January 7, 2004

The summer after my freshman year of college, I sent my high school a check. But it was a donation with strings. Along with the check, I sent a note that said, “Please use the enclosed check to buy the following books for the school library,” and listed several books I wished had been so readily available to me during my coming out; the only one I remember specifically was Brian McNaught’s On Being Gay, which was extraordinarily helpful to me at the age of fifteen or sixteen or whenever I read it, but there were three or four others as well.

Full of sanctimony and self-righteousness, I thought, “Well, that’ll show them. They can’t very well refuse the check, so they’ll have to buy the books.” Visions of destroying the homophobic prejudices running through every current of my high school danced in my head; I would be the savior of the new gay generation, and they would all thank me for it, except of course that they wouldn’t know who the books had come from, just that they were in the library, which made the whole thing even better, the gift being slightly higher up on Maimonides’ Ladder of Charity, so they’d just thank the universe, and me as a part of it, and I would be glad to know that I’d helped.

Which is exactly the way it would have happened if the check hadn’t bounced.

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12 Responses to The summer after my freshman

  1. zenchick says:

    ah, hard to get a heartwarming post with a laugh out loud at the end!! Good intentions, and all that….

  2. sarrah says:

    thanks for the laugh! perhaps you should try again!

  3. matt says:

    It’s the thought that counts. Though I couldn’t say what for.

  4. Tin Man says:

    Sometimes you slay me.

  5. James says:

    Oh my… You’ve killed me! That was brilliant.

  6. Jeff says:

    Some things are constants in our lives. Didn’t the same thing happen to a check you wrote to your brother recently?

  7. ms.j says:


  8. Wayne says:





  9. Jalal says:

    Pride comes before the fall.

    The pun on pride is unintended.

  10. Dr.P says:

    Haha! Well, at least you know what would have happened.

  11. Ivy says:

    Hee hee. That was funny.

  12. Jen says:

    How about you recommend a few titles for me to consider for the high school library? I’ll let you know what I can order, and your influence will help a few more kids.


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