Ever heard of the Twinkie Defense?
In case you don’t go for clicking off of my blog page – it is so riveting, I know – here’s the short hand:
Way back in 1978, Dan White basically assassinated San Francisco political rivals Harvey Milk and George Moscone. He ended up going to prison for Voluntary Manslaughter after his attorneys unsuccessfully argued that his depression and subsequent change in diet from health food to junky comfort food excused the, oh…murder of two of his co-workers.
While they probably never actually said the word “twinkie” during their case, the press jumped on the argument and nicknamed it the Twinkie Defense.
I’m sure everyone at the USDA face-palmed and reiterated that while junk food kills, that is most certainly not the manner in which you should expect to die from a bad diet.
Now that we have that little history lesson out of the way, let’s talk about the less than obvious way that the Twinkie Defense relates to the title of this entry…because, while Harvey Milk was gay and this could easily be argued as a hate crime by modern standards, his murder is not the actual point here.
Because: my blog.
A little less way back than the infamous Twinkie Defense, there was a young man named me living the gay dream in Belmont Shore, a coastal suburb of Long Beach, CA: young, toned but rail thin, cute guy in a city that was as gay as those perpetually sunny SoCal days were long.
I made a lot of friends during those days, some of whom I am still virtually connected to now. They all pretty much universally disliked or disapproved of or wouldn’t give the time of day to my roommate and his best friend; Petur and Dennis.
If they even thought about them at all.
And, yeah…that’s the way he spelled his name: Petur. Precious, no? He was a nephew – allegedly – of the Workman Publishing House founder.
The reason was simple, they were just way too fabulous. Well, that’s what they would have told you, anyway. My true friends would tell you that they were way too frivolous, which is much closer to the reality, I’m sure.
Case in point, Dennis routinely referred to the three of us as Long Beach Society. He would perch on his barstool and gesture dramatically with his martini glass to punctuate his stories.
Anyway…Dennis referred to our little Twink Clique as Long Beach Society, which I thought was cute in its obvious-not-so-obvious snarkiness. Case in point, I think Dennis actually believed himself to be better than the rest of the crowd at Ripples, the biggest gay club in Long Beach.
Ergo, the not so obvious disclaimer.
God help us if anyone else took us seriously, which I fear they did. We “had” our own barstools at Ripples. Three, right on the end of the bar where no one could really intrude on us. We could also see the door perfectly and watch people play pool unobstructed.
And get the bartender’s attention immediately.
We were Heathers and Mean Girls before there were Heathers or Mean Girls.
No telling how many sad, middle aged guys there are now whose issues were created simply by their proximity to us.
Dennis was prone to throwing fits if people didn’t buy his bullshit privilege when he tried to move them out of our space when we arrived.
He was also prone to falling off his barstool and occasionally falling asleep sitting on his barstool since his diet was largely composed of ephedra and vodka.
Like true society folk do.
Anyway, flashing forward or backward to one day in particular where Dennis was having the bartender ignore a guy sitting in our area until he basically had to make him a drink – Dennis allowed the cocktail but had it served at the apparently less desirable other end of the bar.
Then he spent a good 30 minutes venting about the nerve of some people.
I ignored his rant because I might have offered a suggestion that we certainly had our nerve.
This was right around the time the Colin Ferguson trial wrapped up. Ending with him receiving a 315 year and 8 month sentence for the rampage in NYC that ended in a half-dozen deaths and I don’t know how many injuries.
315 years and 8 months.
The 8 months is the real killer…why not just round it off, your honor?
He chose to defend himself and claim his innocence. His lawyer had wanted to mount a defense that was dubbed the Black Rage Defense.
What is the saying about a man who defends himself having a fool for a client?
This was not one of the two times that I witnessed Dennis throw his drink at someone, but the way he seethed on it would not have surprised me. Especially since I might have encouraged him in my best deadpan to teach that guy a lesson.
Apparently, Dennis’ straight, married boyfriend – oh, and rich, too…obviously – watched the news in the morning while getting ready for work. Something about the Ferguson trial had lodged itself in the vodka soaked gray matter in Dennis’ head and came vomitting forth at my suggestion, causing Dennis to claim, “I bet I could get away with it and call it Black Rage!”
You’re basically the whitest guy in SoCal, Dennis.
“Gay Rage, then! I’m mad as hell and I don’t have to take this shoddy treatment anymore!” yelled the guy who allowed his boyfriend to actually treat him in a manner that would legitimately provoke my rage. Ok, it did, frequently, but whenever I brought it up I was accused of being stupid for failing to be able to appropriately allow for the behavior of wealthy people.
Petur chimed in by pronouncing the acronym for the non-existent Gay Rage, which of course was just a guttural “Grrrr!”
This resulted in several minutes of Petur and Dennis viciously growling at each other.
I sipped my Sam Adams.
I finished my Sam Adams and ordered another one.
“And don’t make him wait for his like you made that other guy wait or you’ll get the Gay Rage!” slurred Dennis to our poor bartender.
“Grrrr!” added Petur.
I quietly wondered how much a cab from the LBC to Betty Ford was.
Fresh beer in hand, I suggested to the boys that their Gay Rage defense – which I was secretly rather amused by – was more likely to be a Twinkie Defense.
Did you wonder how I intended to bring that full circle?
“Who the fuck is Harvey Milk?” asked Dennis.
My turn to face palm.
It wasn’t long after that that I hit the skids with Long Beach Society. It was after I came home and found Petur rage fucking a guy whose attentions we’d fought over a few days earlier.
A sexy German tourist named Wolf.
Which is why Petur’s door was open when I got home during their afternoon delight. Also why Petur looked right at me as I passed his door and went to the kitchen to make a cocktail, which I was sipping between sets of inverted sit ups on my Soloflex.
It was the 90s, give me a break.
“Is that really a good idea?” the sexy and sensible Wolf asked when Petur finished with him.
Probably better than what you just did, I replied as Petur joined us with his own cocktail.
“Oh, are you still here?” he asked Wolf before turning and heading for the balcony.
Giving Wolf a shrug, I apologized and told him he should have quit while he was ahead.
I didn’t miss being a member of the privileged Long Beach Society. The only real abuse of my power was convincing the bartender to let me smuggle in “good” beer, the aforementioned Sam Adam…remember, it was the 90s! I would buy it at the convenience store next door, bring it in and then tip the bartender $20 to serve me my own beer for the rest of the night.
I don’t think the owner cared, since he also owned the convenience store. Besides, he eventually caved and started serving Sam Adams in addition to the suite of Coors and Bud beers he offered, so my time in Long Beach Society was actually beneficial to my fellow gays.