Wednesday, October 29, 2008



I’ve always thought it was a great word to describe the home I grew up in. It certainly felt like the right word to apply to the world I live in now, until ...

We were watching Penn and Teller’s series on Showtime, “Bullshit”. If you haven’t seen it and you’re not sensitive to graphic language you ought to take a peek. It can make you laugh while at the same time inflame your sense of propriety. I very rarely watch TV, but I’ll always put my reading down when I know it’s “Bullshit” time (that’s excluding the times Bosox announces he has a new entry. That‘s a ‘Bullshit‘ time of another type altogether.) .

Penn and Teller took on the word ’Diversity’. According to them the word has become a political rightness catchall. That breaks my heart. I don’t want to be a political rightness adherent, but I love that word. Diversity is a perfect word for my life. What am I going to get to replace it? Variety? Assortment? Eclectic?

None of them feel as descriptive as the ’everyone welcome, you look different, think different, act different come on in and stay awhile’ world that I live in; that I’ve always lived in.

When I was growing up my mother and father’s friends included a college professor, a Mexican farm worker, an African American family, a Chinese minister, and a Japanese engineer. My mother tucked her college degree in her desk drawer and went back to school when we were all grown and gone. She loved working with hair. She wanted to be a hairdresser. She got acquainted with a passel of artistic gay men. Her house was often full of gay men seeking her help with a costume intended for wearing to a Liberache house party. My mother’s dearest friend was the wife of the man that created the Redkin hair products. The point is, in my parents home everyone was welcome and meted out an equal measure of love and acceptance no matter their standing in society or their life style.

I have tried to raise my grandchildren with the same sense of ‘love of your fellow man’ that I was taught. This house teems with different. On any given day there will be teenagers from five or six different nationalities eating out of my ice box, gabbing in my ear, and ‘kvetching’ about the opposite sex. There is the cute young woman that really would like to be thought of as a cute young man. She wears boy’s clothes and backward baseball hats and likes to be called Kevin. Thereis the handsome young man that came out this year. He is secure and protected here. The heterosexual boys protect their friend from any discrimination he finds in his new freedom. There are the teens that dress to identify with their choice of music and there are the ’preppy’ types. They all flow in and out of my house.

I use a wheelchair. John uses a cane. One of my dearest friends was a lesbian. My son’s best friends are a Mexican and a Korean.

There is never a dullness, a sameness, a lack of spirit, or a lack of love. We are so different; we are so much alike. Sorry Penn and Teller we are DIVERSE.

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