Reply to "Dean Johnson - Death of a Legendary Legend"

This is the piece I read from Dean's blog earlier tonight at Rapture. Goddess, it's so him:

26 Jul 2007


"Dear Mary Jane..."
Current mood: anxious
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

"I didn't work to become a whore. I was born a whore." - Mister Slave, "South Park"

I haven't smoked pot for three days and I'm an emotional wreck. Jesus Christ.

I hear myself saying those words ("Jesus Christ") five or ten times a day with the exact same affectation as "Mister Slave" on South Park. I'm so gay. Fortunately, my acting skills are strong enough for me to make a decent living as a "dominant masculine top": I just lower my voice an octave, say "dude" a lot and keep my fists clenched so my wrists don't start flaying in every direction.

Jesus Christ. It would probably surprise some people to know that, as the son of a theologian, I have studied The Gospels extensively. Shocking but true. My father thought it was cute to invite his seminarian friends over while I would recite the philosophies of Christian theologians like Tillich and Barth at the age of three. I was a toddler/performance artist. Now I'm a hooker/performance artist.

In first grade I was watching Romper Room and Miss Jean was demonstrating how you could make a "Goldilocks" wig out of a paper bag by cutting the paper into strips and curling them. I informed my teacher that I would not be in class the next day but that my cousin would be coming by to pick up my homework. The next day I put on my paper-bag wig and walked into the class. The teacher squealed in glee; she loved it. She showed me off to the class and then took me from one classroom to another; it was like I was on tour. Every time we walked into a classroom the students would burst into wild applause while I modeled my new look. I was a seven-year-old drag queen. Jesus Christ.

In fifth grade I was enrolled in a pilot school with "open classrooms" where students could design their own curriculum. My first project was to reclaim several large sheets of discarded corkboard from the school dumpster with which I constructed a small nightclub about five-feet tall and six-feet square. Then I tied a rope across the door and announced to the other students that the opening party would be VIP only. The rest of the class clamored at my door begging to be one of the chosen few to gain entry. I let a few of my closest friends pass, but had to turn away Lynette Horne because she had experienced a recent growth-spurt and was now well over five-feet tall. Lynette did not take it well and collapsed in tears on the floor of the classroom. Helen Schell, the class lesbian who, apparently, had feelings for Lynette, tried to comfort her and was spurned. Helen had a nervous breakdown and ran away from school.

My club was raided a few minutes later by the staff of guidance counselors who forced us out of the club and into a group-therapy session where I was ordered to raze my cherished boite. So I brought a record player to class and during lunch period I would play "Honey Bun" by The Osmonds and go-go dance on my desk for the other students while they ate. Eventually I formed an all-girl band called the "The Bubble Gums" and I would write the songs; we also covered Gladys Knight and The Pips. I was always Gladys. Between shows I would also write stories about my friends and serialize them. I'd end each chapter with a cliff-hanger so that my friends would beg me to keep writing, and then they'd gather around to hear me read the latest installment and learn their fictional fate.

Of course every guy in the class thought I was a total faggot but at least they found me entertaining. So basically, I was already doing, in fifth grade, almost all the things I do as an adult performance artist. Of course, I wasn't getting paid in the fifth grade. And I don't exactly make a living wage as an artist today either. So I always worry about money. I have an anxiety disorder for which I take several medications but none are as effective as marijuana. Even my therapist says so. So now I'm having anxiety attacks over money because I haven't made any today, even though I have way more than I need. When I was stoned I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to turn tricks, smoke pot, work out and watch cartoons. Now, without the pot, the encroaching awareness that my life is waaay off-course is causing me epic anxiety. In 12-step meetings they always tell you to take it "one day at a time" but that was no source of comfort for me. In my head, I would always hear "one day at a time" followed by the words, "...FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!" Jesus Christ.

When Hedwig was asked if she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior and she answered, "No, but I've always been a big fan of his work," I howled, because I'd been saying the same thing for years. I love The Gospels but I won't call myself a Christian because I don't want to be mistaken for one of those lunatics who thumps the Bible while living a life in complete opposition to the teachings of Christ. Jesus gave us a blueprint for creating heaven on Earth, and instead millions have been beaten, tortured or murdered in his name. Jesus Christ. And how ironic is it that these right-wing nuts are always using Old Testament scripture to condemn us? It was breaking those same religious laws that got Jesus, if you'll pardon the expression, nailed.

So I don't call myself a Christian, I'm actually a practicing Wiccan, but I do love The Gospels. There's one story that always resonates with me when I'm suffering anxiety. Jesus was inviting some people to follow him on the "Beattitudes Tour" (you know it; "Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven yada yada...") and one man said, "But Lord, what would we eat? Where would we sleep? How will we work and live?" Jesus pointed to some flowers ("Behold the lilies of the field...") and said, "They don't work and God gives them everything they need. God takes care of you the same way."

I believe it. Look at my life; I've never had any security, I don't own any property, not even a car, and I'm hard-core unemployable, I've suffered through years of heroin addiction, overdoses and withdrawals, hospitals, rehabs and asylums, career disasters and public humiliations, two decades of being HIV positive, homelessness, spinal surgery, the deaths of so many people I've loved -- and I'm fine. I'm really okay. I've definitely beaten the odds by making it this far, so someone up there must be looking out for me.

I worry because escorting is my primary source of income - I love the work but I'll be too old for this game soon. I'm afraid to stop since I don't know how I'll make a living otherwise, but I should just trust God to guide me to the right place because she always has. So I'm going to release this anxiety and celebrate the fact that I'm still alive and haven't smoked pot in three days and my health is good and I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach. As Julia Cameron says, "In the moment we are ALWAYS okay."

And even better is the fact that I'm not sitting in an AA meeting listening to some yuppie shithead telling me that he hit bottom when his Lexus was impounded after a DUI. That just doesn't work on potheads. How do you "hit bottom" on pot? By standing on a street corner wearing a sign that says, "Will work for Weed"? We don't hit bottom, we just coast slightly beneath the surface of reality. Pot is like any smoking habit; when you start having trouble breathing, you'll quit because you have to. And you need to breathe if you want to sing. I just booked an appearance in Tompkins Square Park for the Howl! Festival on September 8th and I'm not big on lip-syncing.

But all of this sudden clarity is overwhelming my anxiety-riddled little brain. It's a lot to deal with and I have to keep reminding myself to remain calm and stop worrying that I'll end up homeless again if I don't keep whoring myself out 24/7. It's time to reclaim my life. Look at how productive I was in the fifth grade: I was so obviously put here to do more than eat, fuck, watch reruns of "South Park" and feel an enormous sense of empathy for Lindsay Lohan. Jesus Christ.

Currently listening :
One Toke Over the Line: The Best of Brewer & Shipley
By Brewer & Shipley
Release date: 07
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