Probably the first of many.
The beard disappeared yesterday. Except for the mustache. The mustache stays. Always. The beard, not so much.
I got tired of the Santa Claus jokes. Facing the season is hard enough. It's the first holiday season I've had without Jack for 37 years. I'm not looking forward to it. Neither of us particularly liked Christmas...more to be tolerated than anything. In more recent years, both of us were in bed before 00:00 New Years. Hallowe'en was Jack's favorite; Groundhog Day was mine. I don't know that there are any special days to be observed now. I certainly don't feel like there are.
"Hey, Santa!" "What're giving me this year?" (That was always from an adult.) "Hey, Santa! Ho-ho-ho!" I don't really feel like putting up with their ho-hos. Not that I don't know the similarities between this Claus person and me. I worked checkout at Kmart for about 6 months, months that started out with holiday shopping. I have to admit it was fun when kids would look up and stare. Jingle bell hat? Check. Old guy with beard? Check. Shakes (when he laughs) like a bowl full of jelly? Check. I loved the stares, but if a kid asked if I were, then no, I wasn't Santa, I was one of his big elves. The kids, for the most part, bought it and the parents thought it was funny. And it was. I have a friend who is maybe around 5' tall and has had a beard forever, so it's long, white, and perfect. He tells me he gets "the look" from kids even in summer. I'm having trouble being jolly this year.
I'm not doing as well as I thought. I've withdrawn from everything. I still take walks. Patches, our cat, is one of my few focuses of attention, and she gets a lot. I fill time with putting music into Finale, the computer program. I pretend it's important. I pretend I still matter. I spend very little time on Facebook, as opposed to being there about an hour daily. My friends are now the people who inhabit JMG.com. It's difficult to stay away from JMG. They really are my friends. No doubt I could get in touch with people who have been my friends and casually ask if maybe we could out. There is one woman who does that. Does anyone else come forward? Not anymore. Perhaps they have assumed that I don't want to see them. Perhaps they've assumed that I'm OK. Perhaps they feel that if I needed something, I'd ask. That is not part of the Walker Syndrome, back into which I've landed. I need someone to take the initiative. It's not that I'm frail; I just wish someone would call and ask me to be part of their life for a lunch or a movie. But what good does sealing myself off do? Makes for a great pity party.
I am a rock. I am an island. I so identified with those lines from the Simon and Garfunkel song Back Then. It was what I wanted to be, what I felt I needed to be. The last part of the song either did not apply to me or wasn't anything new, depending on the day. I was gay in a world of straights. I was the fag, ripe to picked on. And that meant I had to steel myself to know and accept and live with the fact that no one would ever be my friend or, heaven forbid, my special friend. I was drunk and/or stoned all four years of college. I can now see that it was self-medication. However, it was also 1964 to 1968. To the medical and psychological and psychiatric worlds, I was sick. I. Was. Sick. I had given up on religion by that point. It wasn't yet the age of the Jerry Falwells, but I heard I was an abomination. The way I felt about religion and the religious, I knew I'd ultimately be isolated all my life, no matter how straight I played it. So be it.
Things changed considerably, of course. There were other gay people not only in the world but nearby. I was not alone. And then Jack and I met, and I discovered that two gay men could love each other, could spend their lives together, share, watch out for, defend, and do anything for. 'Til death do us part. He died. We're apart.
So, time for you, my guests, to leave. Pity parties are like that.