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Same old, same old 

It’s been so long since I’ve had a significant other, I don’t remember which gender I prefer.

I’m gay. I’ve been keeping it a secret for years, but, yes, I’ll say it now. I decided to be born attracted to members of the same sex, or however we’ve all agreed it happens now, and I’m tired of fighting my true inherent biological nature of choice. We’re here, and, um, however the rest of that slogan goes. I’ve never been good at remembering things, even if they rhyme. It’s been a curse since elementary school, when I could tell you that Columbus sailed in 1492, but could never remember what color the ocean was.

So, now I’m out of the closet. Life pretty much looks the same as it did before: The grass is green, the Pacific is whatever color the Pacific typically is, and I’m assuming that it’s going to rain on me just like it rains on everyone else. I’ll get back to you about that one in October or thereabouts, unless we have some freak thundershower in early August.

Yes, you could never tell just by looking at me who I like to kiss or what sort of jokes will offend me. Go ahead and try. Put your face right up close to the page. You’ve got no clue, do you?

Just a minute. Before I belittle you anymore, I have to say that I’ve had a crisis of conscience. I’ve been keeping a secret for the last couple paragraphs, but, yes, I’ll say it now: I’m not really gay. At least, I don’t think I am. It’s been so long since I’ve had a significant other, I don’t remember which gender I prefer, so I suppose I could be gay. That’s not ringing any bells, though, and you’d think I’d remember something that significant, no matter what it rhymed with. Excuse me for a moment while I go ogle a random sampling of passersby to see which ones turn me on.

I’m talking the alternate-sexuality talk without necessarily walking the alternate-sexuality walk because everybody’s seemed to have such a great time during Pride Week here in SLO, I’ve felt left out. I said what I said before because I wanted to be a part of the “in� crowd, which now happens to be the “out� crowd, at least for Pride Week, and I always like to be “in.� Or “out.� Whichever is “coolest.� Honestly, I get so confused. By the way, should I be wearing white right now? I always forget whether that fashion faux pas comes after Labor Day or Memorial Day. For that matter, which of those two holidays did we celebrate back in June?

Know what? Forget it. I’m more curious to learn what happens to gay pride the rest of the year, those other 51 weeks when it’s not officially announced and sanctioned with a visit from RuPaul, gay comedians, and assorted drag queens here in town. Maybe it gets beat down by people who oppose stuff like including whether someone was gay or not in a history book that purportedly reports facts about what really happened in real history—except for the whole Columbus thing, because everyone knows that the Vikings were here long before the Spanish, as were the Chinese, some Africans, and anyone else who wasn’t Columbus.

Unlike some of you out there, who stopped reading this week’s Shredder after you read this week’s very first sentence, I’m all for including information about famous people’s sexual preferences in history books. In fact, I think we should include everything we know about them. Historians could put together codes that read like apartment listings or personal ads:

“Thomas Alva Edison (MWM, N/S, N/D, W/E, IQ134, pets OK) invented the light bulb.�

History-book writers could include all sorts of details about historical figures, like whether they had any phobias or were colorblind, though I suppose that anti-fear groups might raise a bit of a hue and cry, and anti-colorblindness groups might just raise a bit of cry.

My point, which I might as well introduce now, is that you, personally, are very obsessed with labels. So are all your friends and neighbors and family members. We all are. We need to be able to classify people we meet so we can put them in a box with a tidy label on the outside and feel superior to them or suck up to them or ignore them completely, whichever we think is most appropriate.

We, as a people, in order to form what we think will be a more perfect union, are constantly evaluating everyone around us. We define ourselves by defining all the schmucks milling around in our field of vision. I come out looking pretty good by comparison, but there’s no surprise there.

My other point is that you have to be careful what you write, because you’re going to offend someone no matter what you say. I’m willing to wager my heterosexuality that I offended at least one person with gay pride, and I’ll then wager my homosexuality that I offended at least one person who hates gay pride. That’s just how it is, and nothing in the history books will change it.

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