Periodically I report on conversations I have with some of my fellow citizens in Murfreesboro, TN. Most of the time you don’t believe these stories, and accuse me of inventing them. You give me too much credit. Case in point, I overheard a guy in Barnes and Noble saying that we should limit the number of homosexual African men we allow to enter the United States because they all have AIDS. As usual, and without thinking, I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong.
“Do you really think all gay men from Africa have AIDS?”
“Absolutely. They caught it from their monkeys.”
“Their monkeys? What do you mean, ‘their monkeys’?”
“The gover’ment says that AIDS comes from monkeys, and that it started in Africa. AIDS is passed on by sex, so you don’t have to be no genius to figure out that gays have sex with monkeys. So I’m against letting African gays into this country. Especially if they bring their monkeys.”
“What are you talking about? Gay people don’t have monkeys!”
“If they didn’t have no monkeys they wouldn’t have no AIDS. It’s that simple. We don’t have to let monkey-loving gay people into America. And besides I think it’s illegal to own monkeys in this country so we oughtta go after the monkeys in gay communities in America as a health issue. Without their monkeys the gays might learn to like girls.”
“That is insane! Homosexuality has nothing to do with monkeys!”
“Are you gay?”
“Do you own a monkey?”
“No monkey, not gay. You prove my point.”
For a moment I thought he was putting me on. I stopped talking, and was about to laugh in order to say, “OK, I get it. You’re kidding.” But the way he looked at me suggested that he wasn’t kidding. I feared that if I let the conversation drop he would think I was agreeing with his logic. So I calmed down, and said, “Look, this is absurd. Most gay men do not have AIDS, and they certainly don't own monkeys. And while it is true that I am straight and do not own a monkey, ever since I read Tarzan novels when I was a kid I wanted to own one. I thought that would be fun.” I hoped the conversation would now come to a natural close. My mistake.
“Homosexuality isn’t fun. Monkey sex isn’t fun. And if you’re saying Tarzan is gay, you don’t know squat. Tarzan’s got Jane. So his monkey and him aren’t having sex. And if you’ve been thinking about monkeys for that long, maybe you are what they call a closet gay, which is a gay who keeps his monkey in the closet, which is cruel even if you aren’t having sex with it, so I don’t want to talk with you at all.”
The guy got up, motioned to his friend with whom he had been conversing before I so stupidly butted in, and the two of them moved on. I just stood there. I still hoped he was putting me on. I also hope that someday I will get a chimp like Cheetah. Umgawwah.