I wanted to make note of a couple of things I discovered during last weekend’s trip to and from my class reunion, which I highlighted in my previous post. Both of these have to do with two old apartments I had lived in during my 12 years in the Green Bay area. (Yes, you non-Wisconsinites, that Green Bay.) The first tidbit concerns the last apartment I lived in up there. Actually, I take that back somewhat: This isn’t about that apartment itself so much as it is about the plot of land kitty-corner from it. On that 1-acre plot was a little red farm house along with matching garage and small barn, all closely situated within each other.
Today, after 5 days away from work, I headed back to the 8-hour grind. Strange as it may sound to you, I’m so very glad that I’m back to work. That’s because the past couple of days were really, really rotten for me. Oh, it wasn’t due to a familial or personal situation, though it was something related to my writing talents and to my status as a… uh, well, if you read my bio to the right of your screen, you’ll notice that there’s something different to it. I won’t get into the details about why that’s the case on this blog just yet, at least until I’m all cheered up and willing to broach the topic.
Instead, I want to share some thoughts about something much, much nicer that happened to me during the three days prior to the past two. Last Friday, I drove up to my old home town in… let’s just say Northern Wisconsin for a 30-year reunion of my high school graduating class. How was it, you’re asking? Well, it was a rather modest affair. No, I don’t mean it was staid and sedated. Try more like a quickly-assembled affair. From how I understand it, were some classmates who would’ve loved to assemble a grand (or somewhat grand) to-do for our Class of ’87, including those who’ve organized our previous reunions. Unfortunately, it appears that they were unable to do so this year for whatever reason.
I need to lead off this post with a confession: This post was originally going to be much longer and much broader in scope than what you are about to read. I was inspired by a recent writing prompt by one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic, about social media. However, I originally chose to cover the broad online life in responding, as I’m one who considers my online and social media lives as symbiotic with each other. But once I got to around the halfway mark of my post, I realized… wowzers, this post is turning into a very long read. I also realized that just talking about the social media life is a long slog in itself.
So, to give both of us — you, the reader, and me, the writer — a break from the monotony, I will save the social media ruminations for a near-future post that, knowing me, I will edit and re-edit and re-re-edit before sharing with you… and use this particular entry to talk up the path my female side has taken on the World Wide Web. (Uh, do they still call it that yet?)
This is a topic I’ve been wracking my brain about since my WordPress peep, The Finicky Cynic, put it out last week in a writing prompt. She asks about her readers’ families’ background (i.e. native born or emigrants) and whether their families’ pasts shaped us in any way today. The reason I’ve been wracking my brain about this is I’ve personally never learned much about my family’s background, either on my mother’s, birth father’s, or stepfather’s sides, and I’ve never been one to think about the subject very much.
While I was waiting for new lenses to be installed on my eyeglasses, I walked around West Towne Mall (yes, I can still make things out without glasses) and browsed through a couple of stores such as Windsor, where I spotted and photographed the display you see to your right. As you can see, the mannequins are decked out in some awesome looking dresses, and in a respectable neutral color for late spring/early summer (off white). Look, too, at their feet; those are some pretty gnarly heels they have going there.
As you can also tell, there is also some serious gown action going on. You know, the kind of gown that goes well with a mortar board on the head. Yep, it’s the second half of May, which means graduation time. By now, your nearest high school or college will have had or are about to have their annual graduation ceremonies. Here in Madison, the University of Wisconsin already had their ceremony a couple of weeks ago. And this weekend, my oldest niece will walk down the gymnasium aisle, take her diploma, turn her tassel, and enter the post-high school world.
Before I get to the main purpose of this post, a side thought: Whoever said that change is the only consistent thing in the world certainly knew a little something about the business world. Case in point: The team I’m on at my place of employment, which will soon undergo a reorganization and shifting of duties. While I understand management’s need to “serve our customers” in an effective manner, no longer having a chance to perform a cool task you really enjoy doing can be the pits. Oh, well. The good thing is that I do still have gainful employment, and there’s always the possibility that another cool task may be coming my way (I love having a bit of variety in my daily work routine).
Another thing about this move that’s the pits is that some of the people I enjoy working with won’t be on the same team as I. One of those people serves as inspiration for this post. This afternoon, he went to the wonderful world of endodontics and undergo a root canal procedure. Yeah, what fun, huh?
I’ve been away from WordPress for the past couple of days and I’m wanting to get back into the writing swing of things. Trouble is, I had been wracking my brain about something to write about. Then I came across an A.V. Club article about a certain Chicago television institution — Bozo the Clown. Oh, sure, Bozo may have had a presence in other towns (he was not so much a character as he was a franchise, and I’ll circle back to that term later), but to many in Chicagoland, he was as much a part of the city as the Cubs, the Field Museum, and whatever they call the Sears Tower these days. I imagine many natives of the city still believe this 16 years after Bozo’s show was cancelled by WGN (another Chicago institution in some circles).
But this post isn’t about Bozo or Chicago. Rather, this is about a little something A.V. Club included in its article from way down deep into the Wikipedia wormhole (their term): In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was something called TV Powww, and it was literally a video game played over broadcast television. So what, you say? The premise was this: A contestant watching TV Powww would be on the phone with the station (either as a random caller or as a name drawn from a barrel of entrants) and play some sort of a “target shoot” variant of video game they saw onscreen.
“Skip! Skip! Can you maybe make it next week? I hate to miss Brian’s birthday; and Friday, the transvestites are back on Donahue.”
– the title character, speaking to one of his alien brethren in a 1986 episode of ALF
I want to start this post with the definition of “crossdressing,” as found here: “the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.”
Why do I use that word? Well, I first started dressing in women’s clothing back when I was 11 years old going on 12. Even back then, I knew that putting on women’s undergarments or anything else feminine was considered taboo and against societal (and more immediately, familial) norms. But while I knew the definition at the time, I didn’t know of the word. To me, it was nothing more than “putting on clothing that belonged to my mom or my sister or, before that, what was found in that spare bedroom where we lived.”
A warning before I go any further: This is a hard post for me to write, not just because I struggled with how to write it out but because of references (albeit as indirect as possible) to details of a brief yet dark and ugly moment in history, a moment where the legacy of those who were lost or affected should be recognized and remembered. It’s because of the references to that moment that you may find this post hard to digest. So, if you want to hit your browser’s “back” button and read some other post, I perfectly understand. But if you wish to read on, proceed with caution after the jump.
If she belonged to me, I’d give her everything
I’d never cheat or lie
I treat her with respect, not just a sex object
I ain’t that kind of guy
–lyrics from Rod Stewart’s “Crazy About Her”
When I shared stories last weekend about three of the women in my life who faced verbal or sexual assault, a memory from my own past sprung up into my mind. It’s not any form of assault I directly suffered, if that’s what you are wondering. Rather, it’s a moment that got me to thinking about just how a sexually-driven alpha-male attitude toward women of all types could be spread. And I had thought about including it in that previous post, but I still had trepidation about doing so, and besides, that post was long enough. (Warning: Though I will try to use some sanitized terms, some of the subject matter may be sensitive to some readers, so click on the jump with caution.)