As the newest hire to the Ghostbusting team, I have to ask myself, will I be an ethical Ghostbuster? Sure, if I see a ghost stuffing his mouth full of fancy hot dogs right in front of me at a ritzy hotel à la Slimer, then yes, absolutely—I’ll shoot a ghost right in his face with my proton pack. But what about the other ghosts whose crimes aren’t as clear?
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
That’s from a poem. It’s called “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T.S. Eliot. A very smart man told me once that poetry was a fail-safe way to get a woman to fall in love with me. Now, granted, he did go crazy and try to take down the city with a set of mechanical octopus arms, but I do think he was on to something with this. I wish this were just a love letter. But I have a lot I want to tell you, and I’m afraid some of it may be hard to hear.
First things first. I, Peter Parker, am Spider-Man.
In 1992, I was twenty-two, hard bitten before my years, and entitled to a cynicism which I didn’t rightfully earn. I looked toward an uncertain future and a horizon that scrolled further away as I came near. Will I be famous before thirty? Am I the one who will change the world? How can I get that dark haired hippie chick in the Phish t-shirt and hemp ankle bracelet’s phone number?
Unfortunately, Part 1 of the review has been redacted by the NSA due to a long and rambling editor’s note in which Jason Mallory explains how somebody ought to make a ring you put on your esophagus that’s like Mr. Fusion in Back to the Future II, except it converts food to pure energy and nutrients and nobody ever needs to poop again, and you can use the space in your stomach for robotic upgrades. When asked for an explanation, the NSA would only disclose that they felt the note “disrupted the flow of the writing,” and was too “forward thinking.”
The discussion also included Winston’s survival tips for the apocalypse that NSA agents deemed “so Raven,” and Jay’s recipe for pecan pie that the NSA classified as “so good it’ll make you want to slap your grandmother…and illegally monitor all of her public and private communications.”
So, technically, the following should be considered Part 2 of 1.
“Are you okay?” the Guy With The Beautiful Eyes asks, sliding into the seat next to me, which, until just moments before, had been occupied by a Steampunk Banana.
Given that so many people roaming this and the surrounding hotels are covered in blood, many of them feigning dismemberment, and some even dragging disembodied limbs behind them, it’s surprising that my bandages would bear mentioning, but at Dragon Con, I guess this is what passes for cocktail chitchat.
My first experience with Steel Magnolias was looking at my mom’s eyes after she saw it for the first time. They were all red from crying, but she was smiling. So when I asked her if she liked it, she said yes, and I asked her if it was a comedy or a drama. And she said it was both.
In the movie, Dolly Parton says that laughter through tears is her favorite emotion, so I realize now that my mom had been gobsmacked by this movie. Since I’d just sat through The War of the Roses instead, I felt robbed. So I watched it on video. And then I rewound it and watched it again. And then I watched it again. And then I would just rewind that locker room scene with all the naked football players and watch that a couple times. And then I would watch it again. I think I’ve memorized Steel Magnolias by now. Which is a good thing. Because every other gay man in the city has, too.
You know, my stepdad’s brother had a sailboat like Robert Redford’s in All Is Lost. He mostly kept it docked in Savannah, and sat around on it listening to Bonnie Raitt songs and drinking beer. When I was twelve, he took me out on the ocean, and after it got too hot I went below deck and curled up on some life preservers, and listened to the sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat, daydreaming about a girl I had a crush on who had crimped bangs.