Monday, December 30, 2013

To Quote Popeye,....

To quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” And what I am, what I always have been, and what I shall always be, is gay.

I became aware I was “different” at about the age of five, though it wasn’t until considerably later that I found this “difference” had a word: “homosexual.” It’s generally accepted that one’s sexual orientation is only one part of who one is. But for me, I cannot think of a single area of my life that is not colored by my being gay.

It has been a life-long divisive issue between me and the rest of the world, and it is rightly or wrongly the primary reason I am who I am. The world into which I was born is not the world of today.

Childhood is difficult for anyone. Every human must struggle to find his/her way through a maze of what is expected of him/her, what is acceptable and what is not. All children are impressionable, and a gay child soon learns not only that what is normal for him or her is not normal for most other people, but that who he/she is violates many of the rules he is expected to follow.

I was raised being made acutely aware that I did not belong; that as far as society was concerned I was something to be despised and avoided. (And, I must confess, I still occasionally have to struggle not to show the same contempt for heterosexuality that was shown for me while I was growing up.) My experiences with religion, limited as they were, made it clear that even God thought I was an “abomination,” to which I responded by becoming an agnostic. If God didn’t believe in me, how could I believe in him?

And the worst thing for a gay child is to assume he is totally alone in his feelings. There is nothing worse for any child than being rejected. But gay children have no one to look to—he can’t even let those who love him know for fear they will reject him. (And why wouldn’t they? Even today, homophobia is rampant.) Now, however, there are role models for even the youngest of children; they are no longer made to automatically feel that their feelings are abominations.

I remember my dad telling a story once of how, as a teenager, he and some of his friends had gone around beating up “queers.” And I overheard my mother once saying how at one time she had been in a car with several people, one of whom was a “queer,” and she was repulsed when he accidentally touched her neck. These were my parents: the two people I loved more than anyone else in the world. 

They of course had no absolutely no idea of the message they were sending when they told these stories. I was too young for it to occur to them that I already knew who I was. When, many, many years later, I openly confirmed what they had long before realized…that I was gay…they couldn’t have been more supportive and loving. But this was long after the damage had been done.

Being gay is both what I am and who I am. I have the luxury, after all these years, of simply dismissing or ignoring those who find my lifestyle objectionable. 

I’ve frequently said that having realized who and what I was so early in life, unlike so very many gays and lesbians of my generation and several that came after, I have never, for one moment of my life, been ashamed of who I was, or had the slightest doubt that I had and have every right to be who I am. I am happy, for current and future generations, to realize that the world is finally coming around to agreeing.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things to Say

With another year rapidly approaching, I was thinking back over the 900 blogs I’ve posted over the years. You'd think I'd run out of things to say, but it hasn't happened yet and isn't likely to happen any time soon. At least I hope not. I do admit, however, to there being times when coming up with something new is a little difficult, like trying to select one grain of sand out of a sandbox for the purpose of talking about it.

I've written enough blogs to fill a good-sized book—and have, indeed published an e-book and audiobook of them (Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs), but realize there is a considerable difference between quantity and quality. Most of my blogs start out as top-of-the-head thoughts, and don't get too terribly much more organized from that point on.  

I’m sure you’ve seen the delightful went-viral-a-couple-of-years-ago video of a baby girl, probably a little over a year old, in a car seat in the back of her parents' car. She is babbling on at an amazing pace, and at considerable length, with great of passion and sincerity as though she was speaking fluently in a foreign language. The very look on her face gave assurance that she was indeed discoursing on very profound matters, and fully expected her listeners to understand her every word.

I feel like that often. I babble on with passion and sincerity and become so entranced with the sound of my own voice (as it were) that I am convinced I'm actually saying something worth listening to. 

Oddly, however, when I'm in a group of people, even among my friends, I don't have all that much to say...aloud. But my mind never stops churning, running from one thing to the next, which is probably one of the problems. It's rather like looking up a word in the dictionary. I'll start looking for it, and my eye will be caught by one of the words around it, or within the definition of that word will be a word I wonder about, and so I'll go there, and that definition may also have a word in or around it that I wonder about, and so on. Putting down a dictionary once I've opened it takes a lot of willpower—of which I have very little to begin with.

One of the problems I have is almost never not having anything to write about, but trying to snatch  one snowflake of thought out of the blizzard of thoughts constantly swirling around me, or trying to catch a greased pig at the county fair. I currently have at least a dozen blogs I've begun, gotten one or two sentences or paragraphs into before been distracted by another thought. And of course there are times when I think I have something to say about a certain subject and then find out that no, I don't, really.

I’m occasionally bothered by the fact that I tend to dwell more on negative subjects than positive, but it's on the same principle as to why bad news always makes the headlines: we are, to our credit, programmed to accept the good as the norm. Day-to-day, garden variety good news seldom makes the headlines, and yet it is as much a wonder as earthquakes and scandals and other bad things which seem to overwhelm us. We do not understand why people behave so badly, and therefore we talk more about it than the good things we take for granted. Babies and puppies and kittens are delightful, but they're like many sweet things; they're best written about in small doses—say a paragraph or two. An entire blog about goodness can be a like a bit eating too much divinity fudge.

I do tend to have certain themes I keep returning to perhaps more than I should: my various frustrations, a few fingernails-on-the-blackboard irritations—internet spam, people who take physical, financial, or emotional advantage of others; the incredible gullibility of far, far too many people; bigotry, intolerance, insensitivity, anyone presuming to tell others how to think (especially those loathsome non-humans who feel they have the right to speak for God), blatant stupidity, egregious illogic, those who refuse to listen to or even consider anyone's opinion but their own; proselytizers, bottom-liners, bottom-feeders—all negatives, I’m sorry to say.

But I really do like kittens and puppies and babies of all species, and of random acts of kindness and civility. I just don't talk about them nearly as much as I should. Maybe next year?

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, December 23, 2013

Once Upon a Co-Op

When I moved from Los Angeles to Pence, Wisconsin in 1983 to open a bed and breakfast, I soon found that unless one has an independent income, a bed and breakfast is not a good idea…especially in an area so dependent on seasonal business. So when I saw an ad for manager of the local food co-op, I applied.

Food co-ops seem to thrive in small, rural communities where, if you don’t know everyone personally, you’ve at least seen them frequently. The total population within 20 miles of Pence couldn’t have been much above 15,000, so working in a co-op gave me exposure to a wide range of people, most of whom I really liked. It was a very small co-op and I was its only full-time employee.

