Ass Wipe Nation

When I was a kid, and even when I was a younger adult, the words “ass wipe” were used as a derogatory slang expression that meant “a real asshole” – nay, you were worse than that, you were the toilet paper that wiped the dirty asses.  Don’t you remember referring to someone as an “ass wipe”?  “Oh my god, that guy is such an ass wipe.”

Oh, how times have changed.   Today, the definition of “ass wipe” is not derogatory, ass wipes are a requirement in the American household.  I don’t recall when it started, but I do recall being one of the first people I knew to buy ass wipes, also called “moist wipes”.  They are a derivation of “baby wipes” except you can’t flush baby wipes like you can ass wipes.  I remember having visitors to my home, close friends usually, who said “what are those things sitting on the back of your toilet tank in that plastic box”.  And I would explain to them that they are “moist wipes”.  When they still didn’t get it, I said “they’re ass wipes – they’re slightly wet and you use them to clean you ass”.  For christ sake do I have to spell it out??  Do you really not know what these things are?  Were we, as a nation, so naive, or blind to a fact that Europeans and their bidets have known for years:  Skid marks aren’t pretty. 

Maybe as a gay man it all seemed so natural to me to have these cleansing gadgets.  I won’t go into details – you’re welcome.  But American bathrooms, for the most part, are bidet-free.  Sure there are high-end homes with super high-end bathrooms that have bidets.  Many wouldn’t recognize what it is and would probably ask why there is a water fountain in your bathroom.  And now the “must have” bathroom fixture is the thousand dollar Japanese toilet that basically washes, blow dries, and puts your ass through a spin cycle before sending you on your merry way.

But barring that, Americans have their “ass wipes”.  Currently it’s almost unheard of to walk into someone’s bathroom and not find a box of moist wipes sitting on the toilet tank.  Mothers are happy.  Their kids and their husbands don’t leave so many skid marks in their underwear; making their laundry chore far less disgusting.  Husbands are happy because now maybe their wives won’t mind giving them head somuch because it doesn’t smell so bad.  As for gay men, we’re just happy.  Happy that we spread the word about ass-wipes and it took off.  I’m disappointed that Spell Check in America rarely get’s “bidet” correct.   To summarize, clean asses are in our thoughts, but not in our dictionaries.

My only counterpoint to this?  Dick Cheney is still an old-fashioned ass wipe. (Sorry, I had to slip that in somewhere).  I’m not sure, exactly, why America has become obsessed with cleaning their butts.  But I’m glad they did.  It makes sitting in a crowded room so much more pleasant.


Getting stabbed in the front

White House senior advisor David Axelrod was on “Morning Joe” this morning.  At one point he relayed an expression he had heard.  It went something like this:  An associate of his who was struggling with Washington politics said to him “I’m going back to Chicago, at least there, they stab you in the front”.  This is obviously a comment about Washington politicians who stab you in the back.  And while Chicago politics is tough, at least they don’t blind side; they come at you fair and square from the front.

As I thought about this concept of “being stabbed in the front” I had a completely different interpretation when I applied it to my own life.  I recently reconnected with my very best friend in the world.  And he’s been in my life longer than anyone I know.  Although we were out of contact for a while, we have the kind of friendship that is unconditional and non-judgemental.  I didn’t like that we hadn’t spoken for so long, but it wasn’t because we were mad at each other.  I don’t think we’ve ever been mad at each other.  We’ve gone for somewhat long periods of time without contact but when we finally get in touch, it is as if we just spoke the day before.  No pretense, no judgement.  Just understanding and an honest love for one another that transcends time.  He’s the one person to whom I can always tell the truth.

So for me, the concept of being stabbed in the front means something different.  To me, it means that my best friend will tell me the truth no matter what.  And I am not hurt by it because it is not meant to hurt me.  True friends can be truly honest with each other, they know when to tease, and they know when to listen.  I believe that few people in the world have ever experienced a friendship like I have with my best friend.  I know I am not completely alone.  I know other good friendships are out there.  But they certainly are not as common as they should be.

Maybe it sounds strange to some to compare “getting stabbed in the front” to a great friendship.  But it makes sense to me.  From the front, there is no fear because you see it coming, you know it might hurt but you know the intent.  And the best thing is that when you are about to be stabbed from the front, you can step aside, just a little, and avoid the stab completely, and just give a hug.

