It never ceases to perplex me why someone would be in the least concerned about whom another person loves.

True story: Back when thousands and thousands of innocent people were dying cruelly in Iraq, another election year in the States rolled around. For whatever reason, the issue of gay marriage was in the wind again. One day, the Republican candidate for State House of Representatives came knocking at my door. I recognized him at once, and went running up to him, feigning to be all out of breath.

"Oh, Mark, I'm so glad you're here. I just need to tell you, forget Iraq. I toss and turn at night, sleeplessly, terrified that a homosexual might be getting married somewhere. Whatever can we do about it?"

His response: "Oh, now you're just making fun of me." He marched off in a huff. Irony is always lost on those for whom the conclusion is the sole ingredient of logical discourse. And what is it about legislatures (federal or state) that always attracts that sort of rabble?

Now the story to follow is an exceptionally simple one. In fact, it's so ingenuous, that I suspect many people will laugh at my naiveté.  But you'll need to keep in mind that I was on my own for the very first time, as a young man learning about a wider world than had previously existed for me. I was working from first principles, untrammeled by what anyone else had "taught" me before. It was the era of Aquarian friends. This would be around my second year as an undergrad.

My first real girlfriend was Kay. We met on our joint birthday, not in a haze of rose blossoms and champagne, but besotted during an all night whoopee lubricated by Ripple on a broken down pull-out sleeper bed positioned in a mildewed basement. Now that's romance. She was a wildcat, no doubt about it, brilliant, passionate, self-directed, independent. Knowing her was just the sort of initiation an Iowa lad needed. After a spell, she moved out of Norton Street, though we remained boyfriend and girlfriend. I would have been around 21 years old or so, still learning what life ought to be, first-hand. For whatever reason, in one of those quirks of memory, I recollect taking my first course in matrices and linear algebra at that time. Mathematics and passion, all balled up in one.

Kay invited me to her place, to meet her roommates, and then, of course, for some friskiness, as was our wont. After class one day, I stopped off at her abode on Fifth Street.

That's when I learned to shut up, just watch, and draw no conclusions.

Her roommates numbered four, three guys and a girl. All were homosexual. They were part of the theater arts crowd, very flamboyant, demonstrative, hilarious, always in great spirits. Words fail me in describing what a totally nutty crowd this was. Gigantic garish platform shoes, tuxedos, fancy ballroom gowns, huge quantities of makeup to inspire envy in Tammie Faye, bizarre coiffures, lots of dancing, singing, hugging, touching, kissing, teasing, laughing, these were all the norm. The phrase bigger than life doesn't do justice to their behavior. This gay crowd, in more ways than one, reveled in who they were, and the theatrical temperament brought everything to the forefront.

That was my first encounter with such a body. I'm sure I was wide-eyed. But as mentioned above, I simply took it all in, passively. Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law sprang to mind:
"Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt."
Their leader, for certainly he was always the compere of the romps, took a real shine to me. Let me hasten to add that I am a flaming heterosexual, always have been and always will be. And yet, in an instant all became clear; I understood.

He would tease me, good-naturedly, call me a flirt, feign envy when Kay and I were...well, getting warm...and such. 

Again, this is such a simple story, but you get the point. A somewhat naive Iowa kid, just starting out in life, was exposed to a completely different sort of crowd, and drew no conclusion other than: so what?

It never occurred to me to question anything, irrelevancies such as: Nature or nurture? Genetics or conscious decision? Love or sacrilege?

It just was.

I suppose this may be why I would be unsuited to elected office.

A year later, Oscar Wilde provided the words, if you'll permit me to quote yet again from The Picture of Dorian Gray:
"We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices."
Simultaneously, a passage from Crowley's Liber Oz came into focus:
"Man has the right to love as he will."
which itself then quotes The Book of the Law to buttress the statement:
"Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!"
Lesson learned.

I'd like to leave you with a hilarious story of this Fifth Street gang. It was sort of a seedy house they lived in, but they decided to spruce up the exterior a bit with some landscaping, planting several nice flower beds. One day Hickory Tech, the local phone company, came in and dug trenches right down the middle of all their hard work, leaving ruts, piles of dirt and uprooted plants.

So, this group gathered up some copper wire and garden trowels and marched down to the phone company. In the front lobby stood a large planter box, four feet high, six feet long sprouting various plants and shrubs. Our group, without uttering a word among themselves nor to the startled Hickory Tech secretaries, proceeded to dig a trench down the middle of the planter, flinging potting soil onto the carpet, laying in a length of copper wire, tamping it back down again.

They then departed silently, leaving the employees there speechless with dropped jaws.

Oh my, those were the days.

So anyway, meeting this gang early on gave me the impetus to craft a philosophy based upon what really matters in life, completely ignoring what doesn't. That's when I arrived at this conclusion:

The word love should never take an adjective

Next vignette: Anasyrma

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