This & That

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Charles applied for Medicaid today. I have to congratulate them on their dispatch. He was approved and his Medicaid card should arrive in a week or two. Most of his meds are already cheap but this will make them even cheaper and the anti-migraine pills cost will drop from $30 to $1 a bottle. Heíll be getting Food Stamps as well. Only $30 but that is better than nothing. Hard to believe they donít give at least $100. His teeth are in even worse shape than mine and heíll finally be able to have them fixed. Wonít fix our money problems but any amelioration is welcome.

Homoerotic Art
I have to thank devon for pointing me to Xodus. Not to my taste but at least they are playful drawings. I Googled a bit for other gay greeting card sites. Aside from one with multicultural but inept illustrations I found only photos of hunks. There was a gallery of technically competent but unimaginative paintings. More modern hunks, not a whit of wit. The search is likely more fun than the goal.

Southern Man Better Keep Your Head
I rarely regret that I dash my entries off without holding them back. But my recent few about growing up in Savannah are an exception. I canít resist adding the kitchen sink.

When I was living in a residential hotel in San Franciscoís tenderloin my Georgia origin was briefly held against me. One evening in the lobby a man groped me. The manager walked in a few minutes later so I bitched to him. I canít help but hang my head for snitching but I do not like to be touched by strangers.

Shaking hands is a skill I managed to will myself to acquire only in my 30s. Well, yes, I knew how to do it earlier. Back in the Bible Baptist the congregation was commanded to shake the hands of folks in nearby pews. It was easier to reach and grab than have to hear what my father would say if Iíd left my hands in my pocket. In much later years I managed to make it a gesture of . . . Ė I started to say respect but I guess it is glad to see you have seen you. (A step well below the happy to see you again, happy that you are alive of a hug.)

Dragging myself back to my topic.

The man who groped me was tall, strong and black. A few people in the hotel said that complained only because he was black. Because I was from Georgia. We all flounder helplessly at fall attributions but that hit me more deeply than most. Like most trivial brouhahas it was quickly forgotten. But my memory never will.

Everybody who was born down here know that many elsewhere regard the us as a category of American, more vicious and ignorant, really more racist than a Pittsburgh steelworker or a New York longshoreman. When the worst integration riots in the US hit Boston, a state that has prided itself on its liberality and urbanity for much of the countries history I couldnít help but sardonically smile to myself. Iíd rather have not seen it happen anywhere but if the ugliness had to surface anywhere it might as well be Ďupí there. It was the same when I read there were more Klansmen in Connecticut than in Georgia.

As I wrote earlier, I donít identify as a Southerner. The revival of satisfaction in having been born down here is sometimes distasteful, other times baffling. Distasteful because you know much of it is an attempt to hide from what the weak-minded find confusing in the present world. Some likely suffer from the almost inevitable identification with the happenstance of birth and fib to themselves. Sometimes they like to claim that Southerners understood black Americans better. There was greater contiguity perhaps, probably nothing more. Or the silly old canard that the antebellum elite were more cultured than their Yankee opposite numbers. The North produced most of the literati and intellectuals.

The wholly liberal Southerners that feel compelled to defend their homeland are the ones that baffle me. It might merely be that they know that they arenít racist, their friends arenít racist. They resent being reduced to a category. I guess my own sardonic smile is an instance of that even though laughing at the redneck ignorami is always a treat.

Steve Buscemi
I didnít notice him in Reservoir Dogs but Iíve never cared much for Tarrantinoís movies. In Ghost World he certainly got my attention. Tonight I saw him as a gay man dying of AIDS in Parting Glances. I think heís someone that Iíd rent a movie to watch.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about This & That.
Thanks,
Richard

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