To my best friend, thank you for all the years of laughter.  I hope we have many more.

I am the last Baby Boomer a.k.a “things I learned while blogging”

In looking back at the posts I have written over the past 2 years, the first thing that comes to mind is that I can’t believe it’s been 2 years.  When I look at the titles and subjects I see a lot of anger.  There have been a lot of people I’ve been mad at over the past 2 years.  I think that finally I’m at a place where either I’ve matured enough not to get angry, or I’m too tired to get angry.  I”m not sure which, yet.

All through the 2008 Presidential campaign I had a lot to say — mostly about right wing republicans with their head up their collective asses.  But I also wrote about family, pop culture, entertainment, baseball and just plain human interest stories.

The second thing I think about is how different my life is today from what it was when I started this blog.  I had just been fired from my job, and didn’t know why.  Finding a new job seemed impossible.  I’m not a writer by trade, as you can tell, but I do have other marketable skills; at least I thought I did.  After 18 long, no, very long months of confidence-crushing job searching with nothing to show for it, I had a lot of time to build up my anger and needed an outlet.  So I took to blogging.  I had way too much time on my hands.

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, still don’t.  I receive a lot of hateful comments from people who troll the internet looking for someone to hate.  I call these people “republicans”.  I receive a lot of  “hate” comments from people who  so afraid of liberal ideas, that they would do, and say, anything based in that fear, in order to squash progessivec ideas.  And I received a lot of “support posts” from people who seek  out opinions of others with whom they can agree.

I don’t believe for one minute that my writing, or anybody else’s writing,  can actually change a readers opinion.  Let’s face it.  It takes years for us, as human beings, to change; change out minds, change our tune, change our outlook, change our opinion, change our politics, etc.  Even if we want to change it doesn’t happen overnight.  So for those of us who don’t even want to change, or don’t think we need to change, reading blog opinion pieces will only inspire the co-conspirators, or anger the detractors.  There’s just not a lot of “re-thinking” going on.

I’ve done my share of reading both mainstream blogs, and personal blogs like mine.  I don’t find there to be much difference between the two.  It’s all just personal opinion, some with agendas, some with butterflies & unicorns.  None if it really matters.

Here are just a few of the things I learned in the last two years.  Some of it I learned about myself, some of it about others:

I hate people who say “at the end of the day”.  It is the most overused, and least meaningful expression in generations.  It is verbal filler, not unlike most of what today’s talkers have to say.  Whether it be a blog or a cable news pundit, it’s all just verbal filler.  What are all these political talk shows but blogs on TV.  It’s white noise that in a week, or a few days, you won’t remember.  And that’s the real problem.  None of it is memorable.

People who don’t like what you have to say will call you every name in the book.  They will write a degrading comment on your blog telling me to stop degrading people.  I don’t get it.  And they don’t understand “hypocrisy”.

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Maine gets Gay Marriage just right

When I listened to Governor John Baldacci of Maine give his speech following his signing of the of the Gay Marriage Bill  just a few short hours after receiving the bill, all I could think of was “He got it right”.

I watched and listened to what he said, not as a gay man,  but as a citizen of Maine, and the United States.  Even though I am gay I have not always agreed with the arguments FOR or AGAINST gay marriage. 

It wasn’t until I heard the Governor explain that the new law is about affording equal rights to all Maine citizens as outlined in Maine’s Constitution that it all made sense to me.  The Constitution’s first Article states “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Baldacci used this first and most important Article to first understand for himself that allowing Gay Marriage in Maine is not about granting the same rights to gay people that are affording to heterosexual people.  He said we are all equal and all deserve the same rights and when he looked at the issue from that perspective, he could not come up with any reasons not to allow Gay Marriage.

 He went on further to say that that no religion will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, or even recognize same-sex marriages within the realm of their own belief system because Maine has strict policies about the division of church and State.  And Maine whole-heartedly abides by the Church/State tenet.

