Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I confess that I’ve always been afraid of touching my belly button. When I wash my belly button, I only give it a cursory wash, trying not to delve deep into it. I avoid looking at it because it scares me; it might tell me something I didn't want to know about myself, like my BELLY BUTTON IS DIRTY.

I have an semi-outie which means that it doesn't stick out like an Asian in Martha's Vineyard, but is not deep enough to hold a tequila shot. It is barely a thimble-full. If I shot my wad on myself, it wouldn't be enough to keep all of it in there, unless it's my third wad of the morning.

When I was younger, my great-aunt told me that if I played with my belly button too much, I could give myself a stomachache or worse--it could burst, my entrails spilling out of my gut. It's one of the many things that adults tell you as a kid not to do to yourself: pick your nose, bite your nails or stick your finger in your ass because awful things are going to happen. Of course, I have learned since then that nothing awful is going to happen if you pick your nose, although if you stick a finger up your ass, you turn gay.

It seems to me that since God never provided humans with an instruction manual to our bodies, we decided to write our own, many times to illogical or comical results. Masturbation will cause you to go blind; spitting on a new baseball bat will make it lucky; going to sleep with your hair wet can cause a bad hair day. Some of these are blatantly ridiculous. But really, don't sleep with your hair wet or your day will be totally ruined. Bad hair has been known to wreck lives and careers, remember Justin Guarini? Exactly.

These are the things I think about when I wash my semi-outie belly button, which right now, looks like an opened shrimp with the black vein still in place. I am afraid to pick at the black, dried crusts stuck in there because my belly button might unravel, the crusts being the only thing keeping it together.

I am not really sure why this happens anyway. I bathe regularly and as a rule, I don't roll around in unsterilized mud. It's gotta be pure, clean, unadulterated mud and then I spray Lysol all over it before I dip even a little toe into it.

In the shower, I steeled myself, preparing to clean the area. I gird my loins as I soap my fingers. I hope my stomach doesn't burst.

Wait, should I find a cork just in case?

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Letter From Home

This is a letter from my mother from three years ago. I found it last week while I was cleaning out our second bedroom. Brian and I had moved to this new place last November and we still have stuff left unpacked and in boxes.

In the rush of moving, I had stuck the letter in my miscellaneous junk box because I had already taped up the box with all my other mementos from home:

October 13, 2003

Dear Paul,

Last night, I dreamed that I was having a meal with Lucy and Rita, you and your brother Peter's godmothers. Then, I suddenly saw you and Peter eating at another table near us. I was so surprised and walked to you and asked you why you didn't tell me you were coming home.

Then I woke up.

Is it because the two of you have left us for so long that even in dreams, I can't help but miss you?

Take care.

Love you always,

I moved to Chicago from the country of my birth, the Philippines. I left my home at the age of 21 because even though I loved my family, I couldn't live my life in the closet; I couldn't live a lie. I wanted to be the real me, you know, a bright, young gay man with a head full of useless, celebrity trivia. The future awaited me, filled with love, laughter and a colossal credit card debt.

At the time, fifteen years ago, I didn't even think about what this meant to my family, those I had left behind. All I could think of was myself, my survival and my despair of ever, ever finding a real pair of Prada shoes instead of the counterfeit shit they sell in the sidewalks of Manila, the ink on the label running from the sweat in my heels.

Reading the letter again made me remember how hard this journey had been, not just for me, but for the people I loved.

Today is my mother's birthday.

I miss you mom.


All About My Mother - a tragicomedy in three parts
The Long Way Home - yes, before the Dixie Chicks!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Let's Get [a] Physical

Today I am supposed to get my annual physical exam.

The physical is at 11am. I had planned to work from home so I can get some stuff done before going to my appointment. Instead, I spent the hours before my appointment jacking off. Three times.

I just thought you wanted to know that.

It's been a year since I last saw my doctor, who is gay and has a predominantly gay practice. I stuck with him all these years because much like women prefer female doctors, I prefer a gay doctor because he understands all the medical issues that gay men face like STDs, compulsive sex and acute problems with not calling after a date.

"Strip," my doctor commanded, handing me what I thought was a wad of paper towels. "Put it on," he said.