Thinking back on all the people who came through the store, I chose the first three who came randomly to mind. 

Martha was really a very nice, intelligent, friendly woman with an equally nice husband and two young daughters. Her daughters, and I think she herself, suffered an amazing range of allergies, to the point where their home had no carpets, because allergens lurked in carpets. But the thing I remember about Martha was not the family allergies, but the fact that she insisted on breast-feeding her five year old daughter. Odd how things stand out in one’s mind.

And then there was JoAnn. No matter how bright the day, a dark, oppressive cloud always preceded her into the store—and, I’m sure, everywhere else. No one who knew her ever dared ask “How are you?” because they knew better. JoAnn was the poster child for the Perennial Victim set. No one liked her—one of her most often repeated refrains; no one understood her. No one cared whether she lived or died. Life was one long, hard road of total misery. No silver lining to any cloud. She would cast her net of sorrow and persecution over anyone who entered the store. Were I less diplomatic I might have tried to interrupt her endless litany of woes long enough to point out that she never asked a question of anyone or showed the slightest interest in anyone else’s lives. Ever. To do so would detract from the time she wished to devote to her detailed account of her own living hell.

Carol had had a pretty wild life. She’d left the area several years before and had two mixed-race children—beautiful and very nice boys, who were about seven and nine when she returned home. She’d developed some physical issues, too, and was on crutches. She had also adopted some extreme if nondenominational religious views. One time around Christmas she came in with her boys, who were wearing bright stocking-type caps. “You look like elves,” I said, which obviously pleased them, but Carol immediately launched into a tirade which, I gathered, had something to do with the evils of paganism. There were no such thing as elves. No such thing as Santa Claus. She refused to buy a brand of spaghetti sauce because the label featured a replica of the Santa Maria flying a flag with a red cross, and that was apparently a pure Satanic image.

The final straw, for me, was while she was in the store one day, she sneezed and I automatically said “God Bless you.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. How dare I inflict my heathen beliefs on her? I couldn’t resist saying “You know, Carol, when people are merely trying to be friendly, you really shouldn’t attack them for it.” It fell, I fear, on deaf ears. I’ve occasionally wondered, in the intervening years what happened to her kids. I did not envy them.

Ah, and as my mind goes back to those years, many more people swim to mind, including one of the only two people in my entire life I can honestly say I have known personally and despised. But it’s a long story, so perhaps in another blog, if you might be interested in hearing the story.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I suppose that for someone whose mind operates like a runaway concrete mixer, it is not surprising that when it comes to my daily life, I so seldom actually stop to think before I do something. It has been one of the banes of my existence (and my existence is filled with banes of various shapes and sizes). I never allow myself to contemplate where I might have gotten in life had I not had to spend so much time constantly going back to retrace my steps in attempting to undo mistakes made through lack of thinking ahead.

I take some small comfort in the fact that I cannot claim a patent on this problem, and that--hard as it may be for me to realize--others actually make even more astoundingly stupid act-first-think-later mistakes than I. Today's paper, for example, had an article of a woman who was filling a gas can and, in order to see how much gas was already in the can, used a cigarette lighter to look inside. Hospital emergency rooms...and morgues...are filled with similar examples. The annual Darwin Awards are absolute gems of cases of people who, by not thinking ahead, to quote the awards, "improve the human gene pool by leaving it." I take great comfort in the Darwin Awards.

Assumptions are dangerous whenever they are used, as I so often use them, in lieu of thinking. When I set my keys down, I of course know exactly where I put them. I therefore automatically assume that three minutes later I will still remember where they are. Wrong. I can and do forget them within the time and space required to take three steps in any direction. Then begins the increasingly frenzied search accompanied by mounting self-fury for being so incredibly stupid as to have lost them in the first place. I find myself looking in places I know full well I'd not been near in  days. I look in the cupboards. I look in the refrigerator. I look under every piece of furniture in the apartment. I look in the pockets of pants I've not worn all week. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They have vanished.

Until they show up. And then I have a "well of course that's where they were" moment and totally forget the incident until the next time it happens. (I've always admired the "Duh!" answer to the classic puzzle, "Why is something you're looking for always in the very last place you look?": "Because when you find it you stop looking." Truly profound.)

Untold fortunes have been made on the safe bet that people will act before they think. I read, not too long ago, that the internet is flooded with some 4 billion spam messages every day--though I think that's a very conservative estimate. Fully 99.9 percent of that number are predicated on the people receiving them not taking a single moment to use one iota of logic in thinking about what the message really says. Do none of them stop to wonder why out of the world's population of over 6 billion people, the General Operations Manager of the Hong Kong Bank of China is writing to [i] them to offer untold millions of dollars in exchange for participation in a scheme so devoid of logic that it would give a cocker spaniel pause? The spammers know full well that greed trumps logic nine times out of ten.

And I think yet again of H.L. Mencken's classic observation that "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Why? Because intelligence requires thinking.

What I find particularly sad and infinitely infuriating is that at the core, not thinking is linked to the basic decency of each human soul, which makes people want to believe what they're told, and an inherent resistance to believe that someone might be untruthful. There are no words adequate to describe those despicable individuals who willingly relinquish every link to humanity but their DNA, and who make it their life's work to destroy the very concept of trust among those who can least afford to lose it. (I am the perfect example of why handguns should be banned, for I sincerely believe that confronted with a room full of these creatures, I would have absolutely no compunction about shooting as many of them as I could.)

Well, again it goes back to a paraphrase of the old saw: "You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think."

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, December 16, 2013

"The Normal Heart"

I awoke at four a.m., thinking about last night’s performance of the current Chicago production of Larry Kramer’s searing The Normal Heart, the story…no, a story…of the emergence of an unnamed killer we finally came to call AIDS.

Like tearing the scab off a wound, I left the theater with the combined feelings of rage and sorrow I’d not experienced in a long time. Sorrow for those countless gay men who died so tragically, and rage over the refusal…both of a government which is supposed to protect all its people, not just heterosexuals, and the gay community itself, which refused to give up the carefree promiscuity they felt they had earned during the “sexual revolution”…to take immediate action to halt the advance of the disease.

Sorrow for Tim. For Ray. For Ed. For Bill. For Matt. For Mike. Not just names: real people. My friends. Sorrow for the 35,000,000 people who have died since the first published report, in July, 1981, of 41 cases of a rare cancer being discovered in gay men in New York City.

