When I was a teenager, I had a wonderful mentor who helped me tremendously in becoming the public speaker and champion of the logical alternative that I am today. But later, when I was an adult, I learned he was accused of “indiscretions” with a juvenile and fired from his job.
Sound familiar? Let’s not talk about it. Let’s just let the shame we feel about the chipped paint on our own superhero statues hold us upright, hard as tack, keeping our ribs clamped tightly against the bounds of our hearts, which will shrivel more with each passing year until we too can fail just as spectacularly as our heroes.
But are our heroes really all that terrible? Maybe they’re just humans, perhaps innocent of everything except perfection?
My mentor, the one accused, was only accused in the court of parental opinion: he was never charged with anything. He might even have been completely framed for a petty political workplace reason, and it worked, because he’s a closeted gay man in a state where that still isn’t acceptable the way it is in our protected enclaves of California and the liberal West Coast. I may never know.
I can’t help but think: maybe it is I who failed him?
Maybe heroes actually make us happy when they fall, because in our hearts, we really know it is we who are failing them. The only thing even easier than simply failing is to point out the failings of someone else, a big star that we can lampoon and mock. Remember Pee Wee Herman?
Paul Reubens may not have deserved the public shaming he received for being caught masturbating in public. But why does no one bring up the fact that as a very young teenager, he was accused of shooting his own uncle in what is still technically an unsolved murder case that was huge, even for its day?
Of course, the section of newspaper highlighted above doesn’t really reference an uncle murder, because that’s just a work of fiction on my part. And if you liked that, you’ll love the fiction, poetry, and general literary amazingness of all the below performers and readers, which you’ll get to hear if you show up at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, at Stories Books:
Joshy Fadem (wrote 356 stories in as many days!)
Nancy Lynée Woo (founded Lucid Moose Lit)
Cyrus Sepahbodi (Mad About Ink maestro)
David Gale (the man behind the man behind Mad About Ink)
VerBS (rapper and regal beagle of maverick music events)
Krista Husar (performer and poet!)
Mecca Vazie Andrews (Sex Stains)
Rebecca Gonzales (NOT the Rebecca from the Bible!)
Bhella Bell (the spirited stranger!)
Raelee Nikole (singer/songwriter siren!)
The whole thing is hosted by DM Collins and Art Currim and wrapped up in a heaping helping of schadenfreude all made to order for the fan of fiction and the peon of poetry! We got readers and rappers and singers and word-slingers, enough to make you forget all about that theme we talked about earlier, and the fallen heroes, and the sadness, and the lies. A lot of lies. Let’s talk about those brutal statues of doom who hurt you with their lies. Lies.
And stay even after we’re done, because at 5 p.m. is an amazing party/reading for the release for the new Jabberjaw book, hosted by friend of A Rrose in a Prose Michelle Carr (and featuring an amazing assortment of musical mavericks)!