she said she LOVED my tie. There’s a difference.”

{ – }

I was reminded of this story tonight because of the airing of “You’re the One That I Want” on NBC, in which Broadway hopefuls compete for the roles of Danny and Sandy in the latest revival of the musical. Olivia was on screen briefly, prompting Kristy to comment on her appearance. I personally thought she looked pretty good tonight. But then again what do I know, apparently I can’t recognize her when she’s standing close enough to smell.

* I have always hated this term. As a kid I was forced to wear clothing that came with “husky” on the label. This was especially bad with jeans, since they had the size listed on that funky brown patch on the back. “He’s not fat, he’s just husky.” Gag me.

** And my parents claimed to be totally surprised when I came out. Can you say ‘denial?’

Jan 05

Guest Post: A Moment from Val

wedcoupleposeMy great friend Val (the lovely brunette in this photo) sent me this note and I decided to make it a Guest Post. Enjoy!

You know that I am so web-challenged that it took me several years to remember that you had a site. I had NO idea it would be this cool – and continuously. [Thanks! I’ll try not to let it go to my head…]

Funny that I’ve known you for about fifteen years, yet I’ve learned things about you, on this site, that we’ve never gotten around to talking about. Partly because, during those magic times we can be together, there’s more catching up to do than we have time for. I read your newest “movie moment” (very nice!) and I have shared, in a past comment, one of my “magic moments” (dancing at Faces, in 2000).

Here is another one: The second trip out, myself and K, now “officially” together. We ambled through the most perfect day – a late breakfast with perfect friends and good, hot coffee. Fruit fresh off the vine, right outside your door. A lovely drive through the hills and the valley, views to which my camera could not do justice, yet still a perfect backdrop for the group picture that I admire every day, here at my desk. A true Kodak memory. As though the weather was made to order. We tasted our way across Napa Valley – wines and cheeses. Finally, we were treated to a shopping excursion, very late at night, in the most wonderful grocery/deli/liquor store (where were we?). [I believe we went to a gourmet shop on 4th Street in Berkeley.]

In a cloud of fuzzy wine-happiness and resulting hunger, K and I filled our cart with every delectable looking cheese, every cute jar of pickled something, and, of course, more good wine. Back at the house, our party struggled to stay awake while we opened, chopped, peeled, and heated things sweet, dilled, creamy, and sour (K is really into taste contrasts). [Truly, one of the best ‘non-meals’ I’ve ever had in my life… Hot french bread and brie, strawberries, kiwi, and all those wonderful cheeses… Great… now I’m hungry.]

Finally, we served up our little work of art, poured wine and we all toasted. Each one had something very deep and touching to say. In the candlelight, with a perfect selection of music in the background, we fed all our senses – lights, sound, tastes – and emotions. In that moment, there could not have been a more perfect place. We laughed until we cried. We told, and listened to, stories that cheer me to this day.

The story of Paul’s temporary blindness, and the reason for it, remains one of my favorites. [That story is coming soon. Thanks for the reminder…]

Who could ask for better friends and why are they so kind to me – as though my happiness was their only concern?

Truly a gift!