Are you a collectible friend?

racist cigarette postcard

Collect all four for a free hamburger!

So Quink had an uncomfortable (all the syllables, un-com-fort-ab-le) experience with some people with whom she is loosely associated¬† recently. I don’t think she’ll mind if I say she’s a lesbian. I’m sorry if I offended you and your delicate sensibilities. Yes, she loves the ladies. It’s a lot related to the story. Because the people kept treating her as if Queer People Like These Things and Queer People Must Be This Way and It’s So Cool That You’re Queer and I Don’t Have a Problem With Your Being a Queer at All, and Let’s Be Friends, You Queer. They even took her and the Other Homo to an unfashionable tranny bar, because of course that’s where you take The Queers on a friend date, right?

Needless to say, I got an email about these people. “I am not collectible!” screams Quink.

Oh, on the contrary, you most certainly are. You get to be the Gay Friend, as in “I have lots of Gay Friends.” Everything about you is Gay. You wear Gay clothes and eat Gay foods. When said person is backed into a corner, they get to say, “I went to a tranny bar with this girl named Quink. She’s totally cool. You’d never know she was a Gay.” I get to be people’s colored friend. I’m Black, but light-skinned, so I’m safer than a dark-skinned person. I could also serve as a biracial friend, but I doubt anyone has a need for one of them. Maybe in the Age of Obama. I don’t know. People don’t hit me up for opinions and commentary about biracial matters often.

But how many people go for advanced friend collections? We’re talking the kind that scour eBay and bid repeatedly until they get a signed, limited edition friend still in the package from 1978. I don’t mean American Indians, although I do have one of them–take that, hipsters! Do you have any junkie friends? Crackheads? Meth dealers? Prostitutes? Mental patients? How about ex-cons? I’ve even got sex offenders. Yes, I’m so cool. Of course, I drop these in conversation repeatedly, especially at work. I find they’re very impressed with my stable of friends there. “As my disenfranchised friend was saying the other day–he’s a felon, you know.” “My friend who had his kids taken from him by his ex-wife–she could do that because of his record….” “If you get 51-50’d, you’re out in three days if you say the right things. My friend was in and out all the time.”

Why do I have so many people who on paper are so fucked up, or who have fucked up so royally? Because I believe in redemption. I come from a fucked up place myself, if you haven’t noticed, and I walk a path that involves working to change. So do my friends. So yeah, I have a lot of people who’ve been to hell and back. Some people blame us for where we’ve been. That’s cool. They can do their little judging thing. Usually, I judge when I feel alone because then I feel better about where I think I’m at. I may be alone, but I’m better than somebody else. Not saying that’s what anyone else does; I can’t read minds. But I’ve learned I can judge or I can love, but it’s really hard to do both at the same time. Loving usually makes me happier.

And you would never know which of my friends was which if you met them. I didn’t know most of these people’s stories until after I got to know them. I don’t kick it with anyone but beautiful, wonderful people now. But yeah, we have some dark pasts. Some of it squicks me out, too. But just as the anorexic regained the four inches she lost in height during the peak of her disease, the teenage prostitute is now a beautiful, professional mother.

So yes, Quink is one of my gay friends! She’s so gay and jolly. Well, not really so jolly. I could give a rat’s ass.

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