Rage and utter contempt for President Ronald Reagan who, as the death toll climbed from hundreds to thousands, refused to even speak the word “AIDS” until three years after it was given a name! Utterly, totally unconscionable and unforgivable. Anger against the gay community itself which, despite the increasing fear, partied on and went to the baths which remained open despite clear evidence that the disease was transmitted by sexual content, and the baths existed for sex. Gay newspapers refused to warn their readers against going to the baths because they would lose advertising revenue from their primary advertisers…the baths.

How did I not contract it? I was as sexually active as I possibly could allow myself to be, though I never really considered myself promiscuous since I never went to the baths and my contacts were somewhat limited by my reluctance to approach people in the bars unless I felt fairly sure the interest was mutual. But Tim, Ed, and Mike, all of whom were quite promiscuous, were “friends with benefits” and I had numerous bedroom encounters with them. I was spared watching Ray, who was, in the fog of selective memory, the love of my life, die only because his alcoholism had driven us apart one more time and he had returned to Los Angeles. I didn’t even know he was ill until I got a call from one of his friends, and when I called the hospital to which the friend said he’d been taken, it was too late: he had just died.

And I am angry at so many gays today, who did not live through what I’ve called “The Dread.” The theater, in which The Normal Heart is playing, seats probably 300, and was sold out. But the audience was almost totally straight, and over 50! There were three gay couples, under 30. Six gays out of 300 at a play about their own history! How can this be? Are they blind?

In the play’s program there is a quote from Larry Kramer which sums up this anger:

“A very strange thing has happened in the post-AIDS generation. I don't know what to call them: it’s not really post-AIDS, but let’s call them the healthier younger ones. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to know the old people; they don’t want to know the history; they don’t want to acknowledge  that the people who died were even part of their history. I talk about this a lot. How can you dare to ignore everything that happened? These people died so that you could live. Those drugs are out there because people died for them. [It’s] shocking what’s going on now in the gay population. I have lost a great deal of pride in being gay.”

It is, yet again, truly to weep.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On Colds

I don't like to brag--no, really; I don't. But there are some things at which I excel, and colds are one of them. I seldom have a cold, but when I do, I believe in going all out. If most colds could be compared to a high school production of "Death of a Salesman," my colds tend to be on the scale of a Metropolitan Opera production of "Aida," complete with elephants.

Night before last I awoke at 2:15 to the sound of my sinuses slamming shut. My mouth is dry enough under the best of circumstances, so I try to avoid breathing through it. However, the fun of taking a full 20 seconds to inhale one breath through my nose wore out quickly. Finally, by lying in one position long enough, I was able to open up enough to breathe through one nostril. But the minute I changed position.... So I didn't get back to sleep much before 3:00.

Yesterday my nose began running without my first having had a drink of water (whenever I drink water, it tends to run out of my nose, thanks to the radiation's having rearranged the inner structure of my head). I really should invest in Kleenex stock. Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a couple 5 minute long from-the-bottom-of-my-toes sneezefests, each sneeze accompanied by the spraying about a quart of liquid. Then came the coughing.

Before bed, I scoured my medicine chest in hopes of finding some NyQuil. I did. The label indicated it had Expired 11-08. Found another bottle, nearly empty, which apparently is still good ...I saw a "13" there somewhere and assumed it meant 2013. Who knows.

Chug-a-lugged it and went to bed. Awoke approximately every 7-15 minutes, feeling like a wrung-out  dishtowel, to blow my nose, cough, get up for the bathroom, etc.

This morning awoke feeling both exhausted and drugged. That I didn't wake up until 7:15 (the latest I've slept in in living memory) was significant, and I wouldn't have gotten up then except that it was blog day and I had to post it early for east-coast readers.

I must admit that reflecting on my total nobility in suffering (albeit, obviously not in silence) gives me some comfort. I like being brave and stoic, but I like it much more when everyone else knows it, too.

As is the natural progression of my colds and their effect, the above was written yesterday and here it is the third day of my piteous affliction (can I have an "awwwwww" here?) and I'm hoping I am approaching the other side of the hill. Still very little enthusiasm or energy for anything...It's Saturday as I write, and I'm working today. Absolutely no appetite, which isn't saying much since I eat almost nothing even when I'm feeling fine. (I won't wander off in that direction, since I've already squeezed as much sympathy as I possibly could get out of that one.) 

But things could always be a lot worse, and I really can't complain--which doesn't stop me from complaining, of course. My colds always hit me like a freight train, but they tend to pass just as quickly, so I'll just think of this one as the 4:10 to Omaha. Ventured out to the store for a new bottle of generic Ny-Quil yesterday (that "13" I mentioned as being on the old bottle could have easily have referred to 1913...I hate throwing anything away). To bed before 10 and up just before 7:30. Slept very well, actually.

So here I sit, still a bit groggy, hoping the worst is behind me, finishing a blog I wonder, as I re-read it, why I'd ever begun. But as I say, I hate throwing anything away.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, December 09, 2013

On Being 80

On November 14, 2013, I became eighty years old. I can say it with a casualness I am totally incapable of feeling. Me? Eighty years old? I find it similar to staring at the Rosetta Stone and knowing it has great significance, without having any idea of what it says. I do not like being eighty years old. Despite what the calendar says, I am not eighty years old. I am, as my heart and mind keep telling me I am, twenty. Twenty-five, tops.

I grieve for my body. It saddens me beyond my power to describe that I am increasingly unable to care for and protect it as I have always been able to count on it to care for and protect me. I cannot help but feel that the natural aging process to which everyone is subject was greatly accelerated by my 2003 bout with tongue cancer. I won the battle, but at a considerable cost. Catching a glimpse of myself in any reflective surface never ceases to be a shock. 

I have recently taken to drooling. Because my head is bent forward as a result of the cancer treatment, liquid—I have no idea what it consists of, since my salivary glands were destroyed by the radiation—gathers at the front of my mouth and leaks out without my knowing it until I glance down at my shirt. I find it humiliating, but I cannot blame my body.

Life is a gift which comes with a price tag, and growing physically old and drooling are merely part of the bill to be paid for the privilege of remaining alive.

