Sunday, May 1, 2011

"When I grow up, I want to be a drag queen garbage man"

(Image taken from:

When I was younger, and the teachers used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always "drag queen garbage man." Why I had this combination of career choices in mind back then, I have no idea, but I've had it ever since I was in 4th grade, and I know this because of a story that I'm about to tell you.

Well, I went to a Catholic grade school--One of the many Sacred Heart's that you'll find in the Tri-state area--and it was as Catholic as you could get. So yes, Jesus turning water into wine was taught right alongside lessons of Pangaea and The Grapes of Wrath. In that way, religion played a huge part in my upbringing. But so did RuPaul.

(Image taken from:

Now, as a fourth grader who didn't even know what the female genitalia looked like back then, you can hopefully excuse my ignorance for not knowing that RuPaul really looked like this:

(Image taken from:

rather than this:

(Image taken from:

But that's besides the point. The point is, I thought RuPaul was hot, and I also heard that she was a drag queen. I didn't really know what that meant at the time, but it sounded cool, like a drag racer, or like Queen, the rock group starring Freddie Mercury (So with RuPaul and Freddie Mercury, there's a double doss of gayness for you from a totally hetero 4th grader). I really liked the word, "Drag Queen," and even back then, I was kind of cynical, so when we were asked to write what we wanted to be when we grew up, I once wrote this: "When I grow up, I want to be a drag queen garbage man!" thinking that a garbage man would be the only possible career I could get with the way that I was heading. The Drag Queen thing was just added for shits and giggles.

Well, I handed it back to my teacher, and I'll never forget the way that her eyes expanded when she read what I wrote. She collected the rest of the papers but I remember her putting mine on the top of the others. I was thinking that maybe, with her approval, she could possibly lead me on the road to this career choice of being a drag queen garbage man, but boy was I wrong.

Two days later, I was called down to the office and my father was there, where our principal, a nun, sat me down to sit next to him. I was quite surprised to see that my dad had taken off of work and that he looked pretty upset, not sad upset, mind you, but mad upset. Probably because he knew me well enough to know that I had said or written something stupid and that was why he was called down to the school. The principal solemnly pushed forward my response and I looked at it and smiled.

"Richard," she asked, "did you write this?" which I obviously had since my name was on it, so I nodded and said "Yep, I did," and my father just shook his head. Before the Principal could proceed with asking me a slew of unnecessary questions, my father said this: "Richard, do you even know what a drag queen is?" to which I shrugged and said, "Is it a cross between a drag racer and a queen?"

My father looked back at the principal as if to say, "Now do you see who I have to raise," and the principal let me leave with him. So yeah, this could have been me:

If I only I had known what I had been enlisting for back then...I probably would have tried much harder. Ah, to be young and ignorant. I miss those days. I really do.

No comments: