Come On, Just Lick It

I’m seven years old and this kid from the neighborhood is telling me to blow him.  He’s older than me.  He’s saying all the girls in his seventh grade class love to suck his ding dong.  He says one girl claims it’s the most super awesome penis she’s ever seen.  He says the girl’s gobbled everyone, so she knows what she’s talking about. 

We’re in the woods behind my house.  There’s no one around for about a mile.  The boy brought me here to show me where he camps.  He’s got a little metal pot and a can of beans.  Now he’s unzipping himself and fishing out his wiener.   I haven’t seen many, but I’m pretty sure no one calls this “super awesome.”  It’s purple and veiny, like when you wrap dental floss around your finger and it cuts off the circulation.  It looks like it’s going to fall off. 

“Just lick it,” he says.

“No,” I say.

“Come on, just tell me what you think.  Just–”

“Get away from me!”

“Stop being a baby and just lick it.”

“I’m not licking anything!”

I back up and he’s shuffling towards me.  He’s still choking his wiener with his fist.  His pants are falling down.  They’re around his knees.  I turn, take off running.  I hear him screaming.  Then I hear a thud.  I’m pretty sure he tripped, but I don’t look back.  I just keeping running and crunching over the dead leaves until I make it to my house.  My dad is out front cutting the grass.  He sees me crying and asks what happened.  I tell him about the boy, how he wanted me to put his ding dong in his mouth.

The boy is now across the street.  He’s out of breath.  His pants are back on.  My father charges over and grabs him by the throat.  I think he’s going to kill the kid, and I realize it’s my fault.  My father’s going to murder a child and he’s going to go to jail and I’m going to be an orphan.

I run over, beg him to stop.

My father pulls the boy up to his face.  My father says, “You don’t ever come around here again.  I mean ever.  You hear me?”

The boy nods.  His face is almost as purple as his pecker was.  My father lets him go.  The boy tears off down the street. 

I see him a few more times that summer, but he always heads in the other direction.

PRESENT

When friends find out my wife and I have threesomes with girls, a lot of them ask if that means I have to do stuff with guys.  It doesn’t.  My wife is the one into girls.  It’s not the other way around.  If we brought a dude into the bed, I’d just be sitting there hanging out.

My friend asked, “Would you ever do anything, you know, if that’s what your wife really wanted?  Like that’s what she needed to see?”

“I don’t know…”

“You would.”

I said I guess, but I’d need to be positive that’s what she really wanted.  It couldn’t be a prank.  Like “Ha ha, you blew a dude!”

But if that’s what she really wanted, sure.  I wouldn’t be excited, but I wouldn’t be freaked out either.  I’d probably suck a dick the way I’d eat a Subway sandwich.  Meaning I’d do it, but I’m not gonna brag about it to everyone.  Like “Holy shit, people!  I just ate a motherfucking Cold Cut Combo!”

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Bipolar II: Electric Boogaloo

I struggled when my mom came out of the closet.  It had nothing to do with her being gay; it was the fact she’d been keeping this secret.  She’d been married to my dad for 25 years, and she was still married to him when she told me the truth.  I started to wonder if I knew this woman at all.  What else was she hiding?

What if she’s a terrorist?

I saw deception everywhere. I was back in L.A. having what I’d later learn was my first hypomanic episode.  It was like free cocaine, without the nosebleeds.  I wrote nonstop, about my mom, my family.  I’d never kept a diary, and this wasn’t really a diary, more like the pages you’d find at a serial killer’s apartment.  Notebooks stacked into teetering towers, piles of napkins covered with my asexual chicken-scratch handwriting.

I stopped sleeping.

I saw connections in everything.

Sycronicity.  Fate.  Predestination.

I became obsessed with conspiracy theories, everything from the ancient Sumerians to JFK.  I was like a manic Mulder, searching for the Truth, attempting to peel back the curtain of lies disseminated by the government, both shadow and real.  I spent days in bookstores pouring over everything from Pearl Harbor to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I scoured illiterate websites and rented documentaries on Waco and the Gnostics.  I read Holy Blood; Holy Grail and began questioning my years of Jesuit education.

Then I wrote a novel in three weeks.  It was about two teenagers working at Blockbuster who decide to start a cult, and one of the guys learns he’s a direct descendent of Jesus.  It was one of the worst books ever written, but I had to keep typing.  I wrote crackpot philosophical manifestos about how people need to pick the exact date they are going to die, then believe in that date wholeheartedly.  “Only with a deadline does anything happen.”  I wrote treaties on threesomes, how it’s not really cheating when your partner is in the bed.

I badgered my girlfriend at the time to make out with other girls.  We’d bring them back to my place and I’d watch them strip and finger each other.

I became consumed by the idea of being with two girls.

I didn’t know it was hypomania at the time. I thought I was just really awake.

It would take me another seven years to find out I’m manic-depressive, more specifically, bipolar II.  When the psychiatrist read me the criteria, I started crying.  I wasn’t upset.  I just wanted to give him a hug.  For the first time, I had an answer to what was going on in my head.  It explained why I could go days without sleeping and write until my fingers bled.  It also explained the thoughts of suicide.

A lot of people more talented than I’ll ever be have written about their depression, so I’m not going to offer anything groundbreaking here.  All I can say is that when you’re living in that awful space, you’re not just sad.  You’re ashamed.  You make up excuses why you can’t meet for lunch.  You don’t leave the house, afraid if anyone saw the real you they’d puke.  It’s that shame that keeps you in the darkness.  You lock the door and stay under the blankets.  Later, you tell people you had the flu.  You bury your secrets.  You pray no one will ever find out, because you don’t want to be judged or hated.  You do that enough to yourself.

My mom knew that feeling all too well.  She didn’t want to break up the family or hurt her children.  She didn’t want to be despised or hear the bigots.  She wanted to keep her friends and her life and the home she’d built.  There were moments she probably wished she were straight.   Wouldn’t life be easier?

But eventually, it became too painful to keep pretending.  It was too much work.  So she gathered the courage and told me the truth.  She knew our relationship might be damaged, but she took the chance and trusted me.  It wasn’t easy for me at first, but over time, I realized nothing about her had really changed.  She was still the same caring, supportive, hilarious, inappropriate woman I’ve always known. She was still my mom.

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