The War of Northern Aggression

For a few days in the middle of my Red River Gorge outing, I climbed with random heterosexuals.  It’s been a mixed bag.  For some, I’m a space alien, and when I say things like, “when you refill the orange juice bottles with tap water it tastes exactly like cum,” they look at me funny.

The better breeders are the ones who are a little bit weird in their own right.

My favorite may have been Judson, at Great Wall.  “I like that Texaco sticker on your helmet,” he says.  “That really tells those hippies to shut the fuck up.”

“You got it, Judson.”   Judson is from Winchester, where I ate once for my birthday at the best restaurant in town.  I had frog legs.  They taste like fishy chicken.

I think the reason we Southerners never claimed Kentucky as part of the South, aside from their picking the wrong side in the War of Northern Aggression, is that it still has too many people who act like non-Southerners, and say really non-Southerner things, like:

“I really like to visit out here to see how these people live, how simple it is.  We forget how to live simple sometimes,” as though we don’t know how to do anything besides work gas station tills and eat beef jerky while standing watch over our ill-kempt lawns.

Does the rest of America not realize how complicated our lives actually are?  Are they unaware that while they brag about the PSI of their espresso machine, we’re operating industrial scale moonshine distilleries in our basements?  Northerners get elated when they figure out how to adjust a grow lamp.  Our most poorly educated citizens can build a meth lab using the leftover parts of any pre-1998 Chevy, a plastic spoon, and a nine volt battery. You know who makes hydroponic marijuana farms in the South?  Children.

Meth causes you to go to Great Clips.

Judson: “Do you smoke?”

Me: “No.”

Judson: “I only smoke when I drink.  But I drink a lot.”

If Kentucky was entirely Judson, then we would give them readmission to the Southern estate.

But instead, they get caught up in ridiculous things that only non-southerners could get into, like grim wars over permadraws.  Judson would never get caught up in a 37 page flame war over permadraws at the Motherlode.  They are clearly in agreement that we HAVE TO DECIDE whether routes have steel permadraws or no permadraws EVER, because ZOMFG if someone puts up ALUMINUM draws and they stay there the sky will open up and flaming meteors of shit will rain down on us until we’re lit afire, trapped in some eternally burning portent of feces.  Or worse, the aesthetics of the Motherlode’s ampitheater will be upset by the permadraws; moreso, than, say, that goddamn overturned truck carapace blown up in front of it.  Which, by the way, is my favorite thing about the Motherlode, because it’s a symbol that at least somewhere out there in Kentucky lives a piece of the Southern spirit, the ultimate tenet of which is driving vehicles off cliffs at high speeds.  (Thelma and Louise, Smokey and the Bandit…)

Because in Arkansas, driving off a cliff to your death is a happy ending.

In the (actually) Southern climbing regions (e.g. Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama) where climbers climb while smoking and belayers belay while drinking, we would never cut each other’s throats over permadraws.  I debate the reasons for why we don’t fight over it.  Maybe it’s because we don’t have an internet forum.  Maybe it’s because we’re too busy rebuilding our meth labs when they blow up, or finding our family heirlooms when the house gets blown over by a tornado.

But I still wonder what happens to the northerners when they drive down 75 and discover the land where permadraws are made of webbing (heavens!) and aluminum (the horror!).  Perhaps they’ll start viewing us as some kind of very very large poor South American farming village whose only hope for economic freedom would be the tourism generated by retrobolting all of our routes.

Well, I say this to you Northerners, before you get too far down 85, 75, or too far east on 20: when the webbing gets worn, you replace it with webbing, and when the carabiner gets worn, you just stick another one on there, (unless you’re from here, in which case, you do whatever the fuck you want) or we’ll show you just how “simple” we Southerners are when it comes to expressing our anger; namely, by crafting an elaborate comeuppance; tragically interrupted when we drive off a cliff cause we’re so high on meth.   Because if you fuck with the Little River Canyon, you best look up and listen for a clutch letting out overhead.  If the sun is out, you may also look down, if you can recognize the shadow of a ’66 Thunderbird.  Your helmet is not rated for convertibles.

Sincerely,

The South.

Now how will you afford that Miguel's breakfast burrito!

I am like, so serious right now.

There's a force of revolutionaries in Muir Valley fighting for your right to pee anywhere. They're armed with sharpies and wieners.

