Friday, September 18, 2009


(Continued from LIFE AND DEATH)

My good friend Kate, whose affluent and sheltered life in Austin, Texas degenerated into a Gothic novel of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll debauchery, is surprisingly proud of her DAR roots. At first, when she alluded to the DAR, I thought it was some kind of acronym for drug rehab or sexual addiction as at the time we were stumbling down Hollywood Boulevard, having been evicted from a dive bar for our 'innocent' accosting of some fat tourists whose ghastly December-in-Los Angeles wardrobe choice of fanny packs, 'Daisy Duke' short shorts, and day glo knitted tube tops offended our 'we're-in-the-entertainment-industry-therefore-better-than-you sensibilities.'

Kate, staggeringly drunk on organic cranberry & cucumber, anti-oxidant martinis, (only in LA) slurred in my ear that the DAR stood for DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION and drunkenly elaborated that her racially 'pure' bloodline of Anglo-Saxon, land-grabbing, Native American-murdering, alcoholic, oil industry executive ancestors could be traced back to their arrival aboard the good ship WILLIAM AND MARY during the formative days of this country's bloody break with England. Having proudly shared her family's lily-white, blue-blood origins, Kate suddenly lurched forward, turned a pale shade of green, and projectile vomited all over Ronald Raegan's star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Like any good girlfriend, I held Kate's hair as she purged herself on our 40th President, her DAR ancestors no doubt spinning in their graves due to her blatant disrespect for Raegan, who certainly shares a condo with them in that special place in Hell reserved for thieves, rapists, axe murderers, and actor-turned-politicians. As we continued to trudge down Hollywood Boulevard, Kate leaning into me, her head perched semi-consciously on my shoulder, I begin to reflect on my own family tree - or in my case, family shrub.

According to my mother, my ancient ancestors were the lowest-of-the-low thirteen tribes, shit-kicker Jews who dug ditches, disposed of animal carcases and probably cleaned Egyptian latrines with their tooth brushes. As the centuries slowly passed, my ancestor's fortunes did not improve. Housed in dense urban ghettos or far-flung Russian 'Shtetls' (towns) my relatives piously prayed to God to improve their fortunes - only to see themselves the victims of discrimination, pogroms and eventual annihilation. Disillusioned by the God that had seemingly forsaken them, my relatives, including my great grandfather, emigrated to the United States in the latter part of the 19th century seriously pissed-off. Eager to shed his Judeo-Russian roots, and acclimate his immigrant family as quickly as possible in this strange, new land my great grandfather, a tailor, joined the garment union and imprudently became a founding member of THE COMMUNIST PARTY. That's right sports fans - unlike Kate's revolutionary ancestors who shit stars and stripes, my ancestors were not only lowlife Jews, but were 'commies' to boot!

As we drove through the verdant corn fields of Iowa, my son Ethan uncharacteristically asleep in his car seat, surrounded by George's suspiciously polite Midwest relatives, my thoughts drifted to Kate's revolutionary ancestors and my BETTER DEAD THAN RED great grandfather. What would they have made of a gay, Jewish man arriving in the nation's heartland, his grieving male lover, rent-a-womb baby, and ostentatious Louis Vuitton luggage in tow? All of these revolutionaries - Kate's DAR ancestors and even my idealistic, misguided great grandfather fought and died for their beliefs despite impossible odds and inconceivable struggle. What, if any beliefs did I have, and what sacrifices was I willing to make for those beliefs?

Having deposited our luggage at the horrifying MOTEL 8 that to my astonishment lacked the most basic of hotel 'necessities' such as a pool, 600 thread count sheets, or a decent mini bar, George, Ethan and I were whisked over to the funeral home for the formal 'viewing' of George's dead grandmother. As my husband George, our son Ethan and I entered the funeral home, I could see the assembled friends and relatives glance our way and secretively whisper to one another. The room suddenly fell silent as George and I approached the casket. George glanced down at his dead grandmother and tenderly kissed the top of her head as a single tear slid slowly down his ruddy face. As I stood there holding OUR son, George's aunt, a small, round beetle of a woman approached me and hissed into my ear how nice it was that George could attend his grandmother's funeral despite his wife's absence, and how considerate of me as his 'business partner' to bring their baby.

As I watched her scurry away, I remained silent out of respect for George's grandmother. Outside on the steps of the funeral home, feeding Ethan his bottle, I began to seethe. In my fury, my revolutionary mission and plan of action suddenly became crystal clear. I thought of the great American patriot Samuel Adams who once wrote, "It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

I held Ethan tightly to my chest as I glanced out over the graceful, undulating fields of Iowa corn, a matchbook from THE MOTEL 8 crushed in my palm.

(To Be Continued)

1 comment:

  1. OMG, I'm reading these backwards, which is quite an experience. I cannot believe such people exist. I mean, for the sake of entertaining prose I'm glad they do, but my God, how unbelievable.