Captain Jordache


“Captain Jordach,” That’s what they called me. The drummers in the band rivaled the jocks at Walker High School for how much they bullied me. I guess since I was the drum major they had more ready access to me too. The worst, the ringleader, was the timable (“quads”) player, I forget his name; perhaps I’ve blocked it. He’s the one who threatened to throw my “boom box” in the swimming pool at band camp for listening to the Go-gos. Fuck him. The Go-go’s were great! Many years later I heard that he went on to be a preacher. What was his name? Somebody help me out. You might think, “Oh, a preacher! He must have changed his ways!” Way to go on the optimism and all– but I’m guessing he didn’t hook up with a progressive, “open and affirming” (code for “we accept LGBTQ members without trying to change them”) congregation. What’s-his-name-timbale-player likely took to the pulpit only to continue bullying fags— just in a new way. The pulpit rivals the locker room for being the scene of the crime when it comes to the persecution of my people. At least once a week I think, “They better hope to Christ their whole idea about ‘Judgment Day’ is a big ole lie— else the punitive pious are headed Deep South for eternity— and I don’t mean Dixie (although they do have their similarities). (Damn! Who’s bitter?)

The name “Captain Jordache” came from the jeans I was wearing. Once. After that, I never put them on again. When I transferred from Parrish High in the county school system to Walker High in the city school system, I went to K Mart (yes, believe it or not, K Mart) to buy some “designer jeans” so I could fit in undetected among the rich kids (I had hoped). K Mart sold Calvin Klien and Jordach jeans back in 1982 and I spent more that my allowance for a few weeks to dress myself as what I wanted to be rather than what I was. I was hoping beyond all hope that my move to the city system would bring an entire life change and that I would finally be accepted among my peers, that the taunting and the bullying would be left with the redneck kids of the county. But unfortunately what I learned was that the city schools (it was still Alabama after all) had the same rednecks; they just had more money. We were not poor and my parents worked very hard for what we had– but we weren’t the country club set either and the Walker kids who were part of the country club set were so completely impressed by their idea of themselves and completely unimpressed by a kid like me, there was simply no room for me inside their elitist circles. As painful as it was back then, I can sort of laugh at it now as I look at those kids and their snobby families from my current worldview and see them for what they really were/are. Gratefully, I did find my own tribe though and for my small circle of freaky friends I will forever be grateful.

It’s been a few days since I blogged. I’m sitting in waiting room at the walk-in clinic at the Veteran Administration Hospital in Birmingham. I’ve been here many times. Today I’ve come for confirmation of what I already know. I’m getting a complete blood screening so that I can carry my “clean bill of health” into my new life of monogamy. It’s what I’ve always wanted anyway. Spiritual seekers often go to a few wrong addresses along the way. I’m no exception. That said, my experience has made me who I am and I’m grateful for it, even the hard stuff, even the embarrassing stuff, even the debasement.

I’ve been figuring out what I want the frequency of the blog to be. I do have a lot going on and the daily blog pretty much fulfilled its purpose.  I went from feeling suicidal a year ago to being about as happy as I have ever been thanks to a lot of hard work, God, and your support. And I miss you when we’re not together.  I’ve never really “marketed” the blog other than just putting a link up on Facebook. I’ve never written the blog with an idea that I was seeking a large readership. If I wanted to do that, I know how I could— simply write a lot of well-crafted eviscerations of Donald Trump or that hillbilly woman in Kentucky who seems to have it in for the fags. I think I’d be pretty good at that. And it would be fun, for sure. But I’m not sure that’s where I want to spend my time and talent. Y’all know I’ve become someone who’s more intent on focusing on what I do want for me, my country, and the world than on what I don’t want for us.

Let me say one more thing about the whole “Captain Jordache” thing. Yeah, I was bullied. I’ve told y’all that before. Kids get bullied, especially in places where there are more stupid people and I was raised in a part of the country where the mean intelligence level is lower than almost anywhere else. Some people get past having been bullied as kids and some do not. So far, I have survived. Here is the important part worth mentioning; it’s something I’ve learned from the whole thing so I hope you can benefit from it. During our developmental stages it is important that we have nurturing and supporting environments. It is important that we feel safe and loved and that our individuality is celebrated. Unfortunately, in places like Alabama, unless you fit into a narrow construct of a kind of person, that is not going to happen. During our developmental stages, we are doing just that, developing. Not only are we developing physically but we are also developing psychologically and emotionally. If we’re immersed in a culture of ignorance and blind support of an economic system based on greed and fueled by a fairy tale religion, the damage can be permanent. But that part is up to us to some degree I believe– whether or not the damage need be unquestionably permanent. Please don’t hear me blaming the victims here; that’s not what I’m doing. I just want to help as much as possible and for many of us, it the help is to come, we have to help ourselves.

If you were raised to believe that you should support the “vacuum the money to the top” system that preaches that if you’ll only work hard enough and go along with the status quo, you too can have an airplane with your name on it– or if you were raised in a religious culture that taught you that men have dominion over women, that homosexuality is sinful, or that God condones the killing of innocent people under certain circumstances, you have been psychologically abused and the effects are long reaching. You can undo some of the damage but it is going to take some effort and patience on your part and– here is probably the most important thing I’ll say about it– you must stop understudying for the oppressors. Kick the idiots and their philosophies to the curb. You know that what you were taught is stupid. You know how it negatively affected you. But if you’re anything like me, you have recreated the same destructive system in your life over and over just because it was what your biochemistry was used to. Let’s commit together not to do that ever again. Look around you and consider which people are in your life because they support and old, familiar, and unhealthy paradigm. Then get rid of them. It’s not up you to change them. Libraries are free. These people are stupid and dangerous by their own choice. It’s time to detach from the toxic personalities in our lives and move on into the Joy that life has waiting for us if only we will allow it.

See y’all tomorrow.