These are ideas that I had never heard anyone express in this specific manner before; the idea that the State will allow gay civil marriages but it won’t force any church to recognize them.  So if, for example, the Catholic Church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage because it goes against their belief system, they don’t have to.  But the Catholic Church can’t tell a gay couple what civil rights they can or cannot have.  The same applies to any other religion.  On the flip side, a gay couple cannot force a religious organization to perform or recognize their marriage and cannot claim discrimination if that church will not recognize their marriage or perform their marriage ceremony.  Under these circumstances, anybody against same-sex marriage CAN hide behind their religion, and take comfort there.  But they can not deny rights to others.

I believe that this is as close as anybody is going to get to writing a law that makes sense when defining gay marriage.  It covers all the bases.  Nobody is forcing anyone to “believe” in anything and those who call themselves “believers” can’t squelch equality and civil rights by hiding behind their religion.  So, like the U.S. Constitution has done so many times, it was Maine’s constitution that acted as the final document to guide us through this divisive issue. 

Governor Baldacci was never comfortable with the gay marriage issue.  But, he found it in himself to understand that legislators, or politicians if you wish, need to take a stand and can not continually defer to public opinion.  All of the far lefties, and far righties have had more than enough time to express their viewpoints on this issue, and they have.  Neither is a shy group. 

The Governor said that he realizes this will not be the last word on the issue.  In my opinion, it should be, but it won’t be.  Instead of worrying about real problems, the whack jobs are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.  

The Maine Legislature and the Governor have laid down the gauntlet.  There are no “reasonable” arguments against this law as it was written.  First, anybody who protests this law must first say to themselves, and then the public, “I intend to take away the civil rights of others”.   Secondly, anybody who intends to use the Bible or their religion as an argument can stop right there.  The law clearly states that you don’t have to religiously recognize gay marriage or perform gay marriage if you don’t want to.  So what’s left?

Well, there’s the “I simply think it is wrong” argument.   Hmmm?  Are they also against heterosexual couples who get married and never intend to have children, or those who get married for convenience, or those who get married to obtain property, money, or social status (you know, the reason marriage was invented in the first place).  What one “thinks” or “believes” is wrong is immaterial.  Because under the Constitution of the State of Maine, all citizens have equal rights and included in that is their right to marry whom they choose as long as it is not breaking any other laws (like the minimum age for marriage or harm to animals). 

There is only one argument against Maine’s Gay Marriage law and it’s a faux-argument called “hate, fear, and ignorance” none of which are viable arguments against ANY law.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean some people in Maine won’t mind standing up and saying “I hate, I fear, and I am ignorant” to try and get their way.

How to survive the holidays

I haven’t written anything on this blog in ten days.  I haven’t really been focused on politics, current events, or pop culture.  While I no longer participate in exchanging gifts, I have been concentrating on the holidays.  They are an especially difficult time for me and each year I try to survive them the best I can.  Christmas is a very emotional time for many.  I believe it stems from looking at your Christmas tree late at night with just the tree lights on in a quiet room.  How can you not think about Christmas past.  Yes, there were good times, but bad memories are easier to conjure up in your mind.  There will always be the gift you didn’t get when you were a kid.  The one gift you wanted so desperately.  There will always be memories of what was going on in your life during a particular holiday season.  There will always be people missing from your life that were there during one Christmas, but are no longer. 

I would like to dedicate this posting to my friend Sarah.  In addition to her insight, she has been a kind ear to listen to my pinings.  She is a soft place to land as I feel the harshness of disappointment and lost love.  I must say that this Christmas is better than I remember Christmas being for a long time.  This year I have so much to be thankful for and luckily, didn’t forget it this year.

It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t tear free.  But I enjoyed the holidays this year because I felt more like myself, more inner peace, than I have in years.  I have talked with a few people who know me well and I talked to Sarah who doesn’t know me all that well.  Her interest in other people’s stories opened the door for me to tell my story  to her.

To me the Christmas season should be about giving thanks, just as much as Thanksgiving is.  I am hopeful that since sales were down this year, some people have learned that you can celebrate and be happy at Christmas time with less “stuff”.  They may have sweated and toiled over what to buy and how to buy with less money, but in the end maybe they realized that Chirstmas spirit has nothing to do with “stuff”.  It has to do with the people you love, being there for them, and them for you.

