Sometime last Saturday, the swelling got to the point that I felt like I was choking on my own throat. My tonsils grew to the size of robin eggs. I don't mean the bird, either, I mean Burt Ward.
Before this, I didn’t even know where my tonsils were. I always thought tonsils were some mythical invention created as a plot device for television shows like The Brady Bunch. It turns out they are real and they react badly when infected with bacteria. Even with antibiotics, my body has taken ten days to fight off the infection.
Of course, this was perfect timing for work on the Never Ending Research Project of Doom. Why not lose several precious days to make really sure that it is never ending? Then again, the pain and fever kinda made the NERPD seem like a low priority.
Something else about strep? I couldn’t sleep – at all. The pain was too severe. This left me looking to sweet, sweet television to soothe the pain. Let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing on at three in the morning, except the occasional rerun of Roseanne and infomercials for “magic” towels that soak up twice their weight in water. I think that I might have ordered two in a fit of fever.
Falling asleep worried me anyway because I feared that my throat would swell shut and then I would die. Being on the macabre side, I then wondered what my obituary would look like. I am pretty sure it would be along the lines of this:
GayProf, the most desirable man on the blogosphere, died of a super strain of throat-eating bacteria yesterday in his cottage in Midwestern Funky Town. He was thirty-three – the same age as Jesus when he died. Many people are already drawing the parallels.
GayProf was unsuccessfully treated by doctors with a round of antibiotics, proving his parents’ proclamations from his childhood that doctors didn’t do anything and weren’t worth the waste of money. It is said that he had only visited a doctor’s office around a dozen times in his entire life.
In recent months, GayProf lived in quasi-seclusion as he worked on the brilliant, but unfinished, Never Ending Research Project of Doom. Some people suggested that his blog, the vehicle of his tremendous fame and popularity, had suffered as a result. A few even stated flatly that he should really “pull the plug” on it. “What CoG needs,” one friend recently told him, “is a bullet.” He probably feels very guilty for that now.
Although he was one of the most adored bloggers (among those who were gay, male, part-Latino, and a professor), he was a shy and unassuming presence in real life (though still really glamorous). Many people considered him the intellectual and spiritual leader of our nation. Others thought he was just some goofball guy who liked Wonder Woman a little too much. Whatever the case, he is dead now.
The nation is in shock and mourning. "I never expected that he could die," one citizen exclaimed, "Or, if he was going to die, I thought it would be from TaB related cancer."
Not much is known about GayProf’s early life, except stories about his birth and upbringing in his beloved New Mexico. Those who knew him best said that he gave a prayer each morning thanking the goddess that he was not be born anywhere else in the U.S.
Untangling the myths from the reality for the early part of his adult life has vexed tabloids and biographers for decades. Most accounts suggest that the people of New Mexico decided to send an emissary to the rest of the U.S. to teach them their superior ways of being and knowing. After an exhausting athletic competition, GayProf became that emissary. A less realistic story states that he simply decided to attend graduate school.
Whatever the case, he worked hard in his role as emissary, often living in the most conservative and backwards parts of the nation as a sort of reverse-missionary. At the tender age of 21, he entered graduate school. It was his first challenge in this new role. GayProf (then fighting injustice as GayGradStudent) was unexpectedly surrounded by ultra-conservative white evangelicals. Coincidentally, GayProf was frequently seen with his best friend in the town’s local bars trying to quash out the pain of it all.
GayProf’s biggest challenge, however, appeared when he accepted a job in the dreaded state of Texas. Never before had GayProf witnessed such extreme and blatant racism, sexism, homophobia, gluttony, and meanness as the people of Texas provided. “Never trust a state that assassinated a president,” GayProf often stated.
It was during that pivotal moment that GayProf took his message of peace, love, and sensible shoes to the global internet. He covered a wide-ranging array of topics, including gay porn, Charlie's Angels, racism in popular culture, Charlie's Angels, misogyny, and circumcision (and occasionally a post on Charlie's Angels).
GayProf's real identity became the subject of much speculation. Many people even theorized that there was not a single "GayProf." Instead, they imagined that there was an entire legion of GayProfs who all contributed to the brilliant blog. Well, until people actually thought two seconds about it. I mean, how many gay, Latino professors are there in the world? His "secret" identity was kinda obvious and maybe even a bit lame.
Fame brought attention. An avalanche of articles and television programs obsessively followed GayProf’s fashion choices, his tastes in art, music and literature, and his thoughts on politics and history. A few complained that GayProf wore his sexuality on his sleeve, literally:
In private, though, GayProf had become exhausted fighting losing battles to make Texas civil. He found reprieve at an institute in the Boston area. Though only there for one year, news of his death has crippled the historic city. Plans are already underway to change the name of Beacon Hill to GayProf Hill. “Our city was founded to be an example of the best in human endeavor – to be a beacon for all others to emulate,” one Bostonian stated, “If GayProf didn’t embody that spirit, I don’t know who did – or who could.”
Unwilling to return to the cesspool-state of Texas once his year in Boston was up, GayProf took a new position in the more laid-back atmosphere of Big Midwestern University at Midwestern Funky Town. For the first time in his academic career, he found a somewhat serene environment to explore historical questions. “What I remember most about GayProf,” one colleague stated, “was that he really knew how to make a cocktail. I mean, did he have a drinking problem? Totally – But it was like drinking heaven when he pulled out his shaker – and he was a good bartender, too.”
In his final days, former students had gathered on the lawn of his modest cottage burning candles and singing songs of praise. “GayProf was a certain type of professor,” one crying student confided, “You weren’t necessarily in love with him when you were actually in his class -- and his star-spangled short-shorts took some time getting used to. He also made you do a lot of work. Given that so many of us are lazy and feel entitled, this frequently created resentment. As time went by, though, you realized that he was the best you would ever have. Who will take care of us now?” The news of his death resulted in large scale rioting across the campus and the burning of several classroom buildings.
GayProf, however, was not free of controversy. Anonymous commentators on his blog frequently left poorly worded and ill-conceived complaints.
Some others remarked that his trademark goatee left him hopelessly trapped in the nineties. Still others feared GayProf’s unhealthy and dark obsessions. “Why does he have so many dishes?” an anonymous critic told this reporter two years ago, “I mean, do you really need a separate luncheon set from the 1940s and a dinner set from the 1960s? It just isn’t natural.” Today, those critics are undoubtedly burning with shame.
GayProf kept a modest and chaste personal life. It was said that he never bedded anyone before really knowing him. Well, at least until he knew his name.
GayProf is survived by his cat, who may or may not have been gnawing on his corpse when discovered by police. His body is in state at the round-capitol building in New Mexico, draped in the familiar red and yellow flag of that sacred place. Canonization proceedings are expected to start sometime next year.