I'm all right, damn it...you damned bullies.

Contributors to the message site have suggested it, and other more conventional letters-to-the-editor types have urged that I get a sex-change operation and "whine on Oprah." I have puzzled over this probably more than I should and come to the inescapable conclusion that I am perceived as far too sensitive and probably a woman. I have resolved to include here, more beer-swilling and bottle-bashing episodes in O.B. bars; tattoos (possibly a swastika on my shaven head, leaving little doubt of my masculinity); flesh piercing, (including multiple nipple punctures; what could be more manly?). I should spit more and grab my crotch, although how to convey that in print is uncertain. I suppose something like, "My pacemaker died almost three years to the day that my mother croