Election 2016: I’m with . . .

My opinion doesn’t matter. You’ve already dug in your heels, put up your blinders, and decided that, no matter what, you will not be swayed –  not by facts, not by conjecture, not by emotion. So my opinion doesn’t matter. But my vote does.

My vote matters, and almost more importantly, I’m not voting against someone. I’m not between a rock and a hard place. I’m proudly and firmly voting for a candidate.

While it’s unlikely I’ll have children, I have plenty of bountifully fertile friends. I have a nephew on the way. And I want to be able to look at those children – those perfect little humans, untainted by the prejudices, fears, and judgments of adulthood – and tell them that I voted with my heart, for them.

By the time they’re old enough, I hope they’ll be voting in a third- or fourth-party system, with a Congress that acts to benefit society because each senator and representative, finally subject to term limits, craves a better world to which they’ll return once their service is complete.

But more than that, I want them to be in a world where there is objective accountability for our police force, where all lives finally do matter and those important distinctions no longer need to be made. Where people can be intimate and share their lives with whomever they please without judgment and belittlement. Where religion isn’t used to divide, but to bring together.

This new world is going to have a scary transition period. There are so many white men who are terrified of losing their place of power and privilege and will do literally anything they can to keep a fingerhold on the edge of superiority. But eventually, one by one, they’ll fall, and an era of gender and racial equality will arrive.  The rest of us will know that there was never anything to be scared of at all.

Your children deserve a world where each person is valued the same. Notice I didn’t say a country. A world. We’re humans. Citizens of Earth. Homo Sapiens. We live in a global society, and we should embrace the move to globalization as a species. The only downside will be those who cling to nationalism in lieu of depth, or a personality, and in the long run, they’ll be just fine.

In this world that I can almost see, squinting my eyes against the dark, terrible sides and focusing on the bright, beautiful potential, we won’t assign more rights to a piece of barely viable tissue than a black adult man or someone from a religion different than yours. We’ll use the scientific tools and massive advancements at our disposal to better our society as a whole, not profit off of the weak and needy, building a home for all of us, where science, discovery, exploration, and expanding knowledge trumps superstition, fear, and ignorance.

As your children grow older, they’ll strive for greatness, getting the quality education they deserve without the yoke of student loans beating them into an early grave. And when they get sick, your children and their children can see a doctor without having to prioritize their health over groceries.

This future will still have the right to bear arms, but with some long overdue reasonability and understanding. Just like our First Amendment right to free speech, limited by being in a private home or workplace, by being obscene, by yelling fire in a crowded theater, by creating a clear and present danger, the Second Amendment needs some perspective. Bear your arms, but with limits, if only to prevent the deaths of children at the expense of those who misguidedly grasp at liberty.

Your children will be in a world where those who make the most money and who have benefited the most from the benefits and strengths of capitalization also contribute the most in taxes and support for others. Where nobody is afraid to report a sexual assault, where punishment is representative of the crime, and where we’ve decriminalized the drugs that do less harm than the pharmaceutical industry. Where our veterans get the medical treatment they deserve, educators get paid as they should, and the people have the power, not the corporations and sinking captains of industry.

I will be able to look your children in the eyes and say that I voted with my conscience and my heart for the betterment of humanity, not with my wallet. Not with the shadow of fear and hatred that can be dispersed with knowledge and research. I voted with an eye to the future, not a desperate need to return to the rose-tinted memory of an awful past. I voted for equality, acceptance, love, and generations to come, not for posturing and fearmongering, pride in belittling others, and a lack of accountability.

I have already cast my vote, and I sleep soundly at night with the confidence that when my candidate wins, our era of progress and achievement will continue, not have its flow staunched by ignorance and unintelligence.

I’m with her. I hope you will be too.

Not for yourself. For your children. For everyone.

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I’m aware this may end up getting some controversial responses, but keep it civil. Any hateful speech will result in deletion and/or blocking, at my own discretion. Be the reasonable adult I know you can be.

 

 

(fifteen years ago) the speed of time

Time’s a funny thing.

For the first twenty-four years of my life, today’s date was just a date. But fifteen years ago, it became important.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at an altar. For the regular reasons.

(eighteen years ago) Surrounded by throngs of married and engaged law students, I thought I was going to die alone, and it terrified me.

(fifteen years ago) I wore a tuxedo and said “I do” in a Catholic Church, and no lightning touched down upon our heads.

(twenty years ago) As a college sophomore I played video games and then went home and touched myself too many times.

(fifteen years ago) We danced to a song that took much too long to choose and sometimes now I can’t immediately remember what it was called.

(twenty-two years ago) I had a 1984 Chrysler Fifth Avenue and rolled up the sleeves on my T-shirts. Sometimes I stapled them so they’d stay.