I was somewhat surprised to find, after a quick bit of research, that fully fifty-six percent of Americans live to be eighty years old, so my being eighty is not quite the accomplishment I had assumed it to be. And on the “glass half full” principle, it means I have lived longer than forty-four percent of Americans has or will.

While few people enjoy getting older, the vast majority accept it without question. But for those of us who, however old, recognize the Peter Pan within themselves, the reaction can range from sadness to terror. I encompass the entire range. While I do not fear nor have ever feared death—which I see as merely a return to the eternity from which we each somehow emerged—the irrefutable fact is that even if I live to be over one hundred, I still have far more life behind me than ahead. And like the child who does not want to go to bed…who wants to stay up just a little longer…I don’t want to miss out on anything. The entire future, the progress we will make as a society and a race, the places we will go as a species, and the wonders we today cannot even conceive; all this will happen without me, and I feel cheated.

Of course, at eighty I have lived through momentous historical events those younger than I have only read of or seen in old movies or photographs. I was privileged to have been entertained by wonderfully talented people who are now all but forgotten, to have seen amazing live performances by now long gone legends of the entertainment industry. I listened to others on  radio in the days long before television. Though only in grade school, I lived through WWII and rationing and war bonds and Victory Gardens with a nation that responded as one people, not as Republicans or Democrats. I remember the disgraceful Communist witch hunts led by the equally disgraceful Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose hate-filled tactics and tirades provided the playbook for the likes of the loathsome Ted Cruz and his minions of psychopaths.

I am infinitely (an interesting word, considering) grateful for all of the things I have done that those younger than me have missed, the events that I’ve witnessed, the advances and changes I’ve seen. But the little child in me still wants…more. Always and forever, more.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, December 05, 2013


I do not handle frustration well. I do not handle many things well, but that's fuel for a future blog.

One would think that having spent a great portion of one's life being frustrated, one would become used to it. One would be wrong.

I'm sure 20 years or so on an analyst's couch, sorting though the myriads of colorful and sometimes odorous details which make up every minute of my life, would produce the conclusion that my problem rests with my absolute conviction that the universe revolves around me, and that therefore I should have complete control over everything at all times. Well, we can save the 20 years because I know that already.

The problem lies in recognizing something on an intellectual level and acknowledging it on an emotional level. My logic and my emotions are continually in a pitched battle over which will have control. Were I you, I would not place much money on logic.

Logic tells me I am a reasonably intelligent human being, and with that thought comes loud and raucous laughter from my emotions. The simple fact is that I have never, ever been in complete control of my emotions, which as I have often said never really got beyond the "terrible twos" stage of development. When I want something, I want it, and I want it now and can see no reason why I cannot have it. 

That I have never understood life, my place in it, or how I am expected to react to also plays a large role in my own little civil war. I see the world, emotionally, pretty much as a toddler sees it. If it's pretty, I want it. And I do not take "no" for an answer. My logic, which spends a great deal of its time shaking its head sadly and sighing, does its very best to explain what it has learned of the world through reading and observing other people. My emotion totally disregards it. I'm the center of the universe, fer chrissakes! How can things not go the way I want them to?

How can everyone else on the planet with 1/10th my intelligence (ego, anyone?) do things with total, effortless ease, get it right the first time and, most insulting of all to my emotions, not think a thing of it. They wouldn't write instruction manuals, or give careful, full-color illustrated "Insert Tab A into Slot B" directions for assembling a cardboard box if anyone else but me could not understand them.

And once something...anything...triggers my frustration response, all bets are off. My mind totally shuts down to the point where I would be hard pressed to tell you my own name. All rational thought ceases. 

I know full well that frustration is a part of life...I'd imagine even you experience it from time to time. But everyone else seems have a built in mental safety switch which I do not have, and which kicks in, allowing them, after perhaps a moment or two of distress, to recover, calm down, and get on with their lives. I can best describe my reaction to frustration by comparing it to pictures of the World Trade Center collapse. Total, utter, instantaneous destruction with no hope for anyone's survival.

I find it ironic that my totally disproportionate emotional reaction to things which trigger my frustration is directly related to my totally disproportionate sense of my own importance. Because I am the center of the universe, how can this be happening to me? How can I be so stupid? My frustration quickly, like the falling towers, dissolves into rage and self loathing so intense it often, and sincerely, frightens me.

It just struck me that this blog may be an attempt by my logical side to subtly convince my emotions not to over-react so strongly. Unfortunately, it's never worked before, and I wouldn't hold my breath on its working this time, either.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, December 02, 2013


There are many definitions of the word “logic," but I prefer this one: "the quality of being justifiable by reason." The problem with that one, though, is that the word "reason" has a number of definitions of its own. 

Like all things not scientifically provable--truth, for example--logic tends to be relative. What is logical and reasonable to me may not be logical and reasonable to you.

I've always thought of myself as a logical person. While the world is made up of far more shades of gray than solid whites or blacks, I use a simple rule when it comes to my own logic: if anything raises a question in my mind, I go with the answer that makes the most sense to me.

It's been a great and constant source of frustration for me that while I know that mathematics is based entirely on logic, I have never been able to get beyond the "if Johnny has three apples and gives Billy two" stage. Try as I might, I just don't get it. The only class I ever failed in my four years of college was geometry (or was it algebra? One of those signs-and-symbols things).

Instruction manuals are another form of logic which totally, completely escape me. I try. Really, I do. I'll buy something requiring "some assembly," carefully take out the manual, set it and the 4,792 various pieces out in front me. I get perhaps as far as the period in the second sentence in the manual, and I'm totally lost. Where's my logic when I need it?

I really don't have trouble with those things ruled by the laws of science. I may not understand them, but I accept them, if only because I don't feel competent to question them in depth. I know the conclusions of science are based on empirical evidence proven by those far smarter than me. But when it comes to things dealing with the human mind and human reactions and responses, I step on the banana peel. I am constantly dumbfounded by the ease with which most people simply ignore or walk around bottomless chasms of illogic as though they weren't there.

While I don't want to get into a discussion of religion here, I've never been able to comprehend how normally intelligent people so readily accept on “faith” things totally unsupported by fact or logic. Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm agnostic...I just can't do it. The same people who readily understand that laws of the physical universe prevent pigs from flying totally accept without question the proposition that Jesus ascended bodily into heaven. I'm really sorry, but the word "faith" utterly dismisses logic.

