Thursday, April 07, 2011

In second grade we watched a film strip about Europe. In the middle of the strip, while the lights were off, I raised my hand and announced to everyone that I had been to Europe on a family vacation. Mrs. Rocco said "How wonderful!" and asked if I would bring in some pictures, but I told her that my family had forgotten the camera. A couple weeks later, when my friend Aaron's dad came by to pick him up after a sleepover, he asked my mother and I, standing in the doorway about our European vacation. I muttered something and wandered away. I was never asked about it again.

Seven years old, at the Platteville Invitational Swim Meet huddled under blankets with a bunch of other kids, mostly older, I announced that I was gay and had AIDS. 1985. I did not know what either word meant. Encouraged by the attention, later I announced that when a dog pissed, I would stick my hand in the hot stream of urine, and when a dog shit, I would smear the shit with my fingers. Because I went to school in Madison, they had no way of knowing if any of it was true, no context. But in retrospect, maybe they were just amazed somebody would claim such things.

Later that summer, in love with the game Discs of Tron, one afternoon I walked up to the little arcade on main street and quickly lost two or three games. The adults there asked me where my dad was, and when I got back he asked me where I got the quarters. I found them under the couch looking for a lost library book, I said, though I actually got them from the bathroom, quarters falling out of my dad's pants as they always were. I don't know how he knew, but he didn't believe me. I wasn't allowed to ride with him on his motorcycle until I told the truth.