Say My Name

When it is time to name a new human, parents put a lot of effort and deliberation  into picking out just the right name.  This week at my day job, I scheduled appointments for two Dick Johnsons.  Not one, but two, it seems to be a very popular name.   In my life I have met numerous Dick Johnsons and every time, I think to myself, "Really, that's the name someone deliberately gave you?"  I got thinking about this after I met someone with the last name, Sackrider.  Now, Mr. Sackrider cannot help that he has an unfortunate last name, but at least his parent's named him Jason and not Dick.

I don't mean to be crass or juvenile, but it's an easy leap to make, come on.  For one, I can't believe that "Dick" is still a name that is used in this day and age.  Maybe I'm just a little sensitive because of my last name, McPeck.  Now, I love my family, I am proud of my heritage and I stand tall and proud as McPeck, but during high school I was called Pecker.  Let me tell you, being called Pecker is not as amazing as one may think.  Be prepared for me to debunk the myth.

The first time it happened was in junior high.  I was on the bus and a very popular upperclassmen called me Pecker.  All the kids laughed, my face turned red and I tried to brush tears away all the way home. Oh good times.  Eventually, I learned to take the joke.  I had to or I would be eaten alive by merciless teasing.  The more I would get mad the more it would happen.  First it started with McPecker, then it went to Pecker and by my senior year it was the diminutive, Peck.  It was nothing to be on the volleyball court and to hear numerous shouts of, "Go Pecker!"  My mom was so proud.

Oddly enough, I have to thank the phallic moniker for developing my twisted sense of humor.  It taught me to not take everything in life so seriously.  I learned that levity was a good thing and that the best comedy is organic; it is born out of truth and honesty.  There is a lesson somewhere in all of this about acceptance.  Learning to accept a situation is different than being comfortable with a situation.  But if you can first accept, then you can process honestly and most often more effectively.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So to all of my fellow peeps out there who may have a name that is fodder for humor, I say, stand proud.  Take the joke, smile, laugh it could be worse, it could always be worse, you could have a normal name.

Pecker Power, 1994 Clayton, Wisconsin, State Champs!

Today someone at work looked at me and said, "Are you a lesbian?" And I was like yeah?  To which she responded, "I couldn't tell."  This made me laugh and I was glad that she just asked me.  I don't have a problem with people asking and I have no problem telling.  I find coming out at work a very frustrating experience and I'll tell you why.  Straight people are annoying.  Just kidding!  A lot of my friends are straight-ish.  Feeling compelled, to announce to the workplace, your sexual orientation is frustrating.  In my mind, it doesn't matter!  But, if I want to share anything personal, I'm going to out myself.  It's hard to know what to do.  I don't want to be a poser and lie. I can't wait, until I can say, "My wife and I or my girlfriend and I did this...." (hopefully not in the same sentence or I would be living a drama filled existence) and it's not followed by, "Oh, are you gay?" 

So here is the way I handle it:  I let people find out.  At first I just learn my job and that's all I'm concerned about.  I believe in keeping a strict separation between my work and private life.  This means no work friends on Facebook, no exceptions.  Now, this isn't to hide my gayness, but because I am very political and I don't need corporate drones, going over my digital life, looking a reason to discriminate.  This is not to say that people at work don't know.  If you become my friend, you will find out, because I will share stories of my life with you.  Eventually, enough people find out and although people have good intentions, others will more than likely find out and that's okay.  I just don't want to feel like I have to say, "Hi. My name is Sarah and I am a lesbian, do you know where the supply closet is?"

Unfortunately there is still quite a bit of discrimination in the workplace.  It is amazing what you hear people say when they don't know your status.  Anytime I start a new job, I like to lay low and get a feel for what people's real politics are, not what they "think" they should say.  I want to know who I'm dealing with.  In this regard, I feel like a fly on the wall or like I am undercover agent.  I've actually had people get mad at me when they find out that I'm gay, because I didn't tell them earlier.  Um sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable by not sharing an intimate detail of my life with someone I hardly know.

