Friday, June 20, 2008

Death Comes to the Arch-GayProf

Okay, maybe not literally death. Still, this past week I have battled strep throat. It might not have been the most ill I have ever been in my life (that would be an e-coli infection I once had), but it was still quite unpleasant.

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.


vuboq said...

vuboq is very happy you are still alive! strep throat is the worst. I've had it twice.


pacalaga said...

pacalaga is happy as well. I am especially glad I don't have to hunt down and smack the person/s who suggested GayProf pull the plug on CoG.

Cooper said...

I'm very glad you're on the mend, and that the reports of your death may have been greatly exaggerated!

Antonio said...

If you have netflix, I suggest using their "Watch Instantly" online feature. They have a decent selection of good shows, movies, and documentaries on the site. You have to be willing to wade through a lot of crap though.

If not that, may provide entertainment as you recover. Get well soon!

rosmar said...

I'm glad you are not dead. Though anyone would be proud of that obituary.

I second the motion regarding the "Watch Now" feature of Netflix. It is great when I don't want to leave the house.

dean said...

How long have you been waiting to write that?

What do you want to see? I could probably mail it to you?

Feel better!

dykewife said...

i've never had strep throat but i did get my tonsils out when i was 17 and the discomfort from that went on for a very long time. i'm glad that your health issues are clearing up.

what a charming and eloquent obituary. the person who wrote it must really love you a whole lot:)

Roger Green said...

You never had strep before? Lucky man - I've had it more than once. Feels like someone's put a beat down on you.
No reasonable person really thinks there is more than one GayProf. I mean, there are other gay professors (i.e., gay profs), but not so splendidly run together like THE GP.
Oh, glad you're not dead. The Internet would have crashed due to your absence.
And I know about not sleeping - a broken rib's done that for me the last two and a half weeks, even with drugs. No comfortable position at all in week one, and limited success in weeks two and three.

Baron Scarpia said...


That is today's public message from Baron Scarpia.

(Oh, and don't give the blog up either. That would just cause a wave of mass suicides amongst your followers, denied the wisdom of GayProf)

Doug said...

I can't get the image of you teaching in star-spangled short shorts out of my head.

Glad you're not dead, but sorry you had to go through death to get over strep. That'll teach you to make out with strangers without reviewing their medical history.

Java said...

A lovely obit, GayProf. Looks like it was fun to write. It was definitely fun to read. So glad you were alive to write it!

Carl said...

I'm assuming that in the grand tradition of medieval saints, various bit and pieces of The GP's accoutrements will become highly coveted relics? I'm thinking pits of fabric from the spar-spangled shorts, hairs from the goatee, etc.

I picture at least four important shrines, in New Mexico (the Birth), Texas (the Suffering), Boston (the Rebirth) and Midwestern Funky Town (the Death). The faithful would walk from one pilgrimage site to one another, just like pilgrims on the road to Compostela way back when.

Earl Cootie said...

I, too, have twice battled the strep. The second infection (as you may already know, since I bring it up every time I mention regrets, Canada, hiking, hot tubs, parents, medicine, etc.) struck when I visited Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada with my parents and just the day before I was planning on day-hiking to the U.S.

And, yes, very nice obit. I still maintain that mine will say nothing more than "Earl Cootie. Born. Died. Oh, well."

K said...

I've missed you, GayProf, and am glad you're alive and well...or if not well, on the way to it.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Are you better? I had an evil throat infection in March that... well, I won't share the doom with you unless you really, really want it. But the waking-up-with-every-swallow thing is very familiar. It tested negative for strep, though. Mystery infection that became quite serious.

So... I won't bother you with the details, but if the lymph nodes in your clavicles start to swell, get your star-spangled ass to an emergency room.


GayProf said...

VUBOQ: I have been busy trying to think of ways to ensure that I will never get it again.

Pacalaga: Well, you must admit that he had a point that CoG has been a wee bit lackluster -- Not that he shouldn't be smacked, though.

Cooper: Down, but not for the count.

Antonio: For some reason I always forget about Netflix's "Watch Instantly" option. I think that I have exhausted most things that I want to see on Hulu.

Rosmar: I am glad that I am not dead, too. It would be so sad to leave NERPD truly unfinished.

Dean: I haven't waited that long to write it. It has been a lifetime, though, waiting for somebody else to write it.

DykeWife: Now that I know where the tonsils are and their sensititivty, I can't imagine the pain of having them taken out.

ROG: I am sorry to hear about the broken rib. That is one of those impossible bones that they have no idea how to heal.

