by RICHARD WENTZ
edited by ANDREW HICKS
Everett recounts the events of his trip to San Francisco via cordless phone.
I don’t make the following statement lightly – intolerance is genetic. Submitted for your approval, my supporting life experience:
It had been a couple of years since my mother married her sixth (yes, sixth) husband. This new guy, Everett, was exactly what my my mother wanted: someone whom she could physically overpower and be intellectually superior to. She got what she wanted, clearly.
My mom and Everett came to visit my wife and me a couple years back. We planned a day trip to San Francisco, spending the entire drive explaining to my new backwoods stepdad that the city was teeming with people who had different beliefs and lifestyles than his.
In the course of conversation, Everett was dealt fair warning that San Fran was, in his words, “infested with the gays.” He made it clear he wouldn’t start a fight, “as long as no guy tries to touch my cooter or my pooper.” This seemed unlikely to happen unless we ran into a relocated hillbilly with an inbred-papa fetish. Or just some hyper-liberal with a fetish for forbidden fruit. Once this was settled, we addressed my apparent lifelong misunderstanding of what exactly constituted a cooter.
We arrived in town, and took a walk along the wharf. About seven minutes in, Everett exploded in emotion: “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD, LOIS ANN! DID YOU SEE THAT?” Everett had spun around and was vigorously pointing at a biracial couple who stood just a few yards away. Needless to say, they heard his exclamation.
“What?!” my mom asked, clearly alarmed.“Those two fellers just kissed!”
So over walked Marcus and Darren, the biracial gay couple. Marcus was an extremely well-defined black man — 6 feet, 4 inches of pure muscle. His main concern was figuring out why this scrawny Howdy Doody doppelganger was wagging his hate finger at him and his partner.
Marcus, my wife and I addressed Everett in overlapping phrases.
MARCUS: What exactly is the problem?
MY WIFE: What is your problem? (Her first words to him since the trip began, by the way.)
ME: Dude, calm down. (I was personally hoping to avoid getting my ass kicked by Ebony and Ivory.)
just kissed that guy
,” said Everett, balancing his hate finger between the two like a metronome.“Everett,” I began calmly again, “we told you that could happen. This is the most gay-friendly city in the world.”“Oh, I’ve got no problem with the HOMOsexuals.” Everett replied.
“Then what’s the issue?” My mother was clearly bothered.
“I don’t mind if one feller wants to kiss another feller, but that feller’s BLACK.” Everett’s finger had landed on Marcus, clearly for the last time.
Mixed-race ass beating, here we come…
Marcus spoke again, in a voice that showed more control than his throbbing neck and forehead veins. “You are okay with two men kissing, but not if one of them is black?” He turned to me and said, “Tell me you aren’t related to this guy.”“No, this is my mother’s husband.” I spun around to implicate my mom in her poor choice of men, but she and my wife were nowhere to be found. They must’ve made the quick decision to do some bargain shopping somewhere more peaceful.
I quickly explained our visit to him, emphasizing the fact that you can take the hillbilly out of the holler, but you can’t eliminate the brain-drain of many generations of inbreeding. Everett stood there nodding his head in agreement, not knowing exactly what my multisyllabic words meant but certainly realizing I was insulting him for the sake of saving his ass.
In the end, Ebony and Ivory decided it wasn’t worth it and strolled off toward a more tolerant corner of the wharf. Had we been trapped in a sitcom, they would’ve each given Everett a sloppy kiss before their departure, but in real life, no one wants to kiss that dude but my mom.
She’s still married to Everett, and there’s still plenty of pictures from our San Francisco trip. In the background of just about every picture, there’s an attractive biracial gay couple in the background, holding hands, kissing or otherwise clearly indicating they’re there, queer and proud of it. Everett, for all his prejudice, can’t stop progress.