Nothing is perfect and our world is evolving.  Personally, I feel it is important to be out at work, because I feel the more visible we are the more discrimination will lessen.  Just look at other civil rights issues, if they weren't loud about it, no one would really care.  Change, by nature is uncomfortable. There is no right way or wrong way to tell people you are gay, you just have to decide what is right for you and follow your gut. 

It took me along time to come to terms with my own gayness.  I worried so much what other people would think.  I worried that people wouldn't like me or that people would be mad, that I waited so long, that maybe they would think I lied to them.  In the end, I lost very few friends, I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin and my mental health has dramatically improved.  I guess the bottom line is: do what you feel you need to do.  I would never tell someone that you're not a "good gay," if you're not out at work; however on the other hand you aren't part of the solution.  I know that seems harsh, but it's just how I see it. 

When I get frustrated by slow moving legislature or antiquated ideologies,  I have to remind myself that some people still think that blacks and whites shouldn't marry and that Native American's are just "complainers," so I don't expect things to move too fast.  Slow and steady wins the race, just look at Betty White.

Wait a Minute

Just like cursive handwriting, I fear that learning patience is being thrown by the wayside, thanks to the phenomenal advances with technology. Just ask Gun's and Roses, all you need is a little patience. In my day you had to wait.  Wait to get a letter, wait to get a phone call, wait in line to buy concert tickets.  Now everything is at our finger tips, it is fast, cheap and plentiful.  It is challenging to even remember a life with out texting, mobile GPS or instant downloads. I am very glad that my generation still got to experience the pain of waiting.  I feel patience is becoming a lost art, like macramé or manners. 
having two teenagers  has provided me with first hand what this tech savvy culture has done to these mini humans.  I mean, seriously, experience an internet outage for a few hours and you would think Armageddon has arrived.  There have been a few times that I have forgotten to pay the Mediacom bill and the texts and phone calls that I received while at work were straight up hilarious. 
Mom, call home immediately!
Why?   What happened? 
The cable's out and so is the internet, so I can't even watch Netflix :( 
Read a book, color a picture, clean your room; it will be okay.
You're so unfair.
I know.
And so it goes.  On the other hand technology has made it easier to connect.  Kid's these days can reach out and talk to each other easier because sometimes it is less stressful to text, type or Skype than to speak directly to someone else.  I know that had I had access to the internet as teenager, I would have been able to deal with my sexuality a lot easier and probably would have come out much earlier,dramatically altering  my life as I know it today. The community that the internet has fostered, to enact social change; such as, ending bullying, supporting LGBT youth or fundraising to support artist world wide has been amazing, almost unbelievable.

Technology has allowed us to see into the homes of other cultures thousands of miles away.  It has allowed us to come together and build more of a global community and for that I am glad my children have instant access.  We are definitely in a new age.  The world seems to be moving faster than we can catch up with.  Connecting is great, easy access is wonderful; which is probably why crotch-less panties will never go out of style.  I just hope this generation can still learn to smell the flowers, but I shouldn't worry, I'm sure there will be an app for that.