So next year, maybe the world will spend even less, regardless of the economic conditions.  You can’t put a price on kindness.  I’d also like to thank my family for welcoming me back into the fold this year.  The last 2 years have been very diffucult times and I wasn’t the same person during that time.  Many didin’t recognize me at all.  But luckily family always foregives, if it works out right, and this year it did.

Thanks again, Sarah, my jewish friend who helped this gentile make it through a difficult time.  My Christmas wish to everyone is that they have someone to share their successes and failures, their pain and joy; a soft place to land, all without judgement from anybody. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Proof that the Bush family really is white trash

It’s not like we didn’t suspect it.  Hell, it’s not like we didn’t KNOW it.

But when you marry off your first daughter and the local townsfolk are clamoring for, and in fact have bought out completely, all of the coffee mugs and mouse pads with the endearing image of Jenna and Henry, the happy couple, you know you are in white trash heaven.

Wait, did I write that correctly?  Did I just say that the bride and groom had their picture plastered on COFFEE MUGS and MOUSE PADS for the public to scarf up?  Yes, I did, I got that right.  OK, I just wanted to be sure.

If you go to the Jenna and Henry wedding web site you can find exclusive information on how to recreate the pageantry of the Bush family wedding at your own home.  It really is much more affordable then we ever thought.

All you need is some frozen pigs in a blanket, canned Hormel chili, an ambrosia salad, some Colt 45 malt liquor and you are good to go.  The happy couple will be honeymooning at Dollywood and plan to settle in a trailer park (double wide I hear) in suburban Virginia.  They are registered at Wal-Mart for those of you who feel the need to buy Jenna and Henry some newlywed necessities like plastic straws and those fancy extra large party napkins.  I’m going to recommend condoms as well because….well… know……we don’t really want this family to procreate much more, do we?

A long ride alone

It’s not often that we get the chance to be completely alone with our thoughts.  I was lucky today, I had no plans to see anyone or to go anywhere.  I didn’t have to do anything and had no responsibilities.

I decided to go for a drive.  It sounds dumb but I needed a halogen light bulb for this lamp that I have.  It has been working my nerves because I have been looking for the correct bulb and have stopped at about 100 places and nobody ever has it.  So I wasn’t in a very good mood at the thought of going on another quest for this damned bulb.  But I did it; and I’m glad I did.

There is a very long stretch of road between my house and the shopping center where I was headed.  It is unusual that this road, being a state highway, was pretty empty.  Since there is only one traffic light and it is right about dead center of a 15 mile stretch, you get a lot of time to just cruise in the car.  The speed limit is 55 so you can go about 60, turn the radio up, put the heated seat on, lean back and just think.  I was singing at times but not really paying attention to the music; it was more out of habit.

I thought about my life, my health, being unemployed.  I thought about family and friends.  I thought about what I should be writing about on my blog.  I thought about politics; Hillary, Barack, I really like him and imagined what it would be like to find out on election night that he had won.  What changes would that bring?  What hope would that bring?  Would I finally feel proud again to be an American.

I guess I already am proud just knowing that change is coming and all Americans seem ready for it.  I thought about the troops and how proud I am of them and their families.  I thought about how difficult it must be for the men and women in uniform and  I thought about how they don’t get the chance to drive down a country road listening to whatever music they want, pondering life and the world around them, lost in their own thoughts.

I try to be thankful for something every day.  It’s easy when times are good but damn is it difficult when it seems like the world is closing in around you.  So today, I am thankful for the long ride alone, in my car.  I don’t think many people get the opportunity like I did today, to just be alone with your thoughts and think about how you fit into the world around you.  It is a cathartic experience and my wish is that everybody gets a chance to stop….and think….and take a deep breath.  Take your long ride alone, it will all be OK.

Thanks for stopping by

Let is snow, let is snow, oh crap, it’s snowing again.

Blogging is really about sharing your personal opinion.  Let’s face it, not all blogs are good.  And of those that are good they are not good all the time.  You need to be persistent and original.  So I decided to just write about what I’m thinking about today.

It snowed again.  In Maine this year it has snowed in December about every other day. 

When I was growing up as a kid I loved the snow, mostly because there was no school.  As I got older I grew a bit more romantic about it.  Some of my favorite memories are when I was in a great relationship with a new guy, and for some reason it was usually in the winter.  There is something fantastically romantic about snow and love.  Sitting by a fire, sipping on cognac or champagne, just enjoying each other, saying so little yet sharing so much.

