Friday, May 15, 2009

This, That, and The Other Thing


If you're not going to wash your hands after using the rest room, do me a favor and just rub your balls on the door handle on your way out. Stop screwing around and just do it up right.


Several weeks ago I was listening to the best radio show ever created (This American Life) and there was a piece by Dan Savage. Dan is a sex columnist, author, and he puts out a weekly podcast that I just recently started listening to. I downloaded one episode of the podcast, then after listening to it, went back and downloaded all 90(ish) available shows, and have been listening to very little other than that. As a result, my brain is a wee bit oversexed but I'm laughing and learning, so there's that.

The show is basically a series of voice mail messages left for Dan that he responds to "on the air". Sometimes he'll call the caller back, and other times he'll just rant by way of response. The show is funny, sad, disgusting, and ultimately enlightening. While it obviously focuses on sex, the most interesting thing the show reveals are the secret lives we're all working so hard to hide from each other. Callers are anonymous, and with that freedom comes an honesty that we almost never see in the "real world". From the young Mormon man who is struggling with coming out to his family who will most likely disown him, to minions of people calling to try to learn the origins of their particular kink or fetish, the level of honesty is shocking. And when the callers fall short of total candor or are unable to be honest with themselves, Dan is there to drag them kicking and screaming into the light.

Yesterday, I listened to Episode 53 where a 61 year old retired man called in because he felt guilty for using escort services to satisfy certain needs. It wasn't because he was ashamed of paying for sex, or because of the lack of a partner in his life. The man felt guilty for putting what he described as "extremely gorgeous looking guys" into a situation where they had to have intimate contact with him because he is extremely unattractive. He felt bad for putting people in a situation where they would have to touch him.

I'm just left thinking that so many of us are working so hard to keep our secrets, that we're missing out on a greater truth: None of us are that different from one another. When we hide what we are, our secret lives build pressure that eventually has to escape. Our judgments, our inability to laugh at ourselves, and our fears of being weird keep us from being who we are. I wish "real life" was more like The Savage Love Podcast. I think we'd all be better off.

The Other Thing

This past winter, we put up a bird feeder. Sure, it was a bad time of year to put it up, but we figured finding good eats would be tough for a bird, and we'd try to help a brotha out. We had three birds show up (that we actually saw) in a three month period. We talked to birds we saw nearby, and told them that they could take as much food as they want at Merryman Manor, but they never did.

Spring came, and while they did show up more often, it was still sporadic at best. Then, about two weeks ago, the tide turned. Our postage stamp sized front yard has become a buffet of the highest order, and Jen and I are addicted. We sit out on the porch, watch the birds in-between paragraphs of our books and sips of coffee, and we joke to each other about being the type of old married couple that sits around and watch birds.

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