(fifteen years ago) I gave into tradition for the last time as my best friend from college walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid instead of a groomswoman.

(twenty-four years ago) I cried about unrequited love and punched holes in my walls.

(fifteen years ago) Friends from each stage in my life drank and laughed with each other as they toasted my future.

(twenty-eight years ago) I snapped a girl’s bra strap and my dad said “Boys will be boys,” because he knew I’d eventually turn into a respectful man.

(fifteen years ago) I didn’t drink, but the night was still a drunken blur.

(thirty years ago) I devoured every book I could find and found whole new worlds worthy of exploration.

(fifteen years ago) We were too tired to consummate our marriage, and nobody noticed that giant red flag flapping in the air.

(thirty-two years ago) My parents burst with pride at my intelligence and precociousness, not realizing how unbearable it might become.

(fifteen years ago) I said I did, even though I showed I couldn’t.

(thirty-four years ago) I was the only male child, and I liked it.

(fifteen years ago) We started a new life with a terminal lifespan.

(thirty-six years ago) We moved to Florida from Boston and ate Raisin Bran for dinner, which amazed me at three years old.

(fifteen years ago) I hadn’t evolved from someone who knew everything to someone who knew he didn’t.

(thirty-eight years ago) My parents loved me fiercely without reservation, and haven’t stopped.

(fifteen years ago) I danced with my mother as she cried and took my face in both of her hands and kissed me.

(forty years ago) My mother looked at herself in the mirror and wondered what I’d be like when I arrived in three months.

and

(one year after my divorce) My best friend took me to dinner and wore a long blonde wig so, as he said, “I would feel like Amy was still there and wouldn’t be sad.”

Adam Avitable and his best friend in 2010

Time’s a funny thing.

A Year Later: My Interview with Anastacia Campbell

It’s been one year since Stacy Campbell left us. Her sense of humor was as legendary as her eye for beauty, and the world hasn’t been the same without her. She was sarcastic, dark, absurd, brilliant, and compassionate, and she touched each of us with her words, her photos, or her soul. She was my soul sister, my best friend, and one of the great loves of my life. And here, at the one year anniversary of her death, I knew that it was time to elevate her to the same level as every celebrity I’ve ever fake interviewed by fake interviewing her. She is a celebrity – she was Jürgen Nation. She was Indie Ink. She was Anastacia. She was Stacy Fucking Campbell.

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Me: Hi, Stacy.

SFC: Well, harumph! Never did I ever antici . . . pate that I’d be the subject of one of my bestie’s interviews, but *she says while fanning herself furiously*, I didn’t think it would take THIS GD LONG. There’s only so much waiting a lady can do, sitting idly whilst hemming and hawing until her bearded devil man shows up to ask her a bunch of questions that will, natch, bring about the gnashing of teeth and tearing up of the eye-parts that I imagine occurs regularly when he plies his authorial skills.

Me: I really should have done this a while ago, but I wasn’t ready. Not that you can ever be ready for this. And to be honest, I was mad at you. Hell, Stace, I’m still mad at you.

SFC: Oof, let’s explore that. Are you mad because (A) I stood by my words and did what I said I was going to do and even you, with all your manliness and super powers, couldn’t convince me not to, (B) I forgot to send you the power-of-attorney, resulting in a bevy of vituperative and borderline despicable actions being taken by those whom never meant a lick to me, compared you and my closest besties, or (C) it’s easier than being sad, even though sadness is an emotion we need for that chance to really, truly, indubitably, zoobilee zooily FEEL happiness?

Me: D, All of the above, plus E-Z?

SFC: *checks with judges*. Looks like we’ll allow it, but I counter with this, dearest Addy: Life is a highway (unintentional hat-tip to Tom Cochrane) with people getting on and getting off, and all of us just scurrying around (like rats because it’s a rat race – METAPHORS!) waiting for our exit, and maybe you’re mostly mad (which is like being mostly dead, but without Miracle Max running around yelling Humperdink) because my exit came up before yours. Huh? What do you say? You can’t argue with my logic?

*drops mic* *dances a little, realizes nobody’s dancing with her, asks Steph why nobody will dance with her*

Me: Maybe a little. But I’m also mad that you had all of us, and you didn’t come to us. You had Stephanie, Tom, Krystyna, Tia, Racheal, and me, as well as everyone else – all of the family and friends and people out there – and we would have moved mountains for you. If you’d only asked.

SFC: Oh, my dear Addy, don’t you know how much I knew that? I knew that I could pick up the phone, and you’d be there, shovel in hand, not to move the mountain, mind you, but to help me bury the bodies. That’s how much I knew I could count on you.

Me: Yeah, but instead, we buried you.

