Not All Rainbows Are Happy Ones  

I'm going to recycle an old story for you guys today, a story that I posted almost 3 years ago in one of my many past blogging lives. It's become a personal favorite for those who know me personally, so I feel compelled to find a place for it on these pages. This is also the time of year that it inevitably pops back into my head, probably because the waning, cooling summer directs my thoughts to crisp temperatures and rainy weather. Although I now consider myself a pro when it comes to handling the 8 month "wet season" of the Pacific Northwest, when I first moved up here from Texas I made several purchases hoping to prepare for it. The only one of those purchases you should concern yourself with also happens be the focal point of today's story; a large rainbow umbrella, exactly like the one pictured left.

As far as umbrellas go from a functional standpoint, it was fucking awesome. Most likely meant for golf, it was big, sturdy, and bursting with color. I carried it around a lot that first rainy season, proudly displaying its full Roy G. Biv glory whenever the threat of precipitation arose. That is until one fateful day.

I was walking to my apartment, umbrella out, waiting at the crosswalk. When the light switched and I was all clear to walk, a truck filled with good 'ol boys came squealing around the corner. The one in the passenger seat stood up as to lean his head out over the top of the truck and yelled "YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!" then flung a nearly-full liter of Dr. Pepper in my direction. Thankfully I was able to deflect the soda-turned-missile with my umbrella multi-hued shield of justice, but sadly the same cannot be said for his hurtful comment. That one struck its mark dead center.

Confused and embittered, I returned home and told my brother (who was also my roommate at the time) of the totally random hate crime that had befallen me moments earlier. "Well dude, it is a pretty gay umbrella" was the best he could come up with from the sympathy department. This confused me even further, and only when I asked him to elaborate did he fill me in on the prominent usage of rainbow stickers, flags, and banners by those friendly to and/or part of the LGBT community. Better yet was the fact this was pretty much known by everyone, except in the few places gays had been banished, like North Dakota and the armed forces (Navy notwithstanding).

So that was it, and I haven't owned another umbrella since. For a while this incident made me obsess unnecessarily over the perceived orientation of other items I carried around, like this sweet Wonder Woman backpack/lunchbox combo I used instead of some lame briefcase. But my brother stepped in to help with that one, pointing out that a hot super hero might in fact be the straightest thing a guy could ever be seen with in public. Thanks bro. Still, my insecurities continued to spill over, forcing a self-review of certain personality quirks, such as the way I prefer to pee sitting down for its obvious hygiene benefits. However, in the end I eventually got over it. Did I just say "in the end?" Is that gay? Because that would just be silly. It's not like I'm one of those guys on the down low who cruises highway rest stops on a Saturday night to go cottaging.

Seriously.

Shit.

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12 Reasons to Live

  • mysterg  
    August 28, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    'multi-hued shield of justice' - I love it!

    I find when hurtful comments arise like that, breaking into a chorus of 'I will survive' by Gloria Gaynor helps smooths things over.

  • Monkey Girl  
    August 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM

    I actually own that umbrella.


    Retribution?

    Putting a rainbow flag bumper sticker on all jacked-up trucks owned by men with small penises.

    I get a certain amount of joy knowing that they are driving around with the bumper sticker and can only imagine their reaction when they finally discover it.

    It warms my heart.

  • E  
    August 28, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    Also, the use of umbrella marked you as a non-native.

  • shine  
    August 28, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    So either you were 12 when this happened or you had been living under a rock for most of your life, right?

  • Graygrrrl  
    August 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    This reminds me of the time I was in NY with my mother and she kept pointing out how cheerful and festive it was (not the way she remembered it when she lived there). We went in and out of stores, and she tried to get me to buy a necklace wiht rainbow bottle caps because it was cute. I thenhad to turn my mother towards the front of the store, point at the patrons and say, "See anything a bit different?" You guessed it, we were in the village, walking through the gayborhood. You could actually see the lightbulb go on over my Mom's head. It was precious. Then she was made, because she liked rainbows.

  • Christie  
    August 28, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    I don't care how often I hear this story, I laugh my ass off with each telling.

  • Becky  
    August 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    Given where we live, I'm surprised that someone said that to you, but I have to admit that it I loved the "multi-hued shield of justice." I rarely carry one b/c the wind always blows mine backward, so I just have a hood on my coat and carry a water-proofed back.

  • Josh W.  
    August 28, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    I have a straight friend who gets heckled whenever he walks on main roads (Aurora seems to be a hot spot for that kind of stuff) because of how he dresses and his crazy hairstyles. For being a seemingly gay-friendly region, the Puget Sound sure does produce a fair share of anti-gay douchebags. :\

  • James  
    August 29, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    "Roy G. Biv"

    Hell yes.

    And many thanks for the eloquent and heart warming eulogy. I'm sure it meant the world to Beard that you were there.

  • Heather Rose  
    August 29, 2009 at 10:21 PM

    I'm surprised the homophobic moron redneck spared a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper. That was probably his breakfast. Idiots.

    I would have liked your cheery golf-friendly umbrella. Perhaps the fact that I'm normally oblivious to a lot of accepted norms has something to do with that, but I don't think so.

  • hotpants™  
    August 30, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    I had a feeling I knew where this story was headed as soon as I read that you owned a rainbow umbrella.

  • Lora  
    September 1, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    I don't know why, but I think that umbrellas are for girls. Whenever I see a man with an umbrella I always imagine he is wearing panties.

    Then again, my brain is kinda effed, so who the hell cares what I say. This is an awesome story, mostly because it reinforces my disdain for muscleheads in trucks.

    (Also, I reposted my drunky post as soon as I got to a computer. I screwed it up by trying to edit on my phone. Thank all that is good that things stick in feeds, right? I hate when people have a second thought about a post and take it down. It violates bloglaws)

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