At the End of the Day

I can see the skeleton of the life I am trying to build for myself. It’s tiring, because every time I think I have one part hammered out, it slips away. I’ve recently started looking for an apartment again, and what drives me up the wall is that there is no number I can call and say, “Hey, I’ve been kicked out of two apartments and moved close to a dozen times in the last year and a half. Why doesn’t somebody just give me a place?” I can’t live without a roof over my head, so I have no choice but to reenter the housing market. It would be a lot easier if I sensed that anybody gave a shit. But really, people don’t care how long I’ve looked for an apartment, how cruelly I’ve been denied a stable situation up until now. I have poured out my soul to prospective roommates and all but begged them to give me the place, and their response is usually a nod followed by, “Thanks for coming in.”

I find that my life is like that in more ways than one. I’m most of the way through a two-week vacation from school right now, and the first thing I did after getting home (right after catching up with the world and seeing The Dark Knight Rises, of course) was to text my friends and let them know I was back in the area. Two of them (a brother and a sister) didn’t respond. After texting them several more times, I learned that they were still in Europe on a very long vacation. I know for a fact that they knew I was coming back. How irresponsible is it that they didn’t bother to tell me they’d be gone? Isn’t it just common courtesy to change one’s voicemail so that people know you’re out of the country for a prolonged period of time, or something? That kind of behavior is not just typical for my friends, but quite common in this day and age. People click “Attending” on Facebook invites for events they have no intention of attending just because they want to be polite. That’s shitty. It always stings more when someone tells you they’ll come and doesn’t show up. It happens all the time. Some of the people who do it genuinely do care about me, but they still haven’t gotten it through their heads that when I contact someone, I expect a prompt response. I’m not interested in anyone’s excuses.

I thought of this while watching, of all things, the recent debate between Dan Savage, sex columnist/redefiner of “Santorum”/It Gets Better co-founder/all-around pillar of awesome, and Brian Brown, the current head of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). If you’ve got an hour, watch it. It’s very informative, and also kind of scary.

Savage has said that he considers this debate to be a failure on his part. He invited Brown into his home in the hopes that Brown, upon seeing what a normal life Savage has with his husband and son, would at least soften his anti-gay marriage stance. Brown did nothing of the sort, at one point becoming so incensed that he literally started foaming at the mouth. He’s never more frightening than when he stops debating and starts joking around. I’m not entirely sure that he was kidding when, late in the debate, he suggested taking Dan out back and giving him a beating.

If Dan’s goal was to convert Brian Brown, then he has unequivocally failed. People like Brown and Maggie Gallagher (the former head of NOM) operate on a closed loop. They have a narrow perception of how the world is supposed to work, and when reality begins to deviate from that, they devote all of their energies to restoring what they perceive as order. Brown and Gallagher have said that there is nothing that could convince them that gay marriage is anything other than a threat to human civilization. Again and again, they hammer away at one simple point: “Marriage is between a man and a woman.” Nothing else matters. They are human beings, but the part of them that needs to control other people’s lives is overtaking the part that treats other people with respect. The country is slowly leaning towards equality and mutual love and tolerance. These people are being eaten alive by ignorance.

I’m finally catching up on the Olympics. It’s entertaining stuff, although I just like watching people suddenly start to give a shit about sports like fencing and diving right before returning to football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. There was a scandal a couple weeks ago in which it was revealed that Olympians–brace yourself–have to pay income taxes just like the rest of us. This shocking secret was brought to light by, of all people, Grover Norquist, which as far as I’m concerned, is reason enough to discount its significance. President Obama said he supports giving a tax exemption to the athletes. Why? Is the money they receive and the gratitude of a fawning nation not enough? If we really want to honor Olympic athletes, why don’t we continue to care about them after the ceremonies are over? The highest-paid gymnast makes, at best, a tiny fraction of what the most successful NBA or MLB player makes. I’m not sure why. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think basketball or baseball are necessarily more entertaining. Maybe it’s just more fun to take off your shirt and paint your chest before going to a football game than, say, a wrestling competition. Then again, maybe not. I think wrestling is very hot–I mean, I think it’s a great spectator sport.

Professional sports are still, sadly, as much about proving one’s masculinity as actual achievement. Women are making strides, but they have a long way to go. There is not a single out gay athlete in any of the four major team sports in America. Some have come out after retiring, but any who come out while still playing will forever be known as “the gay one”. It’s annoying. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is something about a guy who doesn’t conform to stereotypes that forces people to confront their prejudices. Paradoxically, I think a few out gay players might make professional (or even college) football a little bit less gay. It might at least put a stop to all of the jokes about repressed homosexuality.

I see two worlds: the one that I want to live in, and the one that I actually live in. There must be a point of contact between the two. Without it, there’s no reason to go on. The nice thing about hope is that you only need one grain.


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