Monthly Archives: June 2004

June 29, 2004

After I graduated from college, I hung around for a couple years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life before I came to an inevitable bad end; while I did this, I served as a resident advisor in a freshman dorm. This mainly involved listening to my students cry and organizing parties. This was most easily done by coordinating with the holidays: a Hallowe’en party in October, a Thanksgiving party in November. Come December, many of the RA groups arranged Secret Santa parties.

This is, for those of you raised by wolves, how Secret Santa works: members of a group gather and all write their names on pieces of paper, which they then put into a hat or bowl or similarly concave container. Everybody picks a name and, for X number of days before Christmas (or whatever date has been selected for the Secret Santa party), people leave anonymous gifts for the people whose names they’ve chosen. This all culminates in an event at which people try to guess who their anonymous benefactors have been during the previous days.

In any event, many resident advisors, aware that the demographic of the college was not uniformly Christian, came up with other names for the event so as not to marginalize or exclude students of other faiths. One RA did “Secret Snowflakes,” which, while it did the trick, made me want to hurl. Another did “Secret Non-Denominational Holiday Gift Givers,” which I must admit to liking; the problem was that it didn’t take into account students who didn’t traditionally celebrate any sort of winter holiday, denominational or no. Forcing them to be Secret Non-Denominational Holiday Gift Givers might marginalize or exclude them, which would defeat the purpose of renaming the event. Other RAs came up with other solutions, but none of them really worked for me.

So I decided that my group would do Secret Saturnalians.

Saturnalia was, for those of you raised by wolves, the ancient Roman holiday (celebrated on December 25) that eventually gave way to Christmas. I had a student from Hungary and another from Greece, but as my charges were all under the age of 19, it was a scientific impossibility that any of them could have been born in the Roman Empire before 391 A.D. (the year Emperor Theodosius outlawed the traditional pagan Roman religion). So by celebrating Saturnalia, my students would not only spread joy and goodwill throughout the group but also learn to appreciate a different cultural tradition. I didn’t make them wear ancient Roman dress, but they did have to wander around wishing each other “io Saturnalia” (the traditional greeting), and I threw a party at the end. I wanted to make some traditional ancient Roman holiday snacks, but I couldn’t find a single pet store willing to sell me a thousand larks once I told them I was going to cut out the larks’ tongues and marinate them in red wine.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

June 27, 2004

Okay, I just watched the eleventh episode in the fourth season of Queer as Folk, and here’s the thing:

I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but aren’t there any people of color there?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 14 Comments

June 26, 2004

Yesterday I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 and learned what I already knew, that our country is ruled by liars and recidivists oh wait to be a recidivist you have to have stopped committing crimes at some point, and then I went over to E.S.’s place and watched NOW With Bill Moyers and learned about how Alan Greenspan is quite literally mortgaging our country’s future and then I read the New York Times and learned that although the FCC won’t tell anybody what words they’re not allowed to say evidently “go fuck yourself” is totally fine so long as it’s the vice president who says it to a senator who criticizes his blatant cronyism and so long as he feels better afterwards and then I wondered what I or any of us could possibly do about any of this, other than going out and getting a gun and shooting all the Republicans we know whoops I don’t know any Republicans, since Antonin Scalia disenfranchised everybody in America or at least everybody in America that Katherine Harris hadn’t already disenfranchised and I just thank God we live in the greatest democracy in the world; otherwise I might be worried.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

June 23, 2004

Yesterday, I went to City Quilter to buy material for the quilting class I’m starting next week.

Then I went to That’s SO Gay: Tales of Extremely Gay Gayness, where I performed a really, really gay cabaret song to which I’d written both the words and the music.

Then I knitted on the subway home.

This afternoon, I successfully auditioned to become an aerobics instructor at the Paris Health Club. (I’m officially on their sub list until the new season starts in September.)

In an hour, after walking my Maltese, I’m going to go to my boyfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn and have anal sex.

I’m not hubristic enough to think that I’m the gayest person ever, but I’m nevertheless pleased with the amount of gayness I’ve managed to concentrate in my body.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 19 Comments

June 21, 2004

Yesterday, E.S. and I went to Baltimore to visit David and his boyfriend. At one point during the visit, David and I were discussing how much better things would be if we ran the world. E.S. said, “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

I asked him what he could possibly mean.

“I don’t see any problem with David’s running the world,” he said. “Just you. You’re too punitive and vengeful.”

I fixed him with a gimlet eye and said, “Just you wait. You’ll find out how punitive and vengeful I can be.”

Then, head held high, I turned on my heel and tried to walk through a closed screen door.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

June 20, 2004

The other day, I told E.S. I would do something. I don’t actually remember what it is I told him I would do, but, whatever it was, he didn’t believe me. I promised him. He still didn’t believe me. “I swear on my mother’s grave,” I said.

Then I realized that this oath was utterly meaningless, as my mother, rather than being buried, donated her body to science, specifically to juvenile diabetes research. After giving up to researchers whatever secrets it held, it was cremated. Instead of a funeral, we had a memorial service at the state park that was one of my mother’s favorite haunts.

We did want some sort of physical marker, though, of my mother’s life and death, so we had a gazebo built in the park in her memory. That way, visitors to the park could rest on its very comfortable benches and in its shade, and even in death she could soothe weary souls.

Not wanting to trick E.S., I told him all this. “But the promise still holds,” I said. “I swear on my mother’s gazebo.”

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 5 Comments

June 16, 2004

Those of you who live in New York City or will be here next Tuesday evening should make every effort to attend this event, at which I will be performing a song I wrote:

Many other fine bloggers will be reading, and the Hazzards will be performing their smash hit song “Gay Boyfriend”.

The problem is that “Gay Boyfriend” is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard, and it’s entirely possible that, before Tuesday, I will die of anxiety that the audience will hate me because my song isn’t as good.

If you want to take the chance that I won’t die before Tuesday, or if you hold the correct belief that the fabulousness of the event will be unaffected by my death, you can get tickets here.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 9 Comments

June 14, 2004

For several months, my brother (who is also my roommate) has been complaining that I knit things for everybody except him. Ignoring for the moment the fact that “everybody” is far too broad a term to use in this situation, as I have knit things for nowhere near the six billion plus people who inhabit the earth, he did have a point.

So I knit him these.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 19 Comments

June 13, 2004

Go here at once to get your horoscope.

Here is mine for this month. Technically, it says it’s from last month, but I’m going to pretend.

Stay at least 100 miles from any major city on the 14th day of the month. Evil forces may manifest massive destruction on that day. Avoid contact with obsessive cult members, paramilitary police and intelligence agents from any country during the month.

Set aside your long term goals and devote your energies to your mental health. Triple the doses of all medications you are currently taking for anxiety and depression. If your psychiatrist refuses to prescribe the pills you want, consider discontinuing the medications and switch to heroin.

A sick individual will assume your identity and commit multiple felonies. Authorities may try to prosecute you but eye witnesses will exonerate you once they see you are not the culprit. The impersonator is a person you are acquainted with who works for a large institution.

It’s too late for me to get 100 miles away from Manhattan by tomorrow, so I’ll just have to weather whatever massive destruction is manifested by the evil forces as best I can.

If I survive, I want to hire whoever wrote this as my personal astrologer.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

June 11, 2004

People who talk at the theater should be taken out and shot like dogs.

People who talk at the theater and then get up to leave during the final moments of a show so as to beat the crush of people who will be leaving once the show is actually over should be simmered in oil and set on fire; the fire should then be put out and they should be left to linger for weeks, if not months, as infection ravages their bodies; then they should be drawn and quartered and, once dead, refused burial in hallowed ground.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 12 Comments