Baron: I doubt people would commit suicide. I mean, sure, there would be many people whose lives would never be the same again. Not to mention the small percentage that would have to be committed to the asylum, but suicide would probably be extreme.

I think that at the time of my death, erecting an eternal flame would help the people deal with their pain.

Doug: If I had got it from making out with a stranger, at least I would have had a good time first. Alas, I think it was gym equipment that nobody bothers to wipe down.

Java: It's an obit for the people -- For the people.

Carl: I like the way that you think. I also expect that during the Texas lag of that pilgrimage they will have to spend the last portion walking on their knees to truly feel my level of suffering.

Earl: Ugh -- Why are so many people around who get it twice? I also just recently found out about "shingles." I thought that the promise of Chicken Pox was that you only had to suffer once and it was over. Nobody ever told me they could come back with an even more painful nerve-killing version.

K: I missed you, too!

Notorious Ph.D.: When I did sleep, I noticed that I drooled tons on my pillow. I think that it was some sort of way that my brain kept me from having to swallow when I did catch a few minutes of sleep. Nasty, no?

Anonymous said...

Yah...a cover to one of the W. Woman comics I own... I'm happy.

Oh yeah, glad you didn't die.

Laverne said...

You poor thing. I got strep throat once when I was a lifeguard at a summer camp. I got a shot and they expected me to work through it. Sitting in the sun all day, and yelling at little kids to stop running? Oi.

I'm glad you made it through.

Oso Raro said...

Well, I'm not sure what to say, exactly. The writing of one's own obituary, even in jest, strikes me as overly morbid. But perhaps I am just superstitious that way.

In any event, and apropos of the comments thread, I've had strep numerous times. I must be more susceptible, and I do have rather large tonsils so maybe the bacteria like to hang out there. It is always unpleasant, but on occasion it has been relatively symptomless as well . The first time I had it was my last Christmas visit home my senior year, and my mother and I got into a spectacular row, not related necessarily to the strep, but I was delirious and incoherent as she told me, well, many unpleasant, horrible things. I'm not sure if my febrile condition helped or hurt this revelation of interior secrets. It was, however, a rather remarkable moment.

Come to think of it, those last few visits home I was always sick upon departing. I wonder if there is some larger biological message there. But all that, as they say, seems very far away.

Dammit, my lighter just died.

tornwordo said...

It looks like you are feeling better, and I'm glad.

Alan said...

Hope you're feeling better soon!!

Alan Scott said...

The state of Texas has killed a president AND GayProf! :(

Glad you're on the path back to health, GP!

prof bw said...

silly. go to the local organic store or organic section and buy olive leaf oil (make sure leaf is in the title). it comes in pill form and is a natural anti-biotic that should keep you healthy from now on. take it whenever you feel antibiotic related illness coming on or at onset.

and you are not the only gay latino prof in town, I know several in real life, and love them almost as much as you. (By the way . . . found the scuba suit!)

prof bw said...

ps. as proof, I still have my tonsils and have survived far too many bouts of strep.

Bill S. said...

I'm picturing the masses prostrate before a reliquary with a Wonder Woman Mego in it.

Greg said...

I heard that GayProf did die in battle against republicans and evangelists, but that the goddesses of Olympus breathed new life into him, restoring him to continue his mission of Peace and Fabulousness and leaving him only with the false memory of strep throat.

I'm glad you're on the mend. There's nothing worse than being sick to greet the summer! Of course, it's possible your resistance was lowered from wearing those star-spangled short-shorts all year round!

adjunct whore said...

me too, on the strep throat part. sucks.


CoffeeDog said...

You forgot to make a list of the funeral attendees! I always go through the list in my head when I have a brush with death.

Anonymous said...

I wonder who put this obit together. They were quite knowledgeable about CoG's blogging life but totally forgot about his admiration for Wonder Woman! ;-)

I hope that you are feeling better and that we are many decades away from seeing an obit come to fruition.

Anonymous said...

Gay Proffie:

news of your near demise is most distressing. rest and plenty of fluids and antibiotics for you. If I didn't live half a continent away, I'd bring you some homemade chicken soup, and a soothing sponge bath too!

Jen said...

Yogurt! as you come off of the antibiotics--they also kill all of the good bacteria in your guts. Luckily yogurt with all the live cultures puts 'em right back.

I had strep 2-3 times a winter as a kid. They FINALLY took them out at 16 and I've only had it once since (17 years on). Ugh.

Hope you are feeling better.

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