Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Age is a State of Mind, Somewhere Near Nebraska

What a year it has been! After surviving the odometer rolling over to 40, I had a year of sabbatical. That gave me plenty of time to think about my mid-life crisis next steps in my career. It turns out that I needed to make some important adjustments to my plans. Now I have a new writing project, hints of which can be found in this post. I also have a new attitude about returning to the soul-crushing service that had drained me of ambition before my leave. Seriously kids, stay clear of administrators who take your labor without gratitude.

I also feel much better about being in my forties than I did at this point last year. Sure, my local supermarket has started sending me targeted coupons for adult incontinence undergarments. In my heart, I know that I am at least two years away from needing to take advantage of them. Most of the television that I watch also seems to be sponsored by reverse mortgages and joint-pain supplements. At least the marketing demographic profiling appears consistent.

What I mean to convey is that there is a new GayProf in town ‘cause I’m feelin’ good. Get a smile, get a song, for the neighborhood. There’s a new GayProf in town on his own two feet and this GayProf is here to say with some luck and love –- Wait, that might be Alice, not GayProf. Although I had heard that she doesn’t live here anymore.

Whatever the case, another year means taking a moment for some much needed comparative stock with where other people happened to be at this same point with their lives. Won’t you join me as we find out what it meant to be 41?

    If I were Johnston McCulley at age 41, I would have invented my most enduring and popular character, Zorro, four years ago. I would continue to write Zorro stories for another thirty four years.

    If I were Truman Capote at age 41, I would be finishing In Cold Blood this year.

    If I were Ronald Reagan at age 41, I would marry Nancy Davis this year. I would also become the host of General Electric Theater. This is not to say that my career might have hit a dead end. My last starring role, however, would have found me competing for screen time with a chimpanzee. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

    If I were Diego de la Vega at age 41, it would have been seventeen years since I set out to foil injustice with nothing more than a rapier, mask, and long flowing black cape.

    At 41, if I were Montgomery Clift, I would co-star with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in The Misfits this year. I would also be nominated for an Academy Award for Judgment at Nuremberg.

    If I were Marilyn Monroe, I would be dead.

    If I were Pancho Villa, this would be my last year as a military commander.

    If I were Linda Lavin, I would be starting my second season in Alice.

    If I were Queen Isabella I of Castile, I would complete the brutal so-called “Reconquista.” I would also issue my Alhambra Decree, expelling people of Jewish faith from Castile and Aragon. Finally, I would send Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic to claim new lands for my crown. It would be a year that would show me not to be a particularly nice person.

    If I were Pierre Trudeau, I would be an associate professor of law at the Université de Montréal.

    If I were Clark Gable, this is the year that I would lose my wife Carole Lombard in a plane crash.

    If were Corky Gonzáles at age 41, I would organize the Chicano Youth Conference, the first of its kind and a major milestone for the Chicano movement.

    If I were Candice Bergen, it would be another year before I would be cast as the eponymous character in Murphy Brown.

    When Murphy Brown turned 41, she had been sober for one year.

    If I were Gene Roddenberry, I would be working on launching the show The Lieutenant. It would be another two years before I started production of Star Trek.

    If I were legendary folklorist Américo Paredes, this is the year I would earn my Ph.D. It would be another two years before my most famous work, With a Pistol in His Hand, would be published.

    If I were Dorthea Lange, I would have just become famous for my photography documenting poverty and suffering during the 1930s.

    If I were J. Edgar Hoover, I would have just started as Director of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation. Civil liberties everywhere would take a giant step backwards.

    If I were Bayard Rustin, I would be arrested in Pasadena, California on charges of “sex perversion” with two other men who were with me in a parked car. It would be another ten years before I would be the logistical mastermind behind the March on Washington.

    If I were Douglas Fairbanks at age 41, I would make the film The Thief of Bagdad. It would have been four years since I originated the role of Zorro on film. Next year, I would have the audacity to play Diego de la Vega’s son in the sequel Don Q, Son of Zorro despite being sixteen years older than the character.

    If I were Mae West, I would be at the height of my film career, releasing Belle of the Nineties.

    If I were Mary Tyler Moore, this would be my last year playing Mary Richards.

    If I were Reies López Tijerina, this is the year that I would lead an armed raid on the Rio Arriba County courthouse in New Mexico.

    If I were Gloria Swanson, it would be another ten years before I would play faded star Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulvard.

    If I were Lyndon Johnson, I would start my first year in the U.S. Senate.

    If I were Murphy Brown's boss, Miles Silverberg, it would have been sixteen years since I started working at FYI.

    If I were Ellen Burstyn, this is the year that I would dodge projectile vomit in The Exorcist. It would be another year before I would win the Academy Award for Best Actress for my work in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

    If I were Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, my former secretary would release a tell-all book about working for me this year.

    At 41, I would return to my role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek:The Motion Picture if I were George Takei.

    If I were Jimmy Carter, I would be in the midst of serving my second term in the Georgia State Senate.

    If I were Oscar Wilde at 41, this would be the year that I would try to prosecute my lover’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel. That would turn out not be such a good idea.

    If I were Guy Williams, this is the year I would start playing Professor John Robinson on Lost in Space. It would have been four years since my last television appearance as Zorro.

    If I were Billie Holiday, I would release my album Lady Sings the Blues, my last for Clef Records.

    If I were Isabel Allende, I would win Novel of the Year from the Chilean government for my book The House of Spirits. It would be another twenty-two years before I would write Zorro.

    If I were Chris Christie, I would have no moral compass.

    If I were Lily Tomlin, this is the year that I would make 9 to 5.

    If I were Martin Luther King, Jr, I would have been dead for two years.

    Jane Fonda, at age 41, starred in the film Coming Home. I would age another two years before I teamed up with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin for 9 to 5.

    If I were Scott Walker, I would be a college dropout.

    If I were Kate Jackson, I would be starring in the short-lived sitcom Baby Boom.

    If I were Pearl Bailey, this is the year that I would release Pearl Bailey Sings for Adults Only, one of my best.

    If I were Elizabeth Montgomery, this is the year I would make the controversial television-movie A Case of Rape.

    If I were Batman, I would be a knockoff of Zorro.

    If I were Farrah Fawcett, it would have been a year since I starred in Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story.

    If I were Ted Cruz, I would be totally nuts.

    If I were Dick York, this would be the year that I would be replaced by Dick Sargent as Darrin Stephens in Bewitched.

    If I were Jaclyn Smith, I would be starring in Rage of Angels: The Story Continues. Disappointingly, the titular angels would have no relation to Charlie.

    If I were Bobby Jindal, I would be completely delusional.

    If I were Cher, this is the year that I would star in Moonstruck, for which I would win an Academy Award. Snap out of it!

    If I were Dolly Parton, I would record the much acclaimed album Trio with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.

    If I were Tyrone Power, I would be touring the United States and Canada in the play The Dark is Light Enough. It would have been fifteen years since I portrayed Zorro.

    If I were Wonder Woman, I would age another 2,450 years before joining Patriarch’s world to fight crime.