Confession #41


Recently, my body said fuck you to me. I was diagnosed with a chronic condition called cervical spinal stenosis that isn’t curable although it could potentially be helped with spine surgery. Just hearing the words spine surgery makes me cringe (much worse than drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth). Yet, if physical therapy does not work, it could be my only option if the stenosis progresses.

I have been a relatively healthy hypochondriac most of my life so the revelation that I have a real identifiable condition put me in a tailspin. In fact I still have trouble believing I have a condition – I don’t want to have something that can be called a condition. I’ve never had a physical issue before in which people look at me and genuinely say they are sorry and I know are glad they have been spared this…condition.

I’ve met people with frightening health problems and at the same time my heart aches for them, I am thankful it’s not me. Those are the moments you realize how thankful you are to have good health. Then you can get on with your day and complain about hard it is to drink your cup of coffee because the waitress put it in a mug that is heavy. You have the luxury of being annoyed by stupid shit because you are back to taking your health for granted.

Immediately after getting my diagnosis, I joined Facebook support groups for people with stenosis. It is like combining WebMd and Google to constantly discover every possible worst case scenario.  My husband urges me to leave the groups but I am Pandora and the group is my box. Coupled with Google searches and my vivid imagination, I am led down dark paths in which I find myself nearly comatose from pain killers or paralyzed.

An emotional ache sweeps over me every time I’m reminded I have a condition which is every few minutes since I’m one to ruminate. It’s the isolation you feel knowing that even with friends and family that care about your health, they are not going through the fear and pain with you. No matter how detailed I describe the fog of vertigo, the burning sensation on the side of my neck or the anxiety I get when my right leg is numb, no one else feels it the way I do. I am alone.

Apparently confusion is another part of this process. I may have had bone spurs and arthritis in my spine for many years but the trigger for the pain was a tennis injury a few months ago. There I was thinking exercise was good for me. We’re supposed to exercise to build strength to avoid injury. But when I exercise I get injured. And then there is the advice from different medical professionals. Don’t lift anything more than 15 pounds above your head, lift as much weight as you want above your head, only do the backstroke if you go swimming, do whatever kind of stroke you want if you go swimming. It’s like the old joke “Two Jews, Three Opinions.” Who do I believe?

What hurts most is the anxiety from not knowing what the future holds. I’ve been told strong back and core muscles are the best defense against my condition worsening. But even if I strengthen my core and back like the photo on the Abs of Steel video, I have no clue if the bone spurs will grow or my spine degenerates even further. It’s like standing on a shaky ledge overlooking over a cliff and hoping you can keep your footing  – especially hard when you have vertigo.

The hope that physical therapy and exercise keeps the progression at bay isn’t good enough. I need to do the traveling and activities I have a passion for now because I have no idea what the future holds for me. In this, I am not alone.



Confession #40

Every teen generation has their stupid pastime:  eating Tide pods, choking themselves, snorting condoms.  I bought dime bags in Harlem.  Not on a regular basis but more than once.  

I am a product of the 80’s – dated a guy into death metal and pretended to like it (I listened to the Freedom Rock tapes when he wasn’t around), wore red spandex at the roller rink and bought dime bags of dirt weed.

I’m also a product of suburban middle class New Jersey “culture”  which instilled the value of being scared of anything other than suburban middle class culture.  It was a duality of a protected life: my mom would spy through the crack under the bathroom door when I took my first bath by myself for fear I would crack my head open in the bathtub yet when I told her I was going to play outside somewhere in the neighborhood (cell phones not invented yet) she would tell me to just be home by dark – not before dark – by dark.

By the time I was 14, I was a wannabe burnout (stoner or slacker for those young enough to need a translation), although I was really a nerd who obeyed authority.  But I had friends who were true burnouts before Judd Nelson made it look cool in the Breakfast Club.  My childhood friend who was a female version of Napoleon Dynamite at 12 transformed into tough hottie by 15.  I could still see the awkward little girl, but she wore a mask of confidence well.