For all of those years I was in Connecticut.  From about the time I started driving I was lucky enough to have a garage.  Even when I moved out of my parents house and started renting, with few exceptions I always had a garage.  So I never cared about how much it snowed.  I didn’t have to clean off my car unless it happened to snow for a bit while I was out and about.

Now, I live in Maine.  I moved here 7 years ago and I think I have chipped the ice off my car and cleared untold inches of snow off of my car about 600 times, by my calculations, and frankly I’m getting sick of it.  I live in an apartment building now, and there is nothing like getting woken up on a Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. by the plow guy to come and move your car (or rather dig it out of a huge snow pile) so he can finish plowing the driveway.  All you want to do is roll over and catch a few more Z’s.

So in conclusion, until I move to some new great place where I have a garage at my disposal, I officially don’t like the snow.  And if I do move to a place with a garage, I’m going to damn well make sure I have a fireplace, too.  Maybe that will help my love life.

Luckily I have my High Definiton TV with an antenna so I don’t have to pay my cable company. You can find out more at my other blog here:

Do you have a story to tell?

This blog has always been about me and my opinions. I don’t claim to be the best writer but I would like to help those who have a story, a commentary on  life or society, that they want to tell but could use some help in writing it.  This is a fledgling idea and I will probably start a new blog expressly for this purpose, if I get enough inquiries from people who’d like some help writing their story.

Please let me know.  Just submit a comment to this article with your information and I’ll get in touch with you.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Christmas Eve 2007

I hope I can look back on this post in a month, or at most a year, and be thankful that as bad as things were, things change and I can persevere.

These are the darkest days of my life.  Since I started working part time at age 16 and then started my career mostly in office settings after that, I have never gone a week without a paycheck, without an income.  As a single man with no children who rents an apartments, I tried to add up all of the money I have paid in taxes, with no write-offs, over the years.  It became overwhelmingly impossible to calculate.  But I know it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Due to circumstances this year I lost my job, collected unemployment until that ran out and now have no income.  I had to apply for general assistance from the town to help me with rent, I got food stamps, and because I have no health care, I have now applied for help with that as well.  I never expected a hand out in my whole life, but, well, there it is.  You do what you have to do to survive.  What happened to all the money I paid into the system and why isn’t it available to me now that I really need it.

Surviving.  That is all I am doing right now.  I am not living.  Christmas Eve is here and that usually brings me some sense of inner peace on a spiritual level.  I don’t care about presents.  I don’t give or receive them.  I just don’t believe in that.  Christmas, to me, is a celebration of life, and the birth of a Messiah for the Christians.  To me, if you don’t celebrate that, you have no business celebrating Christmas.  The holiday has lost so much meaning.  And today, I am too empty to accept into my heart, the spirit that Christmas usually brings to me.  I am sad and empty and I don’t feel strong enough to be around people, even the ones whom I know love me, and fake being cheerful.  I wear my heart of my sleeve, that’s just me.  So I don’t want to be around people.  They deserve to enjoy their Christmas spirit with their friends and family without someone like me around to bring them down.  My family does do presents, but luckily they don’t put too much emphasis on it anymore.  That brings me some sense of accomplishment because I have had this conversation from time to time with some of them.  And I hope that I have contributed to them re-thinking Christmas; all the presents, all the excessive amount of presents and the excessive dollars spent on them.  I hope they have started to understand that Christmas is about so much more than that.

So my Christmas wish this year is so simple.  I wish to survive it.  I know that by Wednesday, December 26, 2007, none of it will matter anymore.  Most people won’t remember what they got for gifts, or who gave it to them and in many cases the Christmas tree will be down before the day is out.  Then it’s on to New Years Eve and for me the reminder that I am alone, still, and again.

This is a maudlin, melodramatic post but I need to get my feelings out and writing seems to be the only way I can do that.  I know there are those that will understand how I feel and some will not understand what I have to say.  For those who understand, please know that you are not alone in how you feel and maybe in some way that unites us.  For those who disagree, I am truly happy that you are happy and can enjoy your Christmas times with those that you love.  I hope you feel a sense of peace and love around you.  I, too, hope to feel that way again.