It was 1945.
My parents, having struggled through the great depression a few years earlier, knew the art of doing without. My father bounced from place to place looking for enough work to buy food to feed his children, and my mother lived in hope of maybe having enough left over to keep her growing kids’ feet in shoes presentable enough to wear to school.
I was born a typical American Christian baby. My parents’ daily lives were spent in abject fear and terror, threatened in no uncertain terms to get me baptized before I choked on my Gerber’s applesauce and rode the devil’s express to hell and eternal damnation.
“But he is a loving God. Don’t question why bad things happen to unbaptized babies…Sorry, but they are going to hell if they don’t belong to the church.”
I was born into a “duck and cover” world of mushroom clouds. Where our dad wore a Civil Defense armband and walked around the neighborhood on random occasions, ready to help people find shelter from “the bomb”. Each of us wore a chain around our neck with a plastic tag with our blood type printed on it so if we were vaporized while we hid under our school desks they would know how to fix us.
It was a place where fragile looking tiny little men with their foreheads wrapped in bandanas made from rising sun flags flew their propeller airplanes into big war ships, and a strange little man with a curious moustache shot himself in the head in his underground cement apartment… It was where newsreel footage of rotting corpses stacked like cords of firewood and mountains of ashes that once were 6 million people played to horrified audiences on “dish night” in movie theaters. Patrons left carrying the latest piece of their new dinnerware under their arms while they discussed the holocaust and wondered if the theater might give out cups and saucers the next week.
Robert Tew once wrote: “Sometimes what you fear the most to do is the very thing that will set you free.” That’s what this book is all about… killing off a few more old demons and setting myself free. While I’m at it, I’ll share some fun bits and pieces of my life that will hopefully give you a few good chuckles and just maybe make you stop and think about what’s really important.
We live in a world of contradictions. Life is nothing like what any of us expected. Like each generation before us, we find ourselves longing for the simpler, more personal, slower times of our youth all the while walking down the street with machines in our pockets capable of giving us answers for anything we might want to know while connecting us one-on-one with people around the globe.
The amount of information on the internet increases exponentially in the blink of an eye. Those dusty, outdated volumes of the Encyclopedia of Britannia and Book of Knowledge that our parents struggled to buy and keep current so we could use them to write our term papers have been relegated as doorstops or for pressing flowers. At last, access to knowledge, good, accurate and plain spoken truth, finally has the ability to set anyone who seeks it, free. The only price is wading through all the untruths, lies and misinformation that any crackpot would have you believe to support his cause.
The power of the few to control the masses gets smaller each passing week and the powerful are not pleased. They’re busy trying to find ways to keep us where they want us. But like black people, gay men and lesbian women, the rest of the world will not be retreating into their closets to be stifled by ignorance ever again.
The young boy born the year Mister Truman dropped his atom bomb on those “Slanty Eyed Bastards” has been knocked around, threatened, bruised and disillusioned. But as it turned out he was born a seeker, and when things just didn’t add up, he went after the answers with voracity of purpose and a sense of humor.
Now I have a story to tell you…