At 15 she had a 19 year old boyfriend.  Another anomaly of our sheltered life – parents that asked when buying pants in the store if they fit okay in the crotch (in front of other people – I wanted to die of embarrassment) but also let us date guys who could vote.  He reminded me of John Bender minus the flaring nostrils.  He was also minus a few teeth.burnouts

One night he picked us up in his 1977 Chevy Nova for an evening drive into Harlem.  At first it was exciting, but when he parked outside a dive bar and told us not to get out of the car no matter what, the thrill subsided. I was an overachiever and scrunched my body into a ball on the floor in the backseat. My way cooler friend sat in the front seat laughing at me.

His ten minute drug deal felt like an eternity. He swaggered back to the car like a hunter  providing for his family after a big kill. My heart rate resumed to a normal speed and as he started the engine, I promised myself this was the last time I’d participate in a reefer run in a sketchy part of town. I didn’t keep my promise.

I’m not sure if we smoked real weed or oregano (I think oregano would’ve gotten me  higher), but we were definitely psychologically stoned.  It wasn’t until college when I got high with a group of trust fund kids in my dorm that I regularly experienced marijuana with detectable levels of THC.  I had graduated from an early 80’s (fake) burnout to a late 80’s (fake) member of the brat pack. I outgrew risking my life for pot – although I still think it’s safer than eating a Tide pod.

Confession #39 – The Art of Soaking and Toking

Pairing marijuana with soaking is like the paint and sip trend so popular today.  These painters are trained by a professional on important skills such as how to mix colors and use different brush strokes.  Like the artists in their classroom creating masterpieces while getting drunk, a beginner soaker needs to learn how to successfully marry the soaking process while getting high.


As a master soaker/stoner I have an assortment of tactics to elevate your hot spring experience to greater heights.  These strategies can apply to those who do not infuse THC into their bathing experience.  Although why you wouldn’t is beyond me.

  1.  Unless you are visiting a weed friendly hot spring (and if you are, please tell me where it is), you will need to smoke your bowl or joint just before pulling up to the parking lot.  I’m not an advanced stoned driver so I advocate smoking it when you only have about 200 feet to actually drive.
  2. Once parked, eat your edible before getting out of the car.  If you plan to stay only two hours, eat enough to get you high but not too much that you’ll be peaking when you’re ready to leave.  If you have conned someone into being a designated driver, eat as much as you like.
  3. Keep your car keys in an easy to remember place.  I keep mine in the zipped front pocket of my backpack.  EVERY TIME.
  4. Before going, check if there is a water cooler, fridge or microwave – cotton mouth and munchies are inevitable.
  5. Have your snacks prepared and easily accessible.  I bring a small cooler or lunch bag and keep it next to my lounge chair.
  6. Speaking of snacks, make sure you bring the crunchy/salty kind and chocolate.  During my last outing, I brought two kinds of Doritos and had an in-depth taste test with my friend.  Later, the peanut butter and chocolate granola bars hit the sweet spot.
  7. Keep a water bottle within reach while you are in the hot spring. Soaking can be dehydrating and see strategy #4.
  8. Take your pee break every time you get out of the hot spring.  Do not read into this to mean I expect you to pee in the hot spring.  What I mean is, don’t take a break and then go back into the spring without making a pit stop.  Trust me, just as you start to relax in the water, you’ll need to pee and not want to get out.
  9. Don’t be stingy with towels.  Bring at least two – one to dry off with at your lounge chair and another to dry off with before changing into your clothing.  If you have one, bring a terry cloth robe.  Those who don’t have one will be jealous of you.
  10. Even in winter wear sunscreen and hat.  As a mother I am obligated to say this.
  11. Don’t bring your cell phone in.  If it’s a clothing optional hot spring you won’t be allowed to, but even if it’s not, you’re supposed to be disconnecting.
  12. If you have an easy to blow up raft, bring it.  When you are high, having a raft that would require a pump would be dangerous and you’ll never stop laughing enough to actually blow it up.  The raft keeps you in the water but buoyant so that you never get too hot.  It also keeps you from having to hold yourself up.
  13. Floating on noodles is an option but a raft is preferable, especially in clothing optional hot springs. It acts as a barrier when you bump into naked people while you aimlessly float.
  14. Clothing optional hot springs will make you feel better about yourself.  There will always be at least one other person there who is fatter than you.
  15. This may cause a bit of contention but…please don’t bring your children to my happy place.

