Alexplorer Goes Time Traveling...

If you're just joining this series already in progress, then it means you don't have a time machine, so here's the short version: Every Tuesday (your present), I come back from my adventures time-traveling around MySpace and fill you in on what happened to people from my past as they keep slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.

Ah, here's one now...



Karl

Then:
Even though I was feeling it less and less, I was still going to church the first couple years I was in college.  There was one right next door to my dorm, and when Janice and I were still friends (i.e., before she started having the jealous fits about Cathleen), it was easy enough for me to go over with her a few other Catholics and have supper for free in the community center afterward.

Karl (not his real name) was always there.  He was one of those guys who seemed like he was older than his years or at the very least was pulled from a movie made in the 1940s.  There was something similarly very black and white about both him and his sense of morality.  He was never preachy, just very quiet, observing all but never really interacting with it.

The exception to this was once when he asked my roommate Jack and I if we wanted to bring up the communion offering.  For those who don't know wtf I'm talking about, kudos to you.  This is a Catholic thing in which traditionally (as I understand it; it's been a while, obviously) a family brings the bread and wine up to the altar at some point in the middle of the mass which the priest will say magic words over to turn into the flesh and blood of Jesus (even though it's obvious to all that it still looks, feels, tastes, and smells exactly like the bread and wine it was when it was uncorked/baked).  Point being, Karl took Jack and me for a family.

Jack and I weren't offended; most folks on campus thought we were a couple, and we often used that perception as a finger to stab at the hot button on rednecks around us.  It was a dangerous game, but I was an idealist who thought that people who are offended by normal everyday things most deserve to be offended all the fucking time.  Jack, on the other hand, probably just liked fucking with people.  However, in this case he didn't really want to bring the offering up because by that time he'd had his fill of dogma that was harder to handle than the bite-size bits of Jesus the priest was going to make out of the offering.  Rather than make a scene, he went ahead and did it anyway.

For a guy like Karl who typically said very little to single us out here spoke volumes he'd never say any other way.  It was confirmation of what the signs already pointed to.  He had a close friendship (or at least we assumed that was as far as it went) with a prominent and well-respected music professor who was obviously gay.  And there's really no reason to hang that closely with a Catholic church if you aren't ordained.  I mean, what?  Was the food in the community center really that good?

Though Jack was still in the closet from himself, we'd always read Karl as closeted in the way anyone who wasn't flamingly gay tended to hang onto: A policy of "Don't ask, don't tell with anything approaching effeminate hand gestures or oblique references to Rosalind Russel's turn in Mame."  After all, this was the early '90s, and even Jim J. Bullock on Hollywood Squares was too much to handle for most of America.  I think anyone who gave it a second thought figured Karl out, but he was so discrete that everyone just gave him a big enough closet to keep his neatly matching set of baggage tucked out of sight.


Now:
He's still doing the church thing as Dean of University Ministry at a major Catholic university.  No word on if he's married.  Signs point to "no."

Hypothetical letter I'll probably never send to him:
Karl,

I don't get it.  You aren't a priest, so what's up with your sex life?  You aren't going to marry a woman; we all know that.  You can't marry a man so long as the Church wants to hang onto the Middle Ages and everything leading up to it.  If you're getting any, you're living in Sin.  If you aren't, that's a crime against nature... or human nature at the very least.

Unless I and everyone else who met you has completely misread you, why not just come right out and live without the lie?  You've spent your life up to the point putting yourself in a good position to actually make a point with who you are.  Now do it.

-Alex.


Copyright 2008 Ale[x]plorer.  All photos are of the actual individuals described above because, seriously, I can't make this shit up.
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