Daily Archives: October 18, 2010

Narrative Usurpation; Quick Thoughts On the Previous Post

First, please to enjoy the new t-shirt:

The statement will be familiar to this year’s class at Viable Paradise. For the rest of you, it relates to characters who show up in a story and are so entertaining that you forget whatever else is supposed to be going on and just pay attention to them instead. Guilty characters include Falstaff, the devil, and anyone Alan Rickman happens to be playing. Someone suggested I was a bit of a narrative usurper myself, which I don’t know is true (it presumes real life has a definable narrative, and God, whatever his other virtues, is crap at organizing his stories), but is flattering. Me and Alan Rickman, baby! Thus, the shirt. I also made one for Alan. I wonder where I should send it.

Second, thanks everyone for the kind notes about today’s previous entry, both in the comments there and on Twitter, and the various other places I’ve seen comments online. I’m glad the point I was trying to make is coming through. That said, I’ll note this before someone else feels the need to: Please, all, remember that I have shown my ass on the Internet before, and it seems very likely I will do so again in the future — although, of course, I will try not to. But like any number of people who presume to clever, I am often guilty of saying or writing something without first passing it through the “will this make me look like an entitled jackass” filter. And then, surprise, I look like an entitled jackass.

This is my roundabout way of saying that one of the reasons I wrote that last entry is to remind myself to try to be that person, the one who is aware what he gets unearned. In day-to-day life I work on it. Some days I do a better job than others. I’m sure all y’all will let me know when I’m having a bad day of it. I’ll try not to be too petulant when you do.

Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today

Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.
Today I don’t have to think about men who don’t believe no means no.
Today I don’t have to think about how the world is made for people who move differently than I do.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m going to hail a cab past midnight.

Today I don’t have to think about whether store security is tailing me.
Today I don’t have to think about the look on the face of the person about to sit next to me on a plane.
Today I don’t have to think about eyes going to my chest first.
Today I don’t have to think about what people might think if they knew the medicines I took.
Today I don’t have to think about getting kicked out of a mall when I kiss my beloved hello.

Today I don’t have to think about if it’s safe to hold my beloved’s hand.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m being pulled over for anything other than speeding.
Today I don’t have to think about being classified as one of “those people.”
Today I don’t have to think about making less than someone else for the same job at the same place.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who stare, or the people who pretend I don’t exist.

Today I don’t have to think about managing pain that never goes away.
Today I don’t have to think about whether a stranger’s opinion of me would change if I showed them a picture of who I love.
Today I don’t have to think about the chance a store salesmen will ignore me to help someone else.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who’d consider torching my house of prayer a patriotic act.
Today I don’t have to think about a pharmacist telling me his conscience keeps him from filling my prescription.

Today I don’t have to think about being asked if I’m bleeding when I’m just having a bad day.
Today I don’t have to think about whether the one drug that lets me live my life will be taken off the market.
Today I don’t have to think about the odds of getting jumped at the bar I like to go to.
Today I don’t have to think about “vote fraud” theater showing up at my poll station.
Today I don’t have to think about turning on the news to see people planning to burn my holy book.

Today I don’t have to think about others demanding I apologize for hateful people who have nothing to do with me.
Today I don’t have to think about my child being seen as a detriment to my career.
Today I don’t have to think about the irony of people thinking I’m lucky because I can park close to the door.
Today I don’t have to think about memories of being bullied in high school.
Today I don’t have to think about being told to relax, it was just a joke.

Today I don’t have to think about whether someone thinks I’m in this country illegally.
Today I don’t have to think about those who believe that freedom of religion ends with mine.
Today I don’t have to think about how a half-starved 23-year-old being a cultural ideal affects my life.
Today I don’t have to think about how much my life is circumscribed by my body.
Today I don’t have to think about people wanting me cured of loving who I love.

Today I don’t have to think about those who view me an unfit parent because of who I love.
Today I don’t have to think about being told my kind don’t assimilate.
Today I don’t have to think about people blind to the intolerance of their belief lecturing me about my own.
Today I don’t have to think about my body as a political football.
Today I don’t have to think about how much my own needs wear on those I love.

Today I don’t have to think about explaining to others “what happened to me.”
Today I don’t have to think about politicians saying bigoted things about me to win votes.
Today I don’t have to think about those worried that one day people like me will be the majority.
Today I don’t have to think about someone using the name of my religion as a slur.
Today I don’t have to think about so many of the words for me controlling my own life being negatives.

Today I don’t have to think about still not being equal.
Today I don’t have to think about what it takes to keep going.
Today I don’t have to think about how much I still have to hide.
Today I don’t have to think about how much prejudice keeps hold.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m meant to be grateful that people tolerate my kind.

Today I don’t have to think about all the things I don’t have to think about.
But today I will.