Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Dirty Secret

I have a secret. I try to hide it from most of my more casual acquaintances, but it gets out anyway, so I'm spilling it right now. I married a republican jock.

I am, if you haven't already guessed, a very liberal democrat. I don't want to legalize recreational pot or anything. I just tend to be pretty open-minded on the social topics. Tom, on the other hand, is a republican. He thinks George W is a fine leader worthy of respect. How can anyone other than Pat Robertson think that? I just don't get it. My nightly news program is hosted by Jon Stewart and I'm happy with that. Tom has the truck radio turned to Fox News all day. We have learned not to debate politics.

I believe that there's a tiny part of all people that stays in high school. It's the part that gets nervous before a reunion or smiles when the adult version of the football captain smiles at us. So it was quite shocking for me to learn that my husband was a football star. He was Mr Popular. I was not popular. I wore black and kept to myself. In a packed cafeteria, I sat alone. I never wore black lipstick, or dyed my hair black or any of the stuff kids do these days, but I was extreme for back then. Basically, I was Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. And Tom was Emilio Estevez. Ironically enough, those two characters ended up together in the film, but we all know that wouldn't happen in real life.

Normally, my husband's high school status and political affiliations don't bother me much. In fact, they rarely occur to me. But we are planning to have more children and I fear that he will encourage our son to one day forsake books for balls, and college for the military. I grew up despising jocks, seeing letterman jackets as a modern-day equivalent of SS armbands. And being raised by a mother who harassed military recruiters at every chance, I see military service as one of the least intelligent forms of suicide. Want to see the world? Fine, join the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. Anything but making yourself cannon fodder for the government's agenda. If we were fighting our own war I may feel different; I certainly did when we went to Afghanistan. But more often than not, we are fighting over oil or jumping into other countries' civil wars. Look at our current record. Osama attacked us, so we dropped the ball on catching him and instead got Saddam.

But back to my husband the republican jock. I have come to accept football games in my living room and he has come to accept my unique way of telling him what happened while he was in the bathroom. "The blue guy hit the red guy and then they all piled up." And he has come to admit that perhaps there is no logical argument against equal rights for gays. I'll never be able to see GW Bush as more than a potty-trained circus monkey, and he'll probably never see Bill Clinton as more than the guy who got blowjobs in the oval office, but we try to meet somewhere in the middle, or at least pretend to.

I just don't think I will ever get used to his old high school stories about being one of the popular guys, dating the popular girls. I can't even imagine what he thinks of my "I had the worthless jock's car towed out of the school parking lot" tales. Maybe opposites really do attract. Or maybe the puffed-up jocks just come crashing down to Earth once they finally blow out their knees or fumble the winning touchdown, or whatever it is that makes star athletes real people again.

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