I realized he meant the wad of paper towels. Apparently, it was a gown. It was basically a long, seamless rectangular paper towel with armholes and a scalloped edge for a collar. I mean, I've always wanted to be brawny, but this is ridiculous.

The doctor made me feel at ease by sharing juicy celebrity gossip while he examined me. Then suddenly, he jabbed his gloved finger into my asshole!

He was checking my prostate. I was so distracted I didn't even notice that he had been slathering his finger with lube.

Normal, he pronounced, raising the finger in front of me. I caught a whiff of the antiseptic smell of latex and the thick, heavy scent of my ass. The smell reminded me of my first love, Harry. That's what I called my 12" rubber dildo.

The doctor thoughtfully gave me a paper towel to wipe myself back there. I felt an overwhelming need to cuddle.

Having your blood drawn has got to be the most unnerving thing. Waiting for the poke is nerve-wracking. Am I the only one who thinks that instead of drawing your blood, the smiling, insane medical technician is going to pump an air bubble into your plumped vein, killing you instantly?

I rattled off a bunch of different symptoms that could be the first signs of any number of serious illnesses. My doctor dutifully listened and then gently reassured me that my mother-in-law was not a serious illness.

My doctor called me a neurotic. I can't wait to tell all my friends that I was just as fucked up as they are. Surely, they'll let me hang out with them now?

I left the doctor's office with a lighter step and an extra swish in my walk. I don't know if this was because of my clean bill of health or because of the lube in my ass.

Less friction, you know.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006


"On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people."

- David Weinberger, The New Yorker, 08/2006

Join the mailing list and be famous to me!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rock Bottom

I'll know that I've hit rock bottom if I pull those cookies out of the trash can. At least, that's what I tell myself. Right now, my only form of self-control over snack food is to throw the uneaten portion into the trash. In my mind, the second something’s in the trash can, it's garbage, even though in reality, the cookies themselves are still clean, protected by the mylar bag, untouched by whatever else is around it.

Sometimes, I would throw out unopened packages of candy or snacks that were given as gifts to prevent myself from gorging on them. I try not to think of the wastefulness of it all, thinking only of the benefits to my health, my body and my lungs as I try to squeeze into my suffocatingly tight wardrobe.

I am at work. It is 3pm. I am starving.

I go to the lunchroom and stare at the vending machine for what seemed like an hour. I become one of those people who stand in front of this machine, hypnotized, like it's an oracle telling my future, one where I have to have a great personality instead of being shallow and goodlooking. The thought of having any sort of intelligence or wit in my skull depressed me, but I fear that I am already a lost cause.

As I feed the machine my dollar bill, the irony is not lost on me. I tentatively pressed the "E" button. My index finger hovered at the number "3" for what seemed like another hour before stabbing it, taking the plunge. The vending machine whirs to life, dropping a sinful package of Oreo cookies. My change--a lone, sad nickel--falls into the slot with barely a jangle.

There are four cookies in the package. I take it back to my desk. I rip open the package, quickly savoring thick sweetness of the first cookie.

I take my time with the second one, taking only little bites, hoping that this would fool my stomach into thinking it was having more than it is. However, I knew this wouldn't work, just like I knew that it wouldn't work when my high school boyfriend begged to let him in 'just an inch.'

As I licked the crumbs off my fingers, I eyed the two other cookies, commanding myself to throw it in the trash. The guy in the next cubicle looked at me quizzically. I realized that I said that out loud.

I throw the cookies in the trash.

The cookies sat in the garbage staring back at me, lying there dejectedly, like unwanted newborn babies in a dumpster. I so want to rescue it, cradle it in my arms and then cram all of it in my mouth. I kick the trash can further under my desk so I can't see it.

Babies. Baby Ruth. Sugar Babies. God, this makes me feel disgusting, like a choco-pedophile. I try to think about other things, things that won't make me take that little bag of cookies out of the trash.

Babies make me think of umbilical cords. Some people say it's thick and cutting through it is like cutting through a finger. Or a Slim Jim. I wonder if it tastes like one too? Sorry, hunger is making me a little light-headed.

The cookies are calling me, like my ex-boyfriend who I've given crabs: I'm here, I'm here, I'm here...

I'm reaching in.

Please look away.

Please look away...

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