But religion is only one example of how willing people seem to be to accept the most ridiculous premises without the slightest question. For verification of this theory, one need look no further than the self-presumed righteousness of Tea Party Republicans—the embodiment of utter illogic. Perhaps it is because logic requires a certain amount of question-asking, which in turn requires thought. Much easier to simply accept whatever you're told. The foundations of our entire religious and political systems rest to a large degree on this principle. Even the most cursory glance at a newspaper, magazine, or television program demonstrates that when it comes logic, the most basic rules of common sense simply do not apply.  

Just as The Golden Rule is given universal lip service while being universally ignored, so is the totally logical caveat, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Whether it is naivety or greed or a combination of the two, in almost any conflict involving them on the one side and logic on the other, don't put your money on logic.

While I'd love to take the high ground and claim that my life operates entirely on logic, that very logic tells me I can't do it. A certain amount of illogic seems to just be a part of the human character. I can readily accept that. It’s the overwhelming disproportion of illogic to logic that worries me.

Did that make any sense?

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I often wonder, my mind being what it is, how we ever manage to function, either as individuals or as a society. There is, granted, considerable evidence to support the premise that we don’t, and that the world is a huge house of cards forever in the process of crumbling.

How can we adjust to waking up one day to find those things which are so integral to our lives--the people we love so very much and who form the very foundations of our being, or the places to which we have such strong attachments--gone forever? Memories are precious and I cannot imagine life without them, but comforting and satisfying as they may be, they can also be cruel. They present themselves to us as a huge, impenetrable glass wall between the now and then. The objects of memory may be so very real you can see them, hear them, feel their presence--you can literally ache for them--but you cannot reach out and touch them.

How is it that we expect so much, yet are willing to give so little?

How can we expect to be treated fairly and with courtesy when we put our own interests above everyone else's?

How can we so easily ignore that which we don't want to see/acknowledge?

How is it that we can so clearly see the faults of others, yet not recognize our own? 

How can we so easily give excellent advice, yet never take it ourselves? 

How can so many people suffer from such severe moral dyslexia, blithely going through life spouting phrases from the bible while condemning anyone who does not think exactly what they do? How can they be so thoroughly convinced that that the Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have done unto them.”

How can people possibly justify deliberate rudeness to those who have done nothing to deserve it?

How can we blindly tolerate rudeness and bad service from those we pay to provide those services without voicing our displeasure to someone in a position do something about it?

How can people simply throw their garbage out the car window, or drop it within six feet of a garbage can?

How can so many so readily accept the most blatantly egregious falsehoods without question, and why is it that the more lacking in logic the falsehood is, the more readily it is accepted?

How is it so much easier to hate than to love?

How can we be so smug in the assumption of our moral superiority that we cannot even entertain the thought that there might be even a shred of truth in opinions other than our own?

How can we cling to hope when every shred of existing evidence clearly says there is none?

And for all the negatives in all the questions posed above, it is only that last one that matters, for it is what makes us truly human.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Dictionary Schizophrenic

schizophrenia |ˌskitsəˈfrēnēə, -ˈfrenēə|, noun: a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
• (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.

I don’t mean to make light of the very real and often devastating condition of schizophrenia, but if I go by my computer’s dictionary definition of the word, I find I can readily identify with a lot of it.

Schizophrenia is often thought of as one’s having a split personality, and I happily admit to the charge. I truly consider myself, for all practical purposes, as being two separate people: Roger and Dorien, though it is more a matter of a division of responsibilities—Roger’s those duties grounded by the laws of time and physics, Dorien’s the writing of books and blogs, and entertaining Roger—than any clash or conflict of separate personalities.

“Faulty perception,” definitely. I see the world one way when most people obviously see it quite differently. They seem to accept its complexities and contradictions far more readily and casually than I. In my lifelong effort to try to understand the world, I am constantly fine-tuning my perceptions and understandings, much like fiddling with an old-time radio to get rid of static. I’ve always felt myself to be, largely by choice, an outsider, which doesn’t do much to improve the sharpness of my focus.

“Inappropriate actions and feelings,” probably more often than I would like; I seldom respond to things the way society obviously wants and expects me to. 

“Withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion.” Well most definitely the first part. Reality and I have never gotten along. I find it much too restrictive and, often, capriciously cruel. 

Being gay, I automatically if wrongly assume that everyone else is gay until and unless proven otherwise. I see no harm in it and, gays being outnumbered by straights 9-1, I find it oddly comforting. I know it’s totally unrealistic, but why should I care? When I pass an attractive man on the street, I naturally assume he’s gay. Whether he is in his own life or not is of no matter. If I don’t know for a fact that he’s straight, and I assume he’s gay, he’s gay. There is no harm done to anyone, and it pleases me.

“Withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion.” A definite yes on the “withdrawal from reality.” As mentioned above I choose to create my own reality to whatever degree possible. Being a writer helps make this easier, since when I’m in the process of writing a book, I can pretty much step away from the world that physically surrounds me and retreat into the world of my characters. The withdrawal from “personal relationships” is a toss up. Partly because of my physical difficulty in speaking, my verbal interchanges with others are limited. I have never been the “hale fellows well met” type, even when my speech was totally understandable and I was more active in the gay community. Other than my friend Gary, I really have very little face-to-face interaction with other people. I am extremely outgoing on social media sites like Facebook where my age and my speech impediments are not a problem, yet find myself saying less and less on those rare occasions when I am with other people.

“A sense of mental fragmentation.” Oh, my, yes. So many thoughts and ideas and impressions and memories swirl around in my head that I often have a difficult time in grabbing any one of them or, having caught one, holding onto it long enough to do anything with it. I am very easily distracted from whatever I…oh, look: there’s a bird…am trying to do.

My love of books and musicals and movies and flash mobs and all things romantic and fanciful are clearly rooted in my disassociation from reality. They may not be the world’s reality, but they are mine, and I delight in them. I write because I am far more comfortable creating worlds over
which I have some control and influence than coping with the real world around me.

So, am I schizophrenic? From a psychology textbook definition, no. Computer dictionary definition? More than a little. Does it bother me? Not in the least.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Reluctant Cynic

For someone who really considers himself an optimist and as such strongly decries cynicism, I fear I give in to cynicism far more often than I care to admit. Of course, I prefer to think of myself as being more jaded than cynical, but realize the line between the two is often so thin as to be non-existent. Be that as it may, no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape the fact that I truly despair by what I see as the state of the world. We seem to constantly be presented with views of the underbelly of humanity.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that one of the strongest recurring themes in these blogs is my utter inability to understand either the world, or, far too often, other assumed members the species to which I belong. How can anyone with an iota of awareness possibly understand, let alone justify, what lies behind and beneath the incomprehensible stupidity, cruelty, bigotry, hypocricy, and ignorance that constantly assail us—and that we ourselves too often display?