Drop it Like it's Hot

There’s a lot of talk about “coming out” at work but what about what “comes out” at work.  I’m talking about proper potty protocol in the workplace.  Just ask anyone, well anyone, who will discuss such things; having to drop the kids off at the pool, while at work can sometimes be a very frustrating adventure.
Let’s just all be honest.  No one is super jazzed to drop a load at work.  It is a very personal event; some couples don’t even do the deed when they are near each other.  Unfortunately for my lady, that is not the case in our house, but back to the workplace.  Most of us have a number one bathroom and a number two bathroom.  The number two bathroom is usually a single stall-er, tucked away someplace in the dark recess of a hall way or basement.  The number one bathroom is the one everyone uses, all the time.  But what do you do when you don’t have an option?  You plan, but even when you plan, things may go astray.  Just ask Sarah Bachman, things just didn't come out the way she hoped.
“I was just in the bathroom and someone didn’t light a match, so I lit the match and then when I walked out, the sales guys were waiting, so they thought I was the pooper!  I’m not the pooper!”  This is what my co worker, leaned in to tell me this morning.  I had to giggle, because we’ve all been there before; go in the bathroom, it smells like something dead has been rotting in the hot sun, for a few hundred years, so you hold your breath, do the deed and when you leave, someone is standing outside the door. Damn.  What to do?  You want to inform the person waiting that you were not the offender, but then you don’t because you don’t want them thinking, “Yeah, right.”  You know,  the whole “whoever dealt it smelled it” phenomenon.
The worst  is the multiple stall, multiple sinks and large mirrors.  This allows for people to stand in front of and do their hair, reevaluate hair lines and gossip about lovers, children and co workers.  This situation allows for “waiters” and waiters mean witnesses.  Now, no one wants an audience while sitting on the throne.  Well, no one that doesn’t have a B.M. fetish, that is.  So what is the best course of action?  You can bear the shame and just do it and walk out with your head held high.  You can wait until someone flushes and then bear down with all of your might or you can pray people use the hand dryer, a lot.
Bottom line, having to go to work sucks.  I know people who will hold it all day, to avoid a void at work.  Now this seems un reasonable and un healthy to me.  We all do it, so what's with the stigma?  I mean, just like, stalking your ex on Facebook, we all act like we don't do it.  Maybe one day we will be able to poop freely, without anxiety or fear of public shame, but until then, I suggest matches and a healthy sense of humor.

Moo Cow

This morning my best friend and I were discussing my blog.  That sentence alone should tell you the depths of which I love this woman.  Who else will spend Sunday morning with you discussing your blog?  Only your best friend.  She finally asked about the title: Renegade Hippo.  I hope you’re not making fun of yourself, she says.  I wanted to tease her and ask her if she was insinuating that I was fat, but I decided to let her off the hook this morning.  She was getting ready to spend the day with her family celebrating her sister’s birthday.  Her sister who is a model/actress in L.A., I figured her inner child had already had enough stress this morning; I didn’t want her slipping over the edge.  See, I’m a good friend too. 

I was watching a documentary about Pablo Escobar, because my lady is fascinated with drug lords.  She also likes, race cars, techno music and mobsters, just your average, ordinary, sweet Midwestern gal.  I call her my Princess of Darkness.  But I digress.  Sorry.  So back to our drug pal, Pablo.  He was in love with animals and had his own wildlife preserve on his property.  When shit was going down and he was finally being captured, he let loose all of his animals, including some hippopotamus’s.
They cut to a news broadcast and the story was about renegade hippos terrorizing the locals.  Now that’s not funny, but the terminology “renegade hippos” made me laugh.  It made me think of myself.  I never have felt like I fit in, anywhere.  I could observe, watch, learn and assimilate but feeling like I belonged, no hardly ever.  Eventually, I usually just go my own way and if you try to stop me, I snarl. The hippopotamus looks so cute and round and docile, but in fact they are very aggressive creatures.  You don’t want a raging hippo coming after you, I guarantee.   

I feel like society wants me to fit into a box that has never been quite the right size, so there’s always a leg or arm hanging out.  I’m speaking metaphorically; society has never actually put me in a box it just set me up to feel like an ocelot.  I am gay, but don’t look gay enough.  I’m a woman, but have the mouth of a trucker.  I’m a mother but don’t want to turn my entire life over to the experience.  I am also nice.  I try to be a decent and kind human being.  However, like the hippo, sitting in the river, I look round, docile, maybe even cute, but set me off and it’s on.  Sometimes, it’s like I can’t even help myself, I get so worked up, it’s much better to steer clear and let the hippo wind down. Don’t poke at me if you don’t want to get bit.

"Renegade Hippo" simply provided me an image that allowed me to laugh at myself.  Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, you might as well just call it a night.  So maybe, just maybe, remember that, the next time you ask think to ask me:  Are you the woman in the relationship?
"We are both women!  That's kind of the nature of the beast, you know?"
  #beating my head against a brick wall.