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I was five when I had my tonsils clipped at the long-vanished Burt Shirley Hospital at Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit, followed by wonderful weeks of tapioca pudding, ice cream, no school, playmate hero worship.
I remember my ether-induced spin as I counted backwards … ten, nine, eight … a boy skating, round, round, round in circles.
Looking back on these moments of anesthetic induced delirium … seven, six, five … I’m sure it accounts for my interest in male skaters, how their extensions, open strokes, compulsory figures all measure up.
Dick Button! Jeffrey Buttle! Brian Boitano! Scott Cramer! Their names say it all.
Quite possibly the anesthetic affected my prefrontal lobes in some long-lasting way, leaving me not only pleasantly bereft of two useless anatomical glands but gay, in compensation for the sacrifice.
I’m grateful. If I had to do it all over, I’m sure I would, if for no other reason than making me so unobtrusively oral. I only wish that my dream out time had been more detailed, that I might have been visited by famous rainbow personages, say Oscar Wilde, Radclyff Hall, Michelangelo, Sappho. On skates or off. Triple sowkows or no.
Farfetched? Well, if a three-year-old boy having his appendix removed can have a million-dollar encounter with no less a personage than Jesus – and several sing-song angels thrown in to boot – just maybe there are as yet undreamed possibilities for gay kids facing surgery as well. Robotic or otherwise.
By the way, the aforementioned three-year-old is Calton Burpo, from a Nebraskan minister’s family. Calton’s story is told in a book that, as of last week, has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for 30 weeks. Title: “Heaven Is For Real,” by papa Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson, publisher).
In Heaven Calton meets his grandfather, dead 30 years, sees a miscarriaged sister he knew nothing about, describes a horsey that “only Jesus could ride,” how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power to help us.” (But not during tornado rampages.)
In case you’re on the brink – as in famed boy skater Hans Brinker – of intellectually poo-pooing this anesthetic-induced literary gem, “Heaven, etc.” is listed by the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”) as nonfiction, selling for a nonfictional $9.99. There are a million copies in print. (Not bad profit for a nonfictional appendectomy.)
Apparently tots a-testifyin’ for Jesus is the tried-and-true, nonfictional outreach for America’s religious fundygelicals. How else to explain four year-old Kanon Tipton, a Mississipian Apostolic, self-ordained evangelist? His preaching in See Spot Run English and Holy Ghost gibber jabber gets two million plus hits on Boob, er, You Tube.
Kanon took to his Pie-in-the-Sky karaoke at 21 months old. Nothing succeeds like excess, and little Kanon has been on NBC’s The Today Show. Daddy Pastor Damon Tipton, when asked if Kanon was a mimic, said, “Possibly, but I do feel the hand of God’s on him in a special way.”
As the Book of Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” In my day, the Boy Evangelist du jour was Marjoe Gortner. He performed his first marriage ceremony at age four. (Would God please put His middle finger on a similarly aged gay or lesbian child. Same-sex marriage needs a heaven-sent goose up.)
Marjoe – name’s a combo of Mary and Joseph – during his short-lived preaching career in the 70s was billed as the “World’s Youngest Ordained Minister.” He was christened a “Miracle Child,” preached hundreds of gospel verses from memory, performed faith healings, cast out demons. Made his God-fearing parents rich. And how!
Marjoe’s also now a self-admitted fraud. And! What else? An actor, slash, rock singer. (Have a blessed day. Seduce a Christian. 21 or over.)