SFC: Ooof, she repeats, taking another solid blow. Not nice to try to lay ye ol’ guilt trip on your bestie when she’s already been gone for a year. First of all, I’m like Teflon, baby, and guilt just slides off me like a pair of fried eggs. And secondly . . . well, wait, it’s time for me to ask you questions. Would you say that I was a relatively (compared to gen pop) intelligent and savvy gal with an equally savvy understanding of the world? *bats eyes*

Me: Yes, absolutely. You had a level of understanding that most people don’t even realize is possible, and can’t even try to aspire to reach. You were someone who just knew when to be there for someone, and what to say to make their lives better. It’s why you were my beautiful soul sister, and meant just as much to so many others as you did to me.

SFC: A simple yes would be sufficient. Flattery is unnecessary! Next question – was I someone with no brain waves, an individual under the age of consent, or a non-human (none of whom can give consent anyway), or was I a fully (relatively so) functioning adult?

Me: Sigh.

SFC: NO SIGHING IN BASEBALL, ADS! Answer me. Yes or no – was I an adult?

Me: Yes. You were an adult.

SFC: So, if it pleases the court (even though it appears the judge is not wearing pants YET AGAIN), would you in fact say that my choices were mine as a functioning, intelligent adult, and that your anger is less about me, and more about you? That you, in frustration of your lack of control, have decided to be mad because that’s something you can understand?

*picks up mic, drops it again*

Me: Fucker. I’m used to being the one who’s always right, you know.

SFC: Ha! I say again, HA! You, like every other of us who is trying to sort through life, make mistakes. Our flaws are us. They’re why you’re as beautiful as you are hairy (and won’t you reconsider letting me give you the name of a nice laser removal gent?) and why I love you so. I know you’re mad. But cut that out, starting now. This was my exit. Don’t go away mad, just don’t go away (apologies to the auteur Vince Neil).

Me: I’m still here. Always and forever. Even if we only got to have one true adventure.

SFC: But it was an adventure for the fucking record books! Thrusting trepidation to the side, trespassing while traversing the tangled theme park (alliteration totally INTENDED). And we had so many more planned – the catacombs, ghost hunting, a commune and life together with the most creative and wonderful people in the world, Australia, the world, just me and my bestie.

Me: I miss you, Stacy. So terribly.

SFC: Quit it. You had me! You got me on a level that almost nobody did. And you have memories and pictures and the Story of Us, and that will never change. But missing people is what sad people do. Don’t miss me – go make more memories with people like me. People who inspire you, who believe in you, who know who you truly are (even if you keep sticking to that tall tale of you being the meanest Becky on the block, I’ll always know the truth, the whole truth, and nuthin but it).

Can I get back to the highway analogy (looks like the judges said yes) and say that when you’re racing that sporty little red Miata with the hot blonde, and she gets off at her exit, you don’t get sad. You find another car to race, a billboard to read, a guy picking his nose to make fun of. You keep driving, and you don’t stop until your GPS says (in a sultry Stacy Bot voice) “Take the next exit”.

Me: And then?

SFC: And that’s when I’ll see you. Drinks are on me.

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Would you potentially be interested in a coffee table book that collects all of my and Stacy’s photos (like the ones below) from our journey through the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans? Leave your name and email address below to be notified when more information is available:

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Today’s post was brought to you by this song on repeat:

To beard or not to beard: My Beard Adventures experience

“You should let your beard grow out,” she cupped my chin with one of her hands. For almost ten years, I’d kept my beard maintained with weekly trips to my neighborhood barber shop. In my head, there were two options: a close trim or looking homeless. It never occurred to me that there was another way.

I turned my head on my pillow to face her. “You think so? Don’t you think it would look disheveled and awful?”

She dragged her naked leg slowly up my body and pulled me closer to her. Along her journey, she discovered, not-so-subtly, that I might be ready for round two. “I think it would look sexy,” she whispered in my ear, and the might bes turned into definitelys.

So, I grew my beard out. Didn’t take long. Now it’s been over a year.

The full beard of comedian Adam Heath Avitable

It’s a fine line, however, between looking like a boy who doesn’t know how to use a razor and a man who’s breaking in the wild horse on his face. My barber visits each week became focused on shaping and edging instead of trimming. Keep the neck clean, keep the head clean, tame the sides, let nature do what she will with the front. The wiry hairs were coarse, and I worried about the pain it might inflict on the women who would deem me worthy of their time. I worried about chafing their cheeks, scraping their thighs, breaking their hearts.

That’s when I learned about the world of beard care. Beard oils and treatments. Products designed purely for softening and taming. Smelling nice and feeling good. Things every man can get behind.