Perhaps soaking and toking is not only an art but also a science.  I hope intersection of the artistic process and scientific method inspire you to become a master soaker/stoner.



Confession #38 – Did She Say All Heterosexual Sex is Rape?

At first I misunderstood the premise of Andrea Dworkin’s book “Intercourse” to mean heterosexual sex is rape. I fell into the trap of believing her critics without reading the book myself. But when I finally did read it, I was angry how reviewers mislead the public into thinking she insisted all intercourse between a man and a woman is rape.

It was 1994 and I was working as an English teacher for a technical college in Thailand when I began to read the book. Being a feminist there was difficult at times. When I asked the director of the college where I could learn traditional Thai boxing, he suggested I take a cooking class instead. Before traveling through Asia during school break, I shaved off my hair for two reasons. 1) I’d be staying in hostels without hot water and didn’t want the trouble of taking care of my hair and 2) I didn’t want to be hassled by men in the predominantly Muslim areas of Indonesia. Long hair is feminine and beautiful. A shaved head gave me an androgynous look . I navigated through Sumatra indistinguishable from a teenage boy — camouflaged by my peach fuzz head and oversized t-shirts.

As the final date for my service overseas approached, I finished her polemic about sex in a male dominated society. I understood her position to be that the power dynamics in a patriarchal society creates a construct in which sexual relations between men and women are not egalitarian. It’s about taking the power privilege into the bedroom.

When I returned to New Jersey in 1995, I decided the personal is political and I would not be destined to inferiority through intercourse with a man. I wasn’t interested in sex with women so abstinence was my only salvation. My convictions made it easy. Plus, the fact I didn’t shave my legs or armpits deterred men from flirting with me. My parents chastised me for not shaving, saying I’d never get a date because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t care though. I would live a life according to my beliefs or I would be living a lie.

My outlook on sex softened when I started dating after about a year of celibacy. I enjoyed men’s company and fantasized about them. It had been so long and I became curious about how consensual meaningful sex could physically feel. I was still a feminist and always will be, but I wondered if heterosexual sex has to necessarily feel like a violation as a woman.

I was angry about the inequities between the sexes. I dwelled on the advantages men had as physical beings, using their strength to manipulate situations. I ruminated about the advantages given to them in our culture just for having an XY chromosome pair. But I wanted to remove the political from my personal life. I swear it wasn’t about being horny. In fact, over time, desire waned and abstinence was easy.

I wanted a connection with man. I didn’t need to infuse a political statement in my sex life. I could be in control in the bedroom. For that matter, I could give up control and not feel violated. I took Andrea Dworkin’s words to heart and learned a lesson about myself. As a feminist, I would never stop challenging the status quo or forget the sacrifices feminist pioneers made for our future. I also defend Dworkin’s insights into how broken male/female relationships can be and her quest to uphold the dignity of women.

I am glad I came full circle and eventually created sexual relationships that harmonize with my essence and worldview.2000px-Feminism_symbol.svg

Living Outside the Box Part 2

As I traveled further in South America, I ran into more fascinating women willing to share their stories.  

swing thai


I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none which is one of the problems with enjoying travel because I get up and go whenever I feel like traveling and I don’t have time to really settle into a career.  Most of the jobs I’ve done as a traveler have been in hospitality, working at hostels and things like that.

Finances are definitely something on my mind, but it’s something that I thought about originally when I started traveling.  I just decided it was worth sacrificing.  I’d rather be happy than rich and traveling is what I enjoy doing.

The sacrifices that I think I’ve made is missing things at home.  I was traveling for my father’s 50th birthday, my mom’s 50th birthday, my mom’s 60th birthday.  I’ve missed lots of family stuff, friends having babies, missing my pets.  Just being away from people that I care about but hoping they’ll all still be there when I get back.

