By Guy G. Walker
“Who is that weird-looking lady, Dad?” my 9-year-old son Ronnie asked me. Of course, I had to sigh before I answered. He was watching the damn TV again instead of playing sports outside like I told him. Like a boy is supposed to. The damn cleaning lady had left it on the E! Network and there was my boyhood hero, Bruce Jenner—in drag.
“That’s…” I started, not sure how to answer. Not sure if I wanted to answer. How do I tell my son that before him was the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal Winner? The man who dominated Montreal and won the hearts of millions of American boys. The man who was now sporting a pretty impressive set of tits. Hell, Bruce was the man who overcame his dyslexia and was on the cover of Wheaties boxes (of which I ate so many I thought I could be Bruce Jenner, and I nearly shit myself from the incredibly high volume of fiber).
“That’s nobody, son,” I said. “Now turn off the TV, go outside and play.”
My son did as instructed.
“Quit being so, like, mean to Ronnie,” said my daughter, coming down stairs.
Twelve years old and she was already busting my chops. Puberty was going to kill me. But her sass-mouth wasn’t what bothered me. The whole bottle of self-tanner and dashiki she was wearing did.
“Nancy, what on God’s green earth are you wearing?! What’s that all over your skin?”
Nancy rolled her eyes. “Duh, it’s traditional African dress.”
“But you’re white…ish,” I said as I looked at the tanner all over her.
Again, she rolled her eyes. If God and the great state of Texas said I wasn’t allowed to knock some sense in her, I swear… Instead, I took a breath like my drill sergeant taught me and tackled the problem with a clear head.
“Why are you wearing all that?”
“I’m expressing my inner self. I’ve always felt like I was black. Like that lady in Washington. Did you know she was the president of the NAACP in Spokane?”
“ENOUGH!” I yelled, losing it. “Ronnie, get in here!”
My son came back in from outside with one of his mother’s bras from the clothesline. “Would this look good on me?”
Sweet Jesus. Damn you, liberal America.
“Sit down, both of you!” I commanded.
They parked their butts on the couch and I paced in front of them, gathering my thoughts. “You cannot just change what you are on the outside and expect people to accept it. How you’re born is how you’re born. Changing it doesn’t do you any good except to make people uncomfortable. If some guy wanted to be a woman, which bathroom do they use? What kind of job do they apply for?”
“The woman’s room,” Nancy said.
“Any job they want?” Ronnie said.
“Yes…but…you can’t just decide to be another race,” I countered.
“Why not?” Nancy asked.
“Why not?! Because…co-opting another race’s tradition and history is wrong.”
“We celebrate Cinco de Mayo with uncle Ramon and his family,” Ronnie said.
“And, like, isn’t Christmas just Yule?” Nancy asked snarkily. The church co-opting pagan traditions? Like Easter and Halloween?”
“That’s different,” I said.
“How?” my kids asked in unison.
“It just is!” I yelled, my temper getting the best of me. “You can’t have a world where anyone can be any race or any sex they choose!”
“Damn it! Because what would that mean? Women in the NFL? Men in nursing? The world needs rules and groups. If you were any sex you want, then there wouldn’t be a need for any form of gender discrimination. If you could be any race, then American statistics and census would mean nothing. All of society would break down. What you would be left with is a world where the only thing that mattered, truly, is the person and how good they were. Jobs would be completely merit-based. Schools would only accept the best students. The world would be–”
“A better place?” my daughter said smugly while my son grinned.
“Just…just go outside for a while. Daddy needs to think,” I said, plopping down in my recliner. My son obeyed, thankfully leaving his mother’s bra behind. My daughter went to the fridge first and brought me a Lone Star. She popped the top and handed it to me before kissing the top of my head and following her brother outside.
I sipped my beer as I pulled out the remote and turned the TV back on. Caitlyn Jenner stared back at me as the TV recapped her winning an award for bravery or some crap like that.
Well…she does have nice tits.
About the Author
MK Gibson is a father, a MSgt in the US Air Force, an aspiring writer and a seasoned smart-ass. He enjoys finding the humor in all situations, knowing that laughter, and never taking oneself too seriously, is a pathway to happiness. A moderate and centrist, he takes glee in sitting on the fence in most political and religious situations and pointing fingers at people who cling to rhetoric and dogma. Follow him on Twitter at @GibsonMK1, and look for his first book, To Beat The Devil: A Technomancer Novel, coming from Ragnarok Publications in February 2016.