“On Catlin Jenner (and Julius too)
With all the recent fascination surrounding Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner transitioning from male to female, I initially had zero interest in weighing in on any of the brouhaha, especially since my friend “Barbara” (formerly Bert), a brilliant senior design engineer, sat me down years ago in Plano, Texas to school, allow me to be clueless and stupid, and inquisitive about transgender issues. Thus for me it was been there, done that while I turned my attention to the current feeding frenzy on ex-NAACP head Rachael Dolezal, a born white but wannabe black woman.
That was until the other day when I recalled a bunch of us talking about “Julius” a few years ago.
“Julius has gotten weird on us,” was how one of our fellow vacationers, the husband, phrased it. “Yeah, we’ve been knowing him well over 20 years and now he’s made a complete spectacle of himself,” chimed in his wife.
The situation? A large group of us were on vacation together when Julius came up during an after dinner conversation over Bud Lite, white wine and strawberry cheesecake. Now in truth, I can’t say for certain that I recall the context of the conversation and how the subject of Julius came up in the first place. But it did.
When pressed, our vacationer husband and wife explained that Julius was now off into the “weird” “freaky” and “bizarre” world of cross-dressing. “In fact,” said husband, “you can find him most Saturday nights dressed in drag on the streets of the gay section of town.”
Said wife, “We don’t know if he’s gay, lesbian, transsexual, queer or what, but we do know that he’s real weird.”
I maintained a poker face while others laughed as husband via limp wrist, shrill voice and feminine gyrations depicted a “girly” Julius.
“And the thing about it,” said wife, “is that Julius is technically brilliant.”
A second or two after her utterance of “technically brilliant,” the conversation shifted back to Julius’ “weirdness.”
Wait, wait, wait, I stepped in, asking for the evidence of that brilliance.
“Well, the truth is that Julius is on call for a number of west coast high tech firms on a contractual basis,” explained wife. “He owns a home here and one in California.”
“Yeah, I don’t know what his area of technical expertise is, but apparently Julius is a genius in his field,” added husband. “And filthy rich, yet as weird as they come,” finished up wife.
I retreated to my poker face as the conversation, at least for the next ten minutes or so, returned to vivid descriptions of Julius’ weirdness. After the last round of laughter you could sense that the group was about to move on to another subject.
That’s when I made my move.
“Before we move on, let me tell you what I just observed – and timed!” I began. “Over the past twenty minutes that we’ve spent talking about Julius, did anyone notice that the majority of the time – almost 99 % of that time, in fact – the conversation focused on his weirdness and the remaining time on his technical brilliance? I’m just asking.”
The table fell silent. Eyes dropped downward or uncomfortably met other eyes.
“Oh, oh,” whispered wife.
“Well, I, uh, I didn’t mean, shucks, humm……” said a flustered husband.
“Hey, I’m just asking,” I repeated myself.
“Yeah, just asking!”
(c) Terry Howard is a writer, trainer and story teller who revels, reads, writes and fishes in Douglasville, Georgia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org