Seeing amazing things is what compels me to travel.  I want to do it while I’m young. The most amazing thing I think I’ve seen this time is Angel Falls in Venezuela.  They’ve all been geographical and animal.  I got to hold an anaconda and went on a boat trip in the Amazon.

I think there can be a backpacker culture.  I think there are different types of backpackers, whether you judge that on age or whether people just want to go and party or whether people want to see the sights.

Stereotypical backpacker culture I would define as probably early 20’s, want to see amazing places but also want to spend a lot of their time getting drunk.   I think everyone changes as they get older but I think backpackers generally speaking appreciate the geographical aspects of a new place rather than partying in a new city.

I think if you want the “American Dream”, fantastic, go for it.  I have a two sisters and a brother and that’s what 2 of them want and that is fantastic.  Everyone should do what  they want to do. That’s not for me or at least not yet.

Living outside the box means getting to do things I wouldn’t get to do if I lived in the box. The box is going to be there to back to, so I might as well be out exploring other things.

I don’t think traveling has hindered my personal relationships because I always make it really clear to anyone in my life about what I’ll be doing at that time and I don’t think that I could have anyone in my life who didn’t accept that or want to be a part of that. So if it did potentially have an adverse affect on any of my personal relationships then it probably wasn’t much of a relationship anyway.

I don’t have any real schedule.  If something motivates me to get up and go then I try to earn some money and go whether it’s 2 years between traveling or 6 months.  Actually for this trip it was my boyfriend who motivated me.  We had been traveling between England and Oz because he is English but he wanted to go to South America and I’d always had it in the back of my mind so he said let’s go and we’re here.

I think my family wasn’t over the moon when I started traveling ten years ago because they didn’t think I’d come home.  I didn’t think I’d come home, but I do keep going back and they know that I will.  They now accept that this is what I want to do.


Living Outside the Box

In 2006, I traveled to South America with a backpack and a video camera and collected stories of people who chose not to get sucked into the typical cycle of get a job, buy things, stack up bills, get trapped into a job in a cubicle to pay off the bills and eventually die.  It takes courage to eschew the expectations from family and society to lead a life outside the box.  Meet Valerie, who began living on the road in her middle years.




“I was made redundant from my job in 2003.  I spent 2004 traveling and had money left over at the end, worked some more and now I am traveling again.  I started in Rio.

On my last world travel I ended up in Peru and fell deeply and passionately in love but had to return to the UK for my nephew’s wedding.  When I made enough money to travel again I started in South America.

I am spending my misspent middle years traveling the world because I can afford to.  World travel has not really increased in price in the last 15 or so years and I now can afford to do what I always wanted to do when I was 20 which is to see the world.  Unfortunately, the options open to me then were hitchhiking the hippie trail to Afghanistan and India which I didn’t do but I’m now seeing all the places I’ve ever wanted to see.  I have a list in my head and I’m crossing them off one by one.  I just love traveling.  I am homeless and living out of a backpack and I love it.

When I was staying in Bariloche (Argentina), I met a 22 year old Israeli girl at the bus station.  We pretended I was her mother so she didn’t get hit on by boys in our dormitory.  Being of my age, I am the invisible woman.  I’ve noticed this in other countries as well.  This sort of matronly motherly figure – so I don’t get the the attention that somebody half my age would which is fine.

I wouldn’t be doing this if I had children because they’d want all my money to finance their own lifestyle.  I don’t think I ever had a maternal impulse in my body. I’m glad I don’t have children because I couldn’t be doing this if I did.

It’s so important to do this because there is more to life than working and let me get this right, I work to live rather than live to work.  I feel that the world is changing all the time and I want to see as much of it while I’m still able to get around under my own steam, not mind sleeping on the top bunk of a dorm and that kind of thing.  I want to see life in countries, meet other people, and not from the inside of a 5 star hotel, air con coach transport everywhere or from the deck of a cruise ship.