How can any intelligent person cling to hope for the future of mankind when nearly every TV commercial seems very deliberately designed to mislead us; when every computer’s “In” box is awash daily in dangling bait so egregiously insulting to the most basic concept of intelligence? How can anyone capable of communicating thought not only produce such utter garbage but expect anyone capable of reading to respond to it? What motivates them to do so is simple: 99.5 percent of all the steaming elephant dung plopped into our computers' Spam folder—into which I regularly dumpster-dive for blog material—has one reason for being there: greed. Those who respond to it are complicit by eagerly seeking something for nothing (a Ph.D. in brain surgery by mail? Earn $10,000 a day at home typing envelopes? It is to weep!). Our politics is an open sewer of self-serving lies and hypocrisy and misrepresentation.

Our media is increasingly being taken over by talking-head pundits and predatory political sociopaths without conscience, compassion, remorse, or regret (Fox News, anyone?). Their claim to being human is largely genetic, and they apparently derive a sense of superiority in pouring gasoline on any potentially volatile issue.

Of course, the saddest, most discouraging and "abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here" aspect of the internet is that it is, indeed, a net cast into a rich feeding ground for predators. If there weren't huge numbers of people unwilling to use, or incapable of using, common logic, the predators would starve. And while that prospect is unlikely in the extreme, there is some small comfort to be taken from the fact that from what I can gather—the exact same message being received from several different spammers, for example—that major spammers franchise out their crud to lesser spammers. It appears to be some sort of a pyramid scheme and a perfect example of a snake swallowing its own tail. Secondary spammers are conned by the primaries into thinking they're going to get rich. All of which proves that those who send out spam are just as prone to being suckered as the people to whom the messages are sent.

That after several thousand years of struggle and sacrifice to establish a civilization we, as a race, have produced a society which seems to thrive on taking advantage of others, and we are back at the first sentence of this blog.

Gloom and despair descend upon the land, and the dark closes in.

Quick! Someone bring me a basket of kittens!

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 18, 2013


Life is a lot like a teeter-totter, in that balance is always strived for and seldom if ever achieved. We are all constantly going through the ups and downs of happiness and misery, success and failure, and too often having our rear-ends slammed jarringly on the ground. Getting both ends of the board level is one of those forever-elusive goals of which life is, in fact, made. And once balance is achieved, either in life or on the teeter totter, it never lasts long.

All my life I have sought—largely unsuccessfully, of course—to find a balance between my totally unrealistic egoism and my excessive and unhealthy self-loathing. It's a theme touched on constantly in these blogs. (I am not content to merely beat a dead horse; I insist on pureeing it.) My egoism makes me demand far more of myself than I or any human being could ever possibly deliver, but that doesn't stop me from demanding it. And it is my inability to meet those demands—or even come within walking distance of them—which fuels the self-loathing which truly frightens me at times.

I think, yet again, that I am so utterly fascinated with life that my frustration often stems from weighing everything there is to see and learn and do against what I have seen, or learned, or done or will be likely to live long enough to do. I see life as a vast candy store, and myself a little kid shoveling candy into my mouth with both fists until I look like a chipmunk with both cheeks bulging. And then I get angry because I want it ALL and my mouth simply cannot hold any more.

I've often noted that every toddler thinks of himself as being the center of the universe. Life soon dissuades most of that notion, but I fear it has never totally succeeded with me. Even today, battered and shop-worn and often thinking of myself as being in the "Free! Help Yourself" bin at a rummage sale, I am consumed with the wonder of life. I am quintessentially aware that since the instant time began, through all the time involved in the birth and life and death of stars and galaxies, and onward through the rest of eternity, I am the only "me" there ever has been or ever will be. (Of course, so are you: but it's still a mind-boggling thought.) How could I not think I am special? How could you not think you are?

And since I am so very special in my keen awareness, why shouldn't I be equally special when it comes to everything/anything else? But I am not, and I cannot—-well, let's make that absolutely refuse to—accept that fact. (We won't go anywhere near the subject of my tenuous relationship with reality here.) 

Balance is often achieved through accommodation, through a system somewhat similar to the way submarines and lighter than air craft use ballast; getting rid of some excess weight here, or moving/adding it there. I fear I'm not all that good at accommodations. I want what I want without having to give up any of what I already have. Hardly practical or logical, but fully realizing that fact does not materially change things.

But on thinking it over (as writing these blogs often makes me do), I realized I actually have found something of a tenuous balance on life's teeter-totter despite myself. Every teeter-totter has two seats, one at each end, and in effectively dividing myself into Dorien and Roger, my life has two parts. The real-world Roger, who must deal as best he can with the infinite frustrations and anger of daily life, and Dorien, who is largely able to ignore the wars Roger fights every day, and simply gets on with writing of worlds in which evil and cruelty exist only, as the scripts of plays often call it, as "voices off." Dorien's life is far less stressful, and while Roger must still constantly struggle for balance, it gives him comfort to know that he can use Dorien as emotional ballast to keep the teeter-totter a little more level.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In, but not Of

When I was very young, having one day seen God looking down at me while I was watching clouds, I was utterly convinced that I was very, very special and that I would one day do great and marvelous things. To some degree, I still cling to that belief after all these years. (It is sometimes a blessing to be unfettered by reality.)

My sense of being in but not of the world is a common theme for these blogs, mainly because I still retain the concept of "me" and "everybody else" being mutually exclusive. I have always lived in a state of extreme envy for what others can do with such grace and ease that I cannot. I watch clips of rock concerts where what I assume everyone else thinks is music causes everyone to rock and sway and thrust their arms over their heads, obviously having an absolutely wonderful time. Were I there, I would stand like Lot's wife, totally immobile and excruciatingly embarrassed and furious with myself for not being able to "let go."

I hate doing things which I feel call attention to myself, which is why I don't dance. My assumption that anyone other than myself would notice me at all is an example of my perverse form of narcissism. And of course by not dancing while everyone else does, attention to myself. I just can't seem to win.

