Hello, kids. This is SPYGOD, and I'm coming to you live from the helipad on The Flier with an important message.
Message number one: do not stand too close to the edge. You never know when a gust of wind or draft from an aircraft engine's going to send you over the edge. And when you're this high up, all they'll be able to identify you by is your dental work and DNA.
Of course, that's a hazard. We can prepare for hazards. For example, we can all wear abseil suits and obey the !@#$ signs that say BACK THE !@#$ UP.
Yes, they really do say that. See? Look at our beautiful, profane signs. They say we mean business in a playful sort of way.
(You oughta see what we got hanging down in the armory. And the bathrooms.)
But what do you do when life is one big hazard? Well, sometimes it is. And we usually call it "High School."
Especially if you're gay.
Evolution is a hard bastard. We're hardwired by nature to detect differences, and instead of celebrating them, we often segregate based on them. Sometimes it's harmless, and even beneficial. But most of the time it's bull!@#$ that gives rise to cliques, pecking orders, and victims.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you about that last one.
I'm not ready, willing, or even able to tell you about my childhood. But you can probably guess that, like a lot of you, I realized there was something different about me. Something not quite in step with other kids. And while certain things were not discussed, and therefore not on the forefront of bullies' minds when they went about their business, certain words and ideas were very !@#$ painful.
Especially when they were true.
The more things change the more they stay exactly the same, as one other queer liked to say. So yeah, I know there's a lot of you beautiful LGBTQ kids out there, watching this, who are wondering what the !@#$ point is.
The deck is stacked like a science villain's deathtrap. The straights all know what you are before you do, even if they don't know what it really means. If you open up to the world and tell them who you are, you get smacked down in return. And if you stay silent, maybe you wish you could be open, you're watching what happens to others and become afraid to take that leap.
(And then there's the people who are out who give you !@#$ because you're not out. But you listen to them complain about what happened when they did come out, and you're thinking "Oh yeah, that sounds like a great deal, right there. !@#$ that noise." But that's another story.)
Now, I'm supposed to stand here and tell you that, judging from my own experience, it gets better. That's the idea behind these spots. That there's an end to the bullying and name calling and sense that you're not as good as other people because of that one, little thing that's so small, and yet so important.
And, yes, it does. It gets a !@#$ of a lot better.
For one thing, when you get out of High School, you're done. Gone. If you never want to see any of those retarded !@#$ who thought it was fun to call you rude names, you don't have to.
!@#$ 'em. !@#$ 'em all. Send back your reunion invites with photos of you and your partner out having a good time. Eventually they'll stop sending them.
And if you run into them again, be sure to point out how awesome your life is, now. No thanks to them, of course. But thanks for the first experience in overcoming adversity. You're a better person now because of what they did.
Not that you owe their stupid !@#$ any thanks at all.
For another, when you turn 18 you can buy a handgun. You get a gun and a conceal carry license, no one will !@#$ with you. People used to carry swords for the same reason. Now you can't flash steel without being arrested, but with a little paperwork and a class or two, and a clean record, you can get a .45 and have it on your belt.
(Explain that to me.)
And did I mention the fact that once you're 18 you can also go into the armed forces, and be trained to defend our fine country?
True, once upon a time you would have had to lie about what you were in order to get in, and keep it under wraps the whole time you were in uniform. But no !@#$ longer. Thanks to certain forward-thinking individuals, you can now be the gayest or dykeiest Marine, Green Beret, Navy Seal, or whatever bad-!@#$ position the Air Force and Coast Guard have available, and no one is allowed to !@#$ with you because of it.
They wouldn't !@#$ dare.
Of course, we at The COMPANY have been proudly not giving a !@#$ about that sort of thing since I've been running the show, which is forever. In fact, we're happy to accommodate your thing. It keeps after hours recreation rather lively, which is an important part of saving the country and the world on a near-daily basis. Work hard, play hard, as Teddy Roosevelt used to say.
(He also used to take strange substances, Hulk up, and throw hippos into each other to make lunch. But that's another story.)
And I could tell you that, once you get older, you could possibly become the head of something like The COMPANY.
Yes, you could have all this firepower and these secrets at your fingertips. You could be one of the most powerful and influential people on the planet if you played your cards right. And all those people who called you names and flushed your head down the toilet in High School will be running scared for the rest of their natural lives out of fear of what you might do in long-overdue retaliation...
But I won't.
No, really. I won't. I wouldn't dare. And that's because of someone else I'd like to talk to you about, today.
Like I said, I'm not ready, willing, or even able to tell you about my life. It's classified out the !@#$ wazoo. And for good !@#$ reason, too.
So let me tell you about my buddy John, instead.
Like me, John grew up in the early parts of the last century. He knew there was something different about himself, too, but didn't quite know how to put it into words. But at some point he learned that being different had a terrible price attached, and did his best to hide it.
He succeeded in this, but a little too well. Afraid that someone would discover his secret, he went out of his way to learn everyone else's secrets, so he'd have something to counter them with if they came after him. It worked better than you might think, and soon he was rising up through the ranks of his chosen profession, and getting good reviews from the people above him.
When they put him in charge of his own show, he did some amazing things with it. But all the time that fear and worry about being discovered was gnawing at him like a cancer. He became massively paranoid, and because he was paranoid he did all kinds of bad things, and made all kinds of really bad suggestions.
As a result of all that, my friend's good accomplishments are badly besmirched by the bad he did, and the worse he though we should do. It's fair to say that, by the time he died, he was a highly controversial figure, and it hasn't gotten much better over the years. Every time you turn around they're trotting out some new and horrible thing that he did in secret, either by himself or with his friends.
Sometimes, I can't even blame them for wanting to take his name off of the FBI Building.
Yes, kids. I'm talking about J. Edgar Hoover, the father of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and its Director for life, at least until he died in 72. He was liaised with the Liberty Patrol, before and after The War, and I got to know him very well in that time. Maybe a little too well, in some respects.
He was a great man, a visionary, and had a genius for organization. He was also a pathologically self-promoting, hateful, vain, and jealous !@#$ who was willing to ignore the liberties of the few in order to guard the lives of the many. And that is never a great trade-off, kids.
So I can't help but wonder. I'm not going to lay the whole of his character and life story at the hands of his repressed sexuality. But how much of that paranoia and fear was because of what he was, rather than who? How much of that evil legacy was shaped by the fact that he had that one shameful thing he could never be open about?
If he could have just said "Hi, my name is J. Edgar Hoover, and I'm as gay as a three dollar bill," would fear have warped his personality like a bowling ball dropped into a sheet of rubber? Or would he have been less of a !@#$?
I don't know, kids. We may never know. And even if we do learn, someday, it might be so classified that even I don't get to look at the answer.
But I'm pretty confident that, if he had been able to just say what he was, and say it proudly and openly, things would have been a lot different at the Bureau, back then.
So don't be afraid. Don't be scared. Don't let others' stupidity, fear and hate make you stupid, fearful, and hateful.
Open up and announce yourself to the world, because it is our party. It's the one time invitation to the ball we get to have for the rest of our lives. And no one can take it from us unless we let them.
My name is SPYGOD. I run The COMPANY. I'm the most powerful fag in the world.
And it does get better.
(SPYGOD is listening to Was It Worth It (Pet Shop Boys) and having the mother of all pink foofy drinks)