This is my third round the world trip.  The previous one was in 2004 when I got my first severance pay and before that in 1993, when I got made redundant from a previous job.  I spent five months traveling around the world.  I flew to New York and booked 4 days in a hostel in Harlem and I didn’t know what was going to happen until I got to Australia.  The night before I left, one my friend’s girlfriends said if you’re going to Boston, give my friends a ring. I rang the people in Boston, they said yes, come visit.   Much the same happened when I got to Aussie and I met up with friends that I knew from England and it was “Where are you going next? Give so and so a ring and you can stay with them.”

It wasn’t until I got to Bali that I was out there on my own and knowing no one and that’s when I really first felt homesick.  I burst into tears in the bath.  But you know, that’s all part of life’s rich tapestry.  After that, I picked up the art of meeting people and chatting with them and traveling with them as far as we were going together and then meeting someone else and traveling onto the next place.

My friends think I am incredibly adventurous and brave to travel on my own.  My opinion is it’s so much easier traveling on your own than traveling with someone else.  I don’t have to compromise and if I make a stupid decision, I can kick my own self and don’t have someone beating up on me saying “Why did you choose to get that bus that broke down in the middle of wherever.”  My mistakes are my own, I live with them.  They’re not necessarily mistakes.  They might lead me to meet somebody who I might travel with or tell me something to do or not to do.”

Confession #35 The Spoon in the Sink Syndrome


It’s time to grow up co-workers! Put on your big girl/boy/binary pants! If your colleague does something you don’t like, say it to his face, professionally and calmly.  Once you enter the workforce, it’s time to stop relying on other adults to handle your business.  Notice I didn’t just say adults – I said OTHER adults – which means you are an adult which means stop acting like a child.

I was working for an office as an on call receptionist.  My supervisor called to let me know a co-worker complained to his manager that I had too many bags near my computer and therefore the desk looked untidy.  Ok – let’s stop right here.  There are two scenarios for this situation.

  1. Co-worker walks over to my desk and says, “Typically, the front desk person puts her belongings under the desk.”  I reply, “Sure thing.”   No big deal. A helpful suggestion. Life goes on.

How this series of events played out in real life:

2.  Co-worker walks by my desk and sees a lunchbox and a cloth bag next to the     computer. Petulantly walks away and stews in thoughts of customers cringing at the site of my desk.  She then calls the area manager who oversees several offices to complain about said desk, taking time away from manager’s more pressing workload.  The office manager calls my supervisor to explain deplorable conditions at my work site.  My supervisor then calls me to apprise me of the situation.  I say I am sorry that happened and ask why didn’t the offended person just ask me to put my things under the desk.  I am told some people cannot deal with conflict.


Conflict?  Conflict is if after the co-worker tells me to put the bags under the desk, I flatly refuse or tell her to shove them up her ass.  That warrants a chat with the manager and my supervisor.  If someone’s idea of conflict is telling an on-call worker (who expects to be told what to do) to put a couple of bags under the desk, I suggest that person curl up in a little ball in the corner and start sucking his or her thumb.

Now, you may ask, why is this post called the Sink in the Spoon Syndrome.  In a previous post  (see link below), I expounded on a former co-worker who took a yogurt laden spoon I had used (and did plan to clean later) from the office kitchen sink and placed it on my desk with a sticky note that said “Clean me” and a smiley face.  I’m sure she thought her actions sent a powerful message on correct workplace etiquette.

If I were a manager and my report complained to me about an on-call receptionist’s desk, I would resent the several minutes he or she stole from my day.  Petty nonsense can be handled with two sentences as shown in scenario #1.  Instead, it squandered time from two managers.  This is the equivalent of a teacher at recess complaining to the principal about unruly behavior on the playground.   If the kids start smashing rocks into  each other’s heads, that is the equivalent to me telling the co-worker to ram the bags where the sun don’t shine.  Then you go to the principal.

