28 June 2013

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Enzo got this book from the library called Creepy Riddles. What do sea monsters like to eat? Fish and ships! But a lot of the plays on words, he doesn’t get. Like, Why did the little fiends join the protest march? They thought it was a demon-stration!

Me: “Do you know what a demonstration is?”

Enzo: “Like, how you do something?”

Me: “Yeah, but sometimes it also means when people march in the street to ask for what they want.”

Enzo: “Ooh. Demon-stration!”

Me: “If you were going to demonstrate, what would you demonstrate for?”

Enzo: “GATORS OF THE WORLD! STAY ANIMAL!” And then he quickly adds, “I mean crocodiles, yeah, crocodiles.”

Something about his quick answer—so ready with the slogan!—made me think those words had passed through his mind before. Or he knew more than I thought. Later when he was in bed I asked him, “Did you already know what a demonstration is?”

“I know about a protest.”


The Music of the Vampire.”

“Scooby Doo?”

“Yeah, they had, like, big signs and stuff.”

“Are there lots of times when I explain things you already know?”

“Pretty much.”


One thing we haven’t figured out how to explain is the whole marriage thing. When we get married again next month, what do we tell him? He has no idea right now that we’re any different from anyone else. Maybe we should just leave it that way.

I remember learning in school that Black People and White People Are Equal, which is when I found out they weren’t, not really, or why would we be talking about it? Later we learned about slavery and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, but it was always presented like, And now that’s all over! What a total lie. (Think of that other big case that came down this week on the Voting Rights Act, which I haven’t read, but I gather the practical effect is going to be that we won’t have one for a while. And that the majority’s reasoning is something like, And now that’s all over! Still a total lie. Well all right, all right, I should read the decision.)

Anyway, I don’t want to make some speech about how It’s Just As Good to Have Two Moms (or two dads) and we’re just as good a family, and now even the Supreme Court says so, and have Enzo think for the first time, “Who says we’re not as good?”

Anyway, I’m going to make Teresa explain it, and it’ll be fine. I can tell I’m over thinking this.


One tiny thing more. I don’t mean to quibble, but dismissing the Prop 8 case for lack of standing was such a cop out. And of course the real cop out was Schwarzenegger and Brown refusing to defend Prop 8 in the lower courts. They’re supposed to execute the laws. If they have to hold their nose (noses) while they do it, too bad, part of the job. Since we have these idiot ballot initiatives, someone should have to stand up for them in court. And besides, it would have been so satisfying to win it on the merits. Those lawyers in the trial court made such a beautiful record. Obama managed to thread that needle perfectly in the other case. He just kept the woman’s money. Three hundred grand at stake–sounds like a case or controversy to me.

Reading over what’s I’ve just written, I see that it sounds like I’m making some kind of comparison between four hundred years of slavery and racism and what we’ve experienced. They’re not the same. Not even close. Paying extra taxes is a huge bummer, but that’s all it is.

Still, I can’t wait to file my taxes this year, our taxes. And just think—now we can die!