I’m sure the fact that I knew from age 5 that I was homosexual is perhaps the major factor in these feelings of not belonging. Well, they aren't just feelings. I don't belong. Surrounded by a world of people to whom I could never really relate, never understanding what all these male-female interactions/courtships/rituals were all about...or caring...shaped my character and my life. Being gay may not be all I am, but it is the foundation upon which everything that makes me  “me” is built.

I've never wanted to be normal, and have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams on that one. I suppose a case may be made that normalcy, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder, and for as deeply as I hate and fear mirrors, I am constantly figuratively holding a mirror up to myself and never, never liking what I see.

Thank God that as a balance all those things I want so desperately but do not have, I do have an exquisite sense of irony and the ability to keep my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I almost never, even when I am ranting and raving and beating myself mercilessly about the head and shoulders with my perceived flaws, allow myself to take myself too seriously. It's almost as if I were my own walking "in" joke. I have, and take full advantage of, the right to criticize myself mercilessly. But no one else has the right to do so. This has, throughout my life, caused innumerable problems. 

I began, also as a child, to belittle myself simply as a means of beating others to say "I know my flaws; I don't need you to point them out to me." And it got out of hand. As I have reported a couple of times in previous blogs, my best friend in college once said, "Roger keeps telling people how terrible he is until they begin to believe him."

And all this is compounded by the fact that there is so very, very much that I want to do, so very many things I want to be, so much I want to know, to see, to experience. One one level I know full well that no single individual could possibly do all these things in a lifetime. But Tony travels the world, and Wayne has a vast knowledge of literature, and Travis is physically beautiful, and Gary is unflaggingly kind and wise, Bil knows opera, and Franklin flits back and forth between his condos in Chicago and Ft. Lauderdale, and....And we are again back to the world's unequal division between "me" and "them." "Me" is singular, "them" is collective, and I am hopelessly, hopelessly overwhelmed. On one level, I understand and accept all this, but down deep, where my timid soul peeks out from under the thick comforter of my memories, it is all utterly incomprehensible, and I totally overlook the good things in myself to ache for what I do not and never can have.

Accepting myself for who and what I am and for what I have always been and always will be is an ongoing struggle. And despite concentrating far more heavily on my flaws than my gifts, I stumble on, so overwhelmed with the wonder of life that I can truly not see my own position in it. Though, catching a glimpse of myself while passing a shop window, I can sometimes convince myself for a brief moment that we are two separate beings, and that perhaps the reflection I see is really one of "them."

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Monday, November 11, 2013

I, Philistine

philistine: a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them

It is not that I am either hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, but I do tend to have far less understanding of them than I should. I have always had the ability to stand apart from myself and   study what I see with, I hope, objectivity. I have found that, overall, my knowledge is like a very large but very shallow lake. To paraphrase an old song lyric, I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I don’t know enough about much about almost anything.

Last night I went with my friend Gary to a performance of the really fine DePaul University orchestra. I always enjoy hearing them play. The program consisted of  William Walton's Capriccio Burlesco  and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, neither of which I was familiar with. Unfortunately, when it comes to classical music, I have a requirement that one instrument must be played in order for me to appreciate it: my heartstrings. If my heart is not somehow involved in the performance, I am unmoved, and if I am unmoved, I am unable to appreciate it to the degree I know I should and probably would if I knew more about musical composition. My simple criterion for enjoying any piece of music is whether I can, after hearing it, remember and hum all or even parts of it?

I can with Tchaikovsky (I can hum pretty much his entire repertoire, and he is the ultimate virtuoso of the heartstrings), and Wagner, and a number of other composers. I expect flow and logical-to-me progression, and while the vast majority of major musical works obviously have them, the more technically constructed/musically complex the work, the less my ability to appreciate it fully tends to be.

Being a philistine encompasses much more than culture and the arts. I am a philistine in expecting everyone to like or dislike the things I like or dislike to the degree that I like or dislike them, and in being automatically and unfairly dismissive of those who do not see things in the same way I do.

My attitudes toward organized sports is an excellent example of my personal philistinism. I simply do not understand organized sports and people’s to-me-totally-mystifying addiction to them, and I suspect that I resent those who do understand and appreciate them simply because I don’t. I never have, despite any number of half-hearted attempts, managed either to figure out what the hell was going on, or to care when it is explained to me.

Perhaps my most shameful form of philistinism can be found in my attitudes toward heterosexuality, though I must hasten to  point out that my antipathy to the state of heterosexuality does not extend to the nine out of ten individuals who are, through no fault of their own, heterosexual. My prejudice is based equally upon my sincere inability to understand what makes heterosexuals “tick” and my anger and resentment at having lived my life being considered, in the eyes of the heterosexual majority, as something of a lesser species.

I should also point out that there is also a considerable difference between being an internalized philistine, which I consider myself to be, and an externalized philistine, whose actions can directly and all too often negatively impact the lives of others.

However, not wanting to be a philistine and not being one are two different things and, in my case at least, rooted in my admitted unwillingness to exert the time and effort necessary to change.

As that wise philosopher Popeye so sagely put it, “I yam what I yam.”

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Political Correctness

I’ve never opened a blog with a caveat/disclaimer before, but when I wrote and sent this one to my friend/webmaster Gary, he wisely pointed out the following: 

I think, by the way, that you miss the whole point of political correctness.  You focus on your past and the fact that you weren't bigoted; but these terms, like "Sambo," have come to mean bigotry and hate, not perhaps to you, but certainly to many whites who use them and the African-Americans who hear them--and I have heard the "Sambo" used disparagingly in Texas and Oklahoma.  "People are people, candy is candy," you say, forgetting the hurtful connections to those words and how they have so often been used deliberately to cause hurt and pain.  And so they are not acceptable.  Your use of them may not be harmful in intent; but many who do use them do intend harm, and so we must try carefully not to cause hurt through the use of these politically incorrect terms.  Some people get carried away with political correctness (me included), but it's a step in the right direction.

I'm sorry, but I've more than had it with "Political Correctness." Our society has become one gigantic exposed nerve end. It wasn't bad enough that we Americans are among the most anal-retentive nations on earth and a classic example of "the double-edged sword" in almost every aspect of our national life and attitudes, but now we dare say nothing that might possibly be construed as being an insult to one group or another. Enough, already!