Owning your mistakes is an essential part of behaving like an adult in an office and I am capable of that.  However, ratting on someone about a trivial faux pas is a daily part of elementary school age antics.    Prove you are a grown up who can pleasantly remind someone the expectations of the office.  Your manager will thank you for your maturity.




Confession #34 – Age Discrimination Sucks

It started from a post on LinkedIn from author Brigette Hyacinth: “’He is ‘too old’ for this job,’ the HR manager said to me after we interviewed John (not his real name). John had been laid off by his previous employer due to restructuring at the age of 53 yrs. Ageism in the workplace is very real. I see uproars over every other “ism” (sexism, racism…etc) but everyone turns a blind eye to ageism.”

Brigette hired John in spite of the HR manager’s objections, and she wrote that John’s experience proved invaluable. It’s time, she said, to “stop discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age.”

Her words resonated with my husband and me. We are both photographers and videographers, and we have experienced what it is like not to get an email reply, let alone an interview, even though our resumes showed our skills matched the desired qualifications. Fearing our age may be a factor, I suggested taking graduation dates off our resumes.

I posted Brigette’s story to my Facebook page and it struck a nerve. One man said he could get an interview, but once they saw him and his gray hair in person, he could tell they would not consider him seriously.

Our research in age discrimination led us to Ashton Applewhite, a Brooklyn, New York writer and activist fighting against ageism. She pointed us to a campaign called I, Too, Am Oxford that used photography to make an impactful visual statement about racism.

And that has led us to use our photography skills to illuminate the injustice of ageism, “the most socially condoned form of derogating someone based on social category,” as NYU professor Michael North puts it.

In October 2017, after posting ads on Craiglist and Facebook, we launched a website and a Twitter account called I, Too, Am Qualified. It features photographs and statements from people who have been victims of age discrimination. We urge you to visit and tell your story.

Part of the I, Too, Am Qualified visual campaign

This Friday, Dec. 15., is the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Lyndon B Johnson signed the ADEA into law to protect people over 40 from unfair treatment by employers and to prevent bias due to age. But ageism continues to hurt older workers, their families and the economy.

The AARP reports in 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 20,857 charges of age discrimination. Age discrimination makes up more than 1 in 5 of the discrimination charges received by the EEOC. Many instances are subtle. A representative from the Denver field office of the EEOC, described to me the scenario of a manager approaching an older worker just before renewing his or her benefits package and asking if there were plans to retire soon. She called this the “gentle push.”

Ageism has no boundaries in terms of gender, race, religion or creed. It is, as Applewhite writes, “a prejudice that pits us against our future selves.”

When we take a look in the mirror we see maturity, professionalism, corporate knowledge and experience. We ARE qualified and the time has come to put corporate America on notice.

Originally published at on December 14, 2017.

White Privilege: A Misnamed Truth by Guest Blogger James Smith

Welcome James Smith, guest blogger and middle aged MAN gone wild.



I define privilege as having something one should not have: a rich man’s son evading the draft, a powerful man evading prosecution for crimes he has committed. As a middle class (just barely) white man, I do not have this type of privilege. However, I do enjoy the basic rights and freedoms afforded me by the U.S. Constitution – I know how fortunate that makes me. Not because I have something I should not have (privilege) rather, because so many of my fellow Americans do not have these basics. Because of matters as trivial as gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation etc. far too many Americans have a lesser subset of rights and freedoms, and this is wrong. Wrong not because of what I have, rather, because of what they do not.

Therefore, the phrase “White Privilege” is a misnomer. White Baseline is a more accurate term. Human Baseline would be better still. Sadly, for the time being, white baseline better reflects the truth of the matter. Even as a disabled vet clawing my way through the VA, I am emboldened in my battle by the knowledge that I have the basic rights and freedoms afforded me by the U.S. Constitution.

Resenting white people for having what they should have is wrong. Hate, and fight the system that does not afford you the Human Baseline. My fellow white people, please do not fail to recognize how fortunate you are, and never except a nation where your fellow Americans have less than you.

James Smith is a 55 year old father of three grown children and a disabled vet who advocates for other veterans.  He is active in the Denver amateur film scene in several roles and an avid photographer.