Preferring to support local business as much as I can, I reached out to a company based out of Orlando called Beard Adventures. They provided me with a set of three beard oils to try for free: Lumberjack, Outback, and Black Pepper. I chose those three out of a bevy of beard care scents including spiced rum, bourbon, whiskey smash, mojito, black coffee, and more. I went home, and each day, after a hot shower, I’d choose one and rub the oil thoroughly throughout this monstrosity that has taken over my face, taming it down.

Set of beard oils from beard care company Beard Adventure

I’d travel to my daily haunts – my local restaurants, my local strip clubs, my local comedy club – supporting my local vendors, servers, and single mothers. I’d approach my friends. And strangers, because I felt emboldened.

“Smell my beard,” I’d say. Some were equally bold, planting their nose firmly in and inhaling deeply. Others required convincing. “It’s not a trick, I just want your opinion.” Some still weren’t convinced. “I’ll give you a dollar.” The last resort always worked.

And the responses were unanimous:

“Wow, that smells sexy.”
“I like that!”
“Where did you get that from?”
“Can I smell you again?”
“Amazing!”
“Now do you want a lap dance?”

Beard care can turn you from a sweaty neckbearded child into a sultry badass with a dark past. From an unhygienic nerdblaster to the savvy king of the geeks. From Hagrid to Gandalf. And I wholeheartedly recommend Beard Adventures for all of your beard care needs. And in fact, if you or a loved one has a beard that needs some tender loving care, how about an opportunity to win a free set of three beard oils with beard comb?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and I received the products for free from Beard Adventures. I also got three lap dances, but they were free, mostly because my beard smelled so fucking awesome.

Your birthday.

Stacy, I don’t remember exactly when or why you and I became friends.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no gradual easing into that hot tub, testing the waters, seeing if we recoiled as our knees touched, feeling out the awkwardness and tension until we were comfortable baring it all. We just dove in, our naked souls jockeying for the best seat, immediately basking in the essence that was us. Two teabags in a cup of instant friendship. Not steeped and cured until finally ready to sip. Lipton friends. Delicious friends, with sweetness and tartness and ready for the world.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no series of meetings or conversations during which you and I slowly realized that there was this spark and we clicked. We didn’t meet by sharing a casual laugh over a funny situation or the mutual derision of a snack food. There was no oh-you-like-this-movie-too or i-love-this-song moment. In fact, we didn’t even have the same taste in movies or music or books or art. We appreciated each other’s appreciation for different things, but our interests didn’t bring us together. Your love for the hardcore, my passion for pop; your interest in absurdity, mine in romantic optimism – we were polar opposites in many ways. But despite those divergences, friendship rocketed forward, light speed, throttles to full.

We weren’t, then we were.

What we were was more than friends. Soulfriends. Soulmates. It’s a weird phrase, but it suited us. Our first conversation was as self-referential and fulfilling as each subsequent one. Our talks were deep yet easy, hovering on the precipice of being pretentious and overthought, fascinating and too big, spanning entire universes of ideas and concepts. We were always soulmates. The world just hadn’t lined us up yet so that we could meet. Before we knew, our souls did.

We weren’t, then we were.

Today would have been your 39th birthday. We had big plans for our inevitable he laughs cynically at the concept of inevitability now fortieth birthdays. Big, grandiose, ridiculous, if we were both single at forty we would get married and build a commune of thinkers and creators and writers and artists types of plans. And you know what? It would have fucking happened. When we got together, tremendous things occurred. Mountains shifted, gods bowed on bended knees, and the unlikely became SOP. Our friendship had always been like that. That intensity – that force of nature – that Wonder Twins form of water and form of animal – it had been there from that first nanosecond.

We weren’t, then we were.

Your voodoo dolls hang in my office. Our photo hangs prominently on my wall. That smile – your smile, dives into your eyes and takes over. It’s beautiful. Everywhere I look, I see memories of you and me. The weird. The random. The non-sequiturs that made us laugh. We were always in on The Joke. But then you had to know the punchline before the rest of us.

We weren’t, then we were. 

But now, when I’m foraging for humanity in the wilds of the world, and I see the odd, fucked-up absurdities that were our cornerstones, my heart hurts. No longer can I share those with you. My soul sister – the one who would appreciate them, no matter how dark, how inappropriate or how too-soon. You were the only one with whom I could share that. That was our friendship.

We weren’t, then we were. 

Anastacia Campbell

But that’s not true anymore. There are others now. When I lost you, your other soulmates  – these tendrils you connected to each of us – found me. And I found them. They’re in my life now, and we carry you in our hearts. In our thoughts. In the twisted laughs and fucked-up memes we share. Stephanie. Tom. Krystyna. Racheal. And so many more.

Stacy, it’s our commune! Of a sort. It’s the best kinds of people joined together. By you. And I will always remember exactly when and why all of us became friends.

You were, then you weren’t.

Happy birthday, Stacy. I love you.

Where Avitable lives.