There are two quotes I dearly love and have repeated over and over, one Alexander King's observation that "there are those who find obscenity in the crotch of every tree," and the classic definition of puritanism as being "the deep, abiding fear that someone, somewhere, might be having fun."

When I was a kid, licorice was available in small pieces shaped like a child. They were called "nigger babies" because they were black. I loved them. Did that make me a racist? Was I in some way asserting my superiority over Negroes/Blacks/Persons of color/African Americans? No, damn it, I was eating licorice! Did I call or think of black people as “niggers”? No. People are people; candy is candy.

Brazil nuts were called "nigger toes." Good lord!! Where that came from, I have no idea. But that's what they were called, and when I ate them, was I making a symbolic statement of one race's superiority over another? Please!

A popular laundry detergent, The Gold Dust Twins, featured the faces of two Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American children on the box. The little girl had her hair in small ribboned knots. A blatant, inexcusable racial slur and insult, since it implied yet another terrible epithet: "Pickaninny." The fact that many small Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American children wore their hair that way was simply a fact.

Many traditional American folk songs which were part of our national history and heritage―most specifically many by Stephen Foster―are never, ever heard or played today. "Old Black Joe"? Horrors! How dare Foster have done such a reprehensible thing?

A favorite children's story was "Little Black Sambo" about a small boy and a tiger. But the little boy was Negro/Black/Person of Color/African American and today's children are therefore forbidden to even read let alone enjoy what is simply a charming story. Do you suppose if they changed it to "Little Absolutely-No-Discernible-Racial-Or-Ethnic-Background Fill-In-An-Acceptable-Name" it might be allowed back on the shelf? I doubt it.

I'm using examples of Negro/Black/Persons of Color/African American only because they are the focal point of Political Correctness. I can site lesser but equal examples where we never ever joke about the Polish or the Irish, or Jews, or allow any sort of dialect used in telling jokes. Any joke featuring anyone of an ethnic or racial minority is considered shockingly bad taste.

As a member of a minority myself...I'm a homosexual, just in case someone might not have already known...I find references to "Queers," "Fruits," "Pansies," and "Fags" deeply offensive if they are used or intended in a derogatory way. But I've noticed that members of many minorities use among themselves exactly the same words they would not tolerate from others.

We don't even call policemen "policemen" any more...they are "law enforcement officers;" the heads of committees are "Chairpersons." Oh, come on!

Political correctness has its roots in good intentions but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. As with all things, some degree of moderation is indicated. Common sense, already in such scarce supply as to be an endangered concept, really should prevail. We have, in our zealousness not to offend anyone under any circumstances, in effect robbed our culture and our heritage of the flavor and spice which made this gigantic melting pot of a nation of ours palatable. It is rapidly turning from a mulligan stew ("Mulligan...that's Irish, isn't it? Are you insulting the Irish? Shame on you! Shame!") into a weak and tasteless gruel.  

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Guest Blogger: Robett Kingett

I've never hosted a guest blog before but decided to make an exception when I met, while trying to find a way to promote my audiobooks to the blind, an exceptional young man named Robert Kingett, a blind journalist specializing in audio description, adaptive sports, and disability news. He's a motivational speaker as well, and a campaigner for the Accessible Netflix project. His essays have been widely published in magazines, blogs, in several anthologies, and read on radio srations across the country and abroad. He's he chief writer consultant for America's Comedy as wellas a columnist for Truth is Cool. His most populara column has been Kingett Reads Fifty Shades of Grey. He holds several editing jobs and is a strong supporter and advocate for LGBTQ rights, and has raised funds for HIV and AIDS research. To read more about Robert, visit his website at

So, without further ado, I give you Robert Kingett.

My fingers hover over the keyboard, spread as if they are spiders who are confused on how to make a

I’m resting at the forefront of my dating regime, at a desk in my apartment trying to think of something
about me that the members of this gay dating site need to know. Ironically this part of the initiation is
the hardest.

The signup was easy for my adaptive computer technology that robotically tells me everyone’s
messages, height, and weight. There weren't any words I had to type to verify my identity, there weren't any advertisements sprinkled into a profile detailing a guy who likes to pretend to fly with toy airplanes.  

Everything is smooth like melted butter until this part in the acquaintance, the about me.

My thought process seems to have a planned detour; as if my brain schemed how it was going to depart at the exact moment I need it to work its magic. First, dictation, then there's deliberation, then debating,
then dumbstruck diatribe. My fingers don't move but deductions springs into my mind like a sweptback

People will marvel at my eloquence for words upon first glance so this will whisk me up to an 80% on
the attraction slider. When they talk with me verbally however, I'm sure the stammer will jab me down
to 45%.

When people read that I have a white cane my dating chances will shoot down to 30%. I know this
figure based on experience. To boost my score perhaps I should entice them first with facts about
my journalism work where I detail LGBT news and issues, and couple that with my obsessive love for
mint chocolate chip ice cream and pony rides. If I do that my percentage will shoot up to 45% because
everybody loves chocolate ice cream way before mint.

If I say I passionately read books I believe that will drop my percentage to 40% because that's a boring
passion and I will be metaphorically studying every thought and action people have so I think I will leave that out.

If I say that I enjoy long walks on the beach I'll have scored a whammy without even needing to mention that I can't walk that far before my muscles complain because they have exercised past their patience level, gaging the percentage between 75% and 65%. no one wants to carry a blind wordsmith through the sand but it would definitely make a nice Christmas card.

My hobbies will definitely bring my dating percentage up but transportation will nudge it back down
again like tight jeans. Scheduling rides 24 hours in advance to everything from plays, to restaurants, to
sports games, to theme parks, and movies makes the percentage quiver at 85%.

Surely the understanding that I sustain my own life and apartment would pivot me above 90%. It’d lift
me up to 98% because men like other men who have it together but the supportive living label will make me drop again. People always get skittish when they hear that the clothes I bought with money I've earned from work are washed by a certified nurse’s assistant in an apartment complex that houses 87 blind adults. This scares them a lot so I'm dropped to 90%.

With all of these factors deciding how attractive I am, I try to determine the best way for me to
outweigh all those scary stamps attached to my many good traits. The wonderment doesn't last long as
my fingers soon dance over the keys with precise confidence. I explain a factor that will rocket me up on the attractive meter. I'm lovingly assertive and love talking cats. Without a doubt the talking cats halts me at 100%.

Please feel free to leave a comment for Robert, and to let me know if you'd like to see more of these guest blogs.