I went to Rehoboth Beach this week to visit my friend, Michael, and his gaggle of Boston Terriers: Phoebe, Gus (affectionately called “Gas” for obvious reasons) and the new pup, Mirabelle.

I’d like to say the trip to the beach was for relaxing, but I was there to meet with Michael because we are collaborating on a children’s book together. He taught kindergarten for many years, and is an artist. He’s done some incredible pieces featuring his star pup, Mirabelle, who has become a posterchild for his shop, Detail.

“There’s just something about this dog,” Michael told me on a few occasions*, sharing stories of how people have taken to an ad campaign featuring Mira that has brought new customers into his shop. (*I just used the C.C. Deville thing, awesome!)

But I’m a hard nut to crack, I demand more from my pups than just overt cuteness, which she had in spades. If I were going to enter into a professional working relationship with this dog, I’d need to see “it”... did Mirabelle have the it factor that has launched the stars of High School The Musical to world-wide fame?

As I was assessing the dog, watching its every move, I took a stroll from Detail down to main area by the ocean. Cars were pushing in and out of town on the main road, and during a relatively isolated stretch, I heard someone yell out of one of the cars as the passed me, “FAGGOT!”

It’s too bad I didn’t get to see the car, or the person who yelled it, but the voice was definitely that of an 18-23 year old caucasian male. He was probably shirtless, and driving with a shirtless friend who he was trying to impress with his bravado and tan.

I just thought, “Seriously? This would only happen to me at Rehoboth Beach.”

I didn’t turn around to look at the car, because the last time I taunted someone who yelled from a car was the last time I got my ass kicked. (Detailed in My Pet Virus, age 15.)

Now, I’m torn between thinking our nation has become more or less homophobic. A lot of people are throwing around “gay” and “faggot”, somehow the latter word has been accepted into the general lingo, a perfect way to pay homage to the Bush Administration in my eyes. I admit, I use “gay” from time to time.

But I think of “faggot” the same way I think of “nigger”, the difference being that a sane person can scan a room before dropping the latter to see if it’s worth the risk. The prior, most people assume they can tell someone is gay by looking at them. So they feel safe putting it out there, and don’t really have the fear of their own mortality that comes with dropping the n-bomb in public.

I bet the guy in the car figured he had me pegged, and felt pretty safe whizzing by me in the car, not that I cut a particularly intimidating figure.

So I’m suggesting a cure for this: if you’re gay and able-bodied, and you hear the word you should immediately punch the person in the mouth. I say mouth, because it’s important to draw blood. If this became the societal norm, people might think twice about throwing the word around. It’s also important to add a line, “Hey, I’m gay. And I just kicked your ass, breeder.”

Of course, violence isn’t the best option. That guy might lose his shit or something, and hurt you or someone else whom he perceives to be gay and less of a physical threat. (Me.)

But I think some of the closet cases who throw the word around may be inspired by such a macho move. They may see that the gay stereotype they hold so dearly crumble down as the blood trickles from their lip. Perhaps then, they would feel more comfortable to expedite their own personal journey toward self-acceptance?

After lunch, I returned to Detail and hung out with Michael and Mirabelle. She is cute, but she had the nasty habit of waking me up in the morning by trampling my genitals. I was on a fold-out sofa, which was quite comforable. Since Michael went to be well before I did, I used his Showtime On Demand and got hooked on Dexter, a great new show featuring Michael C. Hall, who played David from Six Feet Under. I’d go to sleep watching this dramatic new series, and then wake to some drama of my own...

I could hear the little pup waking up in the next room, the floor creaking as Michael got up... I knew what was coming... wait for it... wait for it... a door opens, a sink runs. The lapping of water from a bowl on the floor, which I assumed to be a Boston Terrier and not Michael... then I’d hear the tempo of the little feet, picking up a head of steam... my first instinct is to always to protect my face and especially my nose, which left my genitals there for the tramplin’.

For all it’s rainbows flags and quaint beach-front charms, Rehoboth, I discovered, can be a very violent place.

Later that night, sitting on a bench outside a restaurant, a lady came up and asked me. “Are you famous?” I saw Michael smiling beside me, he had that grin that said, “Make no mistake: I will out you.”

So I stumbled, and said, “Well, I recently wrote a book that is available in that bookstore on the corner.” (Hint hint, go buy it.)

“Oh, that’s exciting! Would you sign something for me?”

She pulled out a Rehoboth Beach tourist manual, and I signed my name and added, “Author of My Pet Virus”. If Kathy Griffin is on the D-List, I’m somewhere at the bottom of a list that goes through the entire alphabet.

But alas, returning home to Charlottesville, my stomping grounds, would surely fix that. Then to my horror, I picked up the C-Ville Best of Issue: Best Local Author: John Grisham Runner-Up: Rita Dove. I was devastated.

All the jockeying for position with Grisham, and I couldn’t even beat Rita Dove. In my heart, I conceded a momentary victory to Grisham, who never answered my rap-inspired challenge to a public read-off. Had I made runner-up, I could have used that to call him out again.

I folded up the paper, dusted myself off, gave my false indignation a rest and comforted myself by knowing that at least I look like someone who might be famous. For something. Or, at the very least, I look gay. Which I take as extremely flattering comment.

Positively Yours,

Check out Shawn’s new CD featuring the Tori Amos cover, “Raspberry Swirl”, and
original 80’s-inspired New Wave/Electronic music... get with the programs!

Orko from He-Man discussing the gay thing. It’s near the end of the vid. Enjoy!