Friday, December 8, 2006

E. 29th Street, November 2006

This peculiar graffiti tag showed up on the wall of a laundromat down the street a few weeks ago. I can't figure out what those little symbols are, but I've seen them elsewhere around town, and they always travel in packs, like UFOs. I like their random, scattered look.

It occurred to me after I wrote yesterday's post that I might have left the impression that I enjoyed being a Boy Scout. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I liked being a very young Cub Scout and, later, a Webelo. But as I reached adolescence, the Boy Scouts became torture. Being a Boy Scout in rural Florida when you're growing up gay is sheer hell. You're like raw meat to a pack of hyenas - I got taunted and roughed up all the time by older scouts, and our redneck scoutmasters weren't inclined to stop it. ("Boys will be boys," they thought.) So I made a respectable exit from the organization as soon as my parents allowed it.

We had some good moments, like a couple of fun campouts on the Withlacoochee River. I earned some awards for camping and swimming, and there were some boys my age who weren't complete animals. (They got roughed up, too.) But I was not a fighter, and was never going to be a fighter. In my book, the Boy Scouts encourage a kind of paramilitaristic conformity, and I was not going to fit that mold.

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