Today there was a climbing incident.

About a half-mile away across the valley, there was a climber on an 80 foot slab on top-rope.  It was a 5.6.  I wouldn’t say the route conformed to the ADA specifications for wheelchair access, but it was close.  Normally one wouldn’t notice a climber a half-mile away, but she was WAAAAAAAAIIIIIILING.

It was like a scene out of Hostel II.  It wasn’t even crying, because using the word “crying” can be mistaken for “whining”, whereas this was full blown blubbering, convalescing, assailing the entire world with tears and words gurgling out of her mouth like she was chewing mouthfuls of Alka Seltzer tablets.  When we first heard her, we thought maybe she was leading some epic trad route and had fallen and sheared her arm clean off, rather than looking over to see her standing at a no hands rest with a top-rope tighter than a steel cable.

“I don’t think I can do this!  I just don’t think I can do this!” (Crying.) “I’m just not sure about this. This isn’t going well at all!” (More crying.)  “I don’t want to come down!”  (Crying.)  “I’m going to do this!”  (Crying.) “I don’t know if I can do this!”  (Still crying.)

So, this went on for over an hour, after we had led and cleaned five or so pitches, the whole time listening to what I *would* call a meltdown, but I’m pretty sure nuclear reactors melt down faster.

“It sounds like she’s trapped in her own personal nightmare.  Why haven’t they just lowered her?”

“I didn’t know it was even possible to cry that long.  I thought your tear ducts ran out or something.  My kids max out at like twenty minutes, even when I don’t let them watch Builder Bob.”

I had enough.

“Just lower off already, Jessssus Chrissst!”

Just when I thought she was loud while crying, she somehow yells loud enough that it feels like someone’s in my ear from a half mile away, “I’m seriously going to come over and beat the shit out of you!  Seriously!”  I looked to my left, thinking she had teleported.  I had taken umbrage!  This would not go unretorted!

“I could give you a microphone, maybe you could cry louder!”

“I am seriously going to beat them up!  I am so serious!  I cannot believe they’re yelling at me!  I’m seriously going over there after this!  I’m serious!”

“What’s slowing you down?  Is there a bear?”

“I’m seriously going to beat the shit out of you!”

“Does the bear have a gun?”

“I’m serious!”

“Show me on the doll where the bear touched you.”

"NO REDPOINT 4 U RAAAAAAAWR!"

Our party became concerned that she, or more likely, her belayer, who if he had any sense would have munter-muled the belay to a tree an hour ago, might come over, so I changed out of my bright pink t-shirt to conceal my identity.  I wasn’t really concerned about being able to take someone who can’t climb a 5.6 on top-rope, but we felt that if she was able to convince a group of people to hang out with her for more than five minutes, she could convince the police of anything if I dislocated  her arm.  Better to just avoid the possibility altogether.  I remember once when a girl hit me in high school, and then, being the feminist that I am, I punched her, and then I got lectured by various people for like a week about how “you’re just not supposed to hit girls even if they hit you.”

“You know, she cried after you hit her.”

“Maybe that’ll teach her not to punch people she can’t take in a fight.”

My party was hoping to see her at Miguel’s, but they didn’t see her, so we debated putting up a post in the Missed Connections section of Craigslist.

“Me: heckling fag in pink t-shirt.  You: hot mess having an epic meltdown on a 5.6 slab on top-rope.  My group really wants to know the beta for the stopper move up there.  Kthx!”

Quitcherjerb!

So I did what all great climbers do when they’re running short on money: I quit my job.

“Anything else lined up?” everyone asks.

No.  Nothin’.  My God, should I have not ignored those 500 invites to LinkedIn that I got? I could be like, so linked in right now!  I could be spamming tens of thousands of acquaintances of acquaintances my resume!  And they could be spamming theirs to me!  And we could all spam each other!  And I could spam people who aren’t on LinkedIn with invites for me to be their first friend on LinkedIn!

Ok, so I left on far better terms than this, and I was able to pee whenever I wanted, but I just couldn't not use this.

So I take solace in the typical things people take solace in during times of unemployment.  Mostly, “at least I’m not some poor child in Mauritania,” and “if those people at the Red can live on $100 a month, I can handle this!”

