Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Breaking the Magic Wand

I decline
To walk the line
They tell me that I'm lazy
Worldly wise
I realize
That everybody's crazy
A woman's voice reminds me
To serve and not to speak
But I myself am just another freak

When I was 8 or so, a magazine I read had a DIY computer program in it. It was a strange, text-based version of “The Incredible Machine.” You had to type in different items to use in order to solve a problem or perform an action in order.

The neat thing about the game was that you could manipulate code to add extra items not in the core set.

I created the item: “magic wand.”

Which, of course, you’d wave, and the task would be solved instantly.

I’ve been trying to break the wand ever since.

With a cough
I shake it off
And work around my yellow stripe
Should I hide
And eat my pride
Or wait until it's good and ripe
My life is boiling over
It's happened once before
I wish someone would open up the door

It was a small event, but reveals much about my character. I’ve always gotten frustrated too easily, given up too soon on things, wanted the easy way. I’ve always known this is bad for me, that it holds me back from being truly great in my endeavors.

I hate to fail. So, often, I don’t try.

Or, I can have a great idea, then think ‘but what about this? Or this” and in moments, I’ve come to a roadblock in my plan that seems insurmountable. And then I give up.

I think I know what I want to do. Just look at what I talk about or write about on a regular basis. But I don’t know how to do it. I need to make the choices, and sacrifices, for the future, and I don’t seem to be willing or able to.

Too many distractions. Twitter, dinner, dog hair, dancing.

There's fire in the hole
And nothing left to burn
I'd like to run out now
There's nowhere left to turn

Lyrics from “Fire in the Hole,” by Steely Dan

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Apologetics: An Open letter to the students of Itawamba Agricultural High

I know prom’s a big deal. I get that. And I’m sure that not all of you felt comfortable with the decision to Punk your lesbian classmate by sending her to a “fake” prom while you all attended the “real” one.

And I don’t fault you for not standing up to the wave of hatred, bigotry and mean-spiritedness that was coming from your classmates and your administration. I know how vicious things can be. I was on the fulcrum of outcast in high school myself, and stayed silent more than I should have just so bullies would have a target other than me.

It’s hard to do the right thing, especially when people you like, or respect, are telling you that it’s the wrong thing. And you want them to like you too. So you don’t dare disagree.

I’m mad at your parents and teachers, more than anyone. They’re the ones who are supposed to be setting a good example about loving the sinner, not the sin, do unto others, and whatnot.

The one time I ever actually teased someone--at an overnight camp that was school-sponsored--my teachers set me straight. All of us, the half dozen girls who were sharing a cabin, had participated, and we all got a stern talking to. I can’t speak for the other girls, but I took the lesson to heart. I was ashamed for not being strong enough to go against the flow, and it was a lesson I carry with me to this very day.

So, since none of your adults are doing that job, please allow me to chastise you in their place. I’ll try not to be too mean about it. This is for your own good, after all.

If you consider yourselves Christian, which many of you do, please remember how Jesus treated sinners. The poor, the needy, tax collectors and prostitutes. He went to their parties, drank their wine, ate their food. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a phrase that comes to mind here.

Of course there were no Dykes at these parties, at least the New Testament doesn’t say one way or another. But that still doesn’t make it OK.

Also, just so you know, you weren’t being very original with the fake prom thing.
Back in 1965—I know, like the stone age, before your parents were even born—this same prank got pulled on a girl in Alabama. Thing is, she wasn’t gay. She was black.

Anyway, it’s no skin off my nose. I’ve long ago forgiven the kids who teased me, threw gum in my hair, said I was related to Saddam Hussein because my skin seemed a little too dark. They were just kids; They knew not what they did.

Although the Catholic in me really hopes that the guilt churns you up, just a little bit.