Confession #33: Bible Thumpers and the Chosen One

I have been told I am one of the chosen people.  I question if they mean chosen for persecution and jokes about being cheap.  According to a group of born again Christians I met in high school, I was chosen for a more positive endeavor.  If I took Jesus as my savior, my destiny would be fulfilled and I could enter into a holy covenant with God.  I was skeptical but figured, I should learn more about it. What the hell, right? I mean, why not?

My introduction to the glee club of Jesus enthusiasts was a senior named Keith (names are changed so he doesn’t end up hating me) who is still the warm hearted welcoming guy I befriended in Latin class. Where better to get into the scriptures than in a class studying the language of ordinary Christians of the Roman Empire?

I was a junior at the time, not the most hated girl in my class but far from well liked.  In fact, I noticed the only time I saw my friends outside of school was when I initiated it and, as a test of their loyalty to me, I stopped calling all of them.   They proved to be as loyal as Brutus to Caesar.  I was drowning in low self esteem.

On my sweet sixteen, I took one of my sister’s razor blades (I’m not sure if she used it for shaving or for cocaine) and locked myself in my room, loudly threatening to slit my wrists. My father screamed through my locked door that if I was going to do it, I should do it in the bathtub so I don’t make a mess.  No friends, no compassion at home.  Like a prisoner who turns to Jesus when in despair, I turned to a friendly group of teen age born again Christians.

I had long one on one conversations with several of them about the Bible and proof of creation (if we can’t procreate with apes, how could we have descended from them? Duh, Darwin and Leakey). I delved into the myth that Jews have horns (some people still believe this) because of the Moses sculpture by Michelangelo and even had a meeting with a rabbi about this.  Keith confided in me he abstained from sex with his girlfriend, citing his reverence to God and the Bible. Another friend in the group said if you have sex before marriage you will be turned away from the pearly gates.  His analogy was that if you crack an egg to make an omelette and a piece of the shell gets in, the egg is ruined and you have to throw it away.  If we give into our carnal temptations, then we are like that egg and heaven can’t have a bunch of crunchy omelettes running around in it. (I have since then started picking out bits of shell every time a piece gets in when I crack an egg.)

Keith invited me to a weekend Bible study retreat in December. I don’t remember much about the activities, but I’m sure we talked about Jesus and sang songs.  I do remember being told by several people how lucky I was to be Jewish since Jesus was Jewish and so by default I was in some kind of higher category than the rest of them. I thought Jesus would view us all equally but what did I know.

bible retreat

Even Christians had big hair in the 80’s.

The one thing I most clearly remember is that the retreat fell during one of the 8 days of Hanukkah.  I didn’t know the Hebrew prayer recited over the menorah and I didn’t have a menorah with me.  But I felt like if I didn’t do something I would be a traitor to my born faith.  So I found a candle and stepped outside by myself and said a prayer.  I think it was about hoping to find a way out of my religious confusion. I also apologized to God for not knowing the appropriate prayer for Hanukkah.  All I knew was Amen.

After the retreat I abandoned the Bible studies and Christian social functions and focused on learning about the Judaism.  It seemed the harder the born agains pushed to lead me to salvation through the Good Shepherd, the more I dove into Judaism. The following year, I fasted for Yom Kippur for the first time.

A zillion years later, I moved to Colorado, reconnected with Keith through Facebook and found out he is not only no longer a Christian but also an outspoken critic of Christianity.  He is also gay so it was probably more than respect for Christian values that kept him from sleeping with his high school girlfriend.

I needed the born agains during my lonely junior year of high school.  Jesus didn’t save me but in a way they did.   Wrapped in self pity, I felt like a loser, unpopular and unloved.  The Bible kids may not have succeeded with their evangelical goals, but unbeknownst to them, I was not seeking religion.  I was desperate for people to want to be around me. They may have had ulterior motives, but I didn’t care.  I’m still not sure if the Jews are the chosen people.  I’m just glad I chose to hang out with that group of Christians.