The solace doesn’t last long.  What if I don’t want to loot through Miguel’s dirtbagger/left-behind/freegan box for the half empty jar of pesto?  What if I like my 4G cell plan, my Grindr Xtra, my pork butt?  I don’t wanna be a copy writer for an SEO contractor!  I’m too pretty to depend on winning ABS Nationals to have enough gas money to get me to the next box of half-empty pesto!  I can’t even win ABS Nationals!  The Gay Games aren’t until like 2014, they probably aren’t awarding money, climbing probably won’t be included, and Mikey or Timmy might show up!  And then I’d be stuck in Cleveland, whose only idea of a tourist attraction is the Gay Games!  Maybe Cleveland’s great, I’ve never been.  But I’m too old to get back on the pole!

So, to avoid the search for a new job, I’ve been devoting myself to the great distractions of reworking the Homo Climbtastic web site and planning for the next convention.  This, however, brings its own frustrations.

First, planning the conventions involves a lot of talking to potential attendees, and if there’s one rule of talking to potential attendees, it’s that the more they want to talk to you, the exponentially less likely they are to actually come.  Second rule is that somehow, someway, the HC web site or facebook group or our reputation or something does a magical job of scaring away the “masc dudes seeking other st8 acting guys to just chill with”.  It’s an amazing phenomenon, but also poorly understood.  You probably wonder how it is that the people who show up are who they are, and somehow there’s a certain element missing.  Where did they go?

Well, usually, the conversation loosely follows them asking me if there are attractive masculine guys there, and me saying,

“yes, but if that’s the only reason you’re coming, the people there will probably laugh at you, crush your projects, and joke about rubbing their groins down with chalk and teabagging you.  and that’s just the women.”  (i would use the phrase “cis women”, but they just get confused and i don’t feel like explaining it.)

and then they say, “oh that’s cool.  so lots of hot guys?”

“yes.”

“what’s the climbing like?”

“like, stiff 5.10 i guess.”

and then it’s something about how they’re really better at kayaking or fishing or monster truck rallying or whatever but they just bought one of those hand squeezey things at the athletic store and they think if they use it everyday they totally might be totally able to go, cause, you know, that’s all that’s holding them back from 5.10, their lack of resolve to use that little hand squeezy thing on a more regular basis.

First I'm gonna teabag you, then I'm gonna spike this football into your nuts!

so after the brief thought that i’ll never get that hour of my life back, i turn to trying to improve this free-ish wordpress web site, which led to the recent concern on the Homo Climbtastic Facebook comment boards about me boldly removing the page devoted to photos of hot shirtless climbers in HC.

“WHY?” asked Timmy.  “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?”  He even posted it twice, and I’m not sure if it was to express his intense dissatisfaction, or because his IPad posted it twice, which would make sense, because his IPad is gayer than he is.  (And by “gayer”, I’m not referring to anachronistic notions of being effeminate, but simply to the desire to suck cock like a packed blunt.)

Anyfuck (I’m co-opting Kelly’s phrase) I know I’m being hypocritical, cause I know I go to Lah Fitness and do my little roman chair exercises and crunches on the inflatable ball and such, but it’s just that sometimes, when I see pictures advertising gay sporting whatever…

I've been waiting for the moment I could break out the poses that don't need one hand to hold the iphone! And yeah I'd fuck the one in the middle too. Sue me.

…I just wanna die.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to be able to walk into the mall and see Rafael Nadal in his underwear and stop in front of the poster for about five minutes having a mind wank, in fact, I think that’s exactly how I want it to remain.  What I want to forestall is the homo world’s trending into this strange territory where gay men keep seeking and getting modeling gigs, getting paid minimum wage, and listing their Facebook occupation as “model” because some creepster photographed them all day for about 5% of what a stripper would make if they kept the g-string on.  Someone needs to step in and tell these poor children on the ab machines that the only way to make money simply by being a good looking man (after discounting the cost of roids and the gym membership) is by either working the pole or selling real estate.  And the market for real estate is not rebounding, if these emails I keep getting from my agents about how it’s definitely rebounding are any indication.

I suppose I could be swayed if Timmy took some photos that were so provocative that I just couldn’t not post them.

Apologies to those who’ve only known me since 2011–seems I haven’t been myself, and I’m sorry for only letting you experience the docile simulacrum. (I should have taken the absence of haters as a warning sign!)  It just took me a hot minute to remember how to chalk my groin.  Welcome to 2012, mother fuckers!

Bowser y'all!