Saturday, July 11, 2009


Greetings. It's 2:23am, and I'm just in from playing a concert up in Rhode Island. It was good to get back onto my bassoon. The truck had been my main focus for a few weeks, and now I need to tip the scale back a bit.

It's been a long and wonderful week. I'll probably write more over the weekend, but there is something I've been thinking about and felt I would write down before bed.

Lots of kids- most seem to be tourists- point at the truck banners. They tell their parents "it says GAY on it!" The first time I didn't think much of it, but it happens consistently and I've started to pay attention to how the parents react to their child. Usually the kid is between 7 and 12, I'd say. You can tell that they only think of the word 'gay' as an insult. The parents brush it off. I can see that some of them do so naturally, and others take a brief moment while they decide how to react. They shrug, or tell their child "yep, it's the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck." Sometimes they even come over for a cone.

This makes me wonder if the kid might learn something. I suppose to most kids on the playground "you're so gay" is about like being calling another kid a "retard." Both of these, as a kid, don't mean much until you they hit home. It didn't hurt most kids, but I remember hearing "gay" as an insult back then, and thinking "But that's me. Why is this so terrible?"

An aside: I used to throw out the term "retard" all the time. Sometimes it still slips, and God do I want to slap myself when that happens. My lesson came when I was volleying the term around and a good friend said "Please don't use that as an insult. My brother is mentally challenged and when you say that, it hurts me." I was reduced to a pulp, and I'm glad for it.

I wonder if my silly banner, and the child/parent reactions to it, might be a good thing. Maybe one or two of the kids that pass by my truck will now think twice before using "gay" as an insult. If that keeps one kid from hearing it the way I (and lots of you) did- as a personal attack- I'm proud.


  1. Doug, thanks for sharing that. :)

  2. Durg - I consider the work you're doing as "real" as the work I'm doing, just a whole different context. Both of us are trying to find ways to witness the world, to tell a story, and to make people feel better. My "customers" just happen to be in the hospital. But humans, no matter where they meet, all want the same things from each other. And you're right - learning that is dramatic, astonishing, humbling, and even fun.


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