Robbie Bothered ~ Special Guest Post

by Robbie Romu on December 24, 2012

Let’s face it – we all need to get bothered.

If you are not bothered then you are complacent. If you are complacent then you are part of the problem. As David states right up front (thru the brilliant words of Ray Bradbury), “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while.”

If you’ve ever read my blog 42stillnoclue ( you’ll know that I spend a disproportional amount of my time being bothered, bugged, annoyed, disgruntled and/or generally pissed off. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to glimpse inside my (slightly) twisted mind then I apologize in advance if I offend you.

I should probably mention that I am missing some filters.  You know, the ones that most people have that prevent them from spewing forth whatever is on their mind. Subtle as a sledgehammer is not a term I am unfamiliar with. I am only respectful of my husband’s privacy and (occasionally) that of my family and friends; otherwise it is fair game.

See, I like to talk about the things that nobody wants to talk about, the things we hide from each other which fill us with doubt and self-loathing. The things we do in the dark, the ones our parents taught us “not to talk about” because they were trying to protect us, the ones society would rather keep hidden under the rug so it doesn’t have to confront its inherent intolerance and unfairness; all of them.

We’ve all had to shit in a plastic bag because our toilet is plugged and a volcanic eruption of liquid napalm is about to burst out of our ass – metaphorically speaking.

So where does this need to hide come from? When and why are we taught the concept of shame? Who are we so afraid of?

To answer the question you must be brave enough to ask the question.

Which brings me to David Bothered.

On his blog David tackles the big questions with deft precision. Where I am asking you to look in the mirror and laugh, he is asking you to look and keep looking. His route to enlightenment (if that is our goal) is much more cerebral than mine – a surgeon with a scalpel vs. a toddler with a hatchet, if you please. He is not content with letting you off easy. He wants you to think. He wants you to examine. He insists that you hold your gaze for as long as you can.

Like David, I grew up gay in a world that wasn’t ready to change, a strange and dangerous place where I knew I was different and bad. The only options were to blend and hide and deny. I used humor as camouflage, as a way to deflect attention away from me and on to somebody else and as a means to keep my enemies close –after all, everybody loves a clown.

As Alan Moore so perfectly put it in Watchmen:

“Heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says, ‘But doctor…I am Pagliacci.’”

I may have been the funniest guy in the room but I was also the loneliest.

It took me most of my life to turn things around. It started by learning to laugh at myself and continues because I have found a voice in what bothers me.

It bothers me that gay teenagers are killing themselves in record numbers. It bothers me that depression and mental illness are stigmatized. It bothers me that our planet is on a path to environmental disaster. It bothers me that people kill each other in the name of an invisible God. It bothers me that the barista at my Starbucks can’t grasp the concept of “light ice.”

I love David’s blog and admire his commitment to staying bothered.

It helps me to keep focused. It reminds me to keep talking and to keep asking the questions that need to be asked. It gives me hope in the face of adversity and monumental effort. It confirms the suspicion that I am not alone in my need to change how people look at themselves in the mirror.

I wish everyone would get bothered or bugged or pissed off.  I wish everyone would stop hiding and start talking. I wish everyone would stop and stare in the mirror for a little while…

My grandfather used to say to me: “Robbie, wish in one hand and shit in the other. See which one gets full faster.”


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

drei December 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

I really enjoyed reading this (no sarcasm). “Robbie, wish in one hand and shit in the other. See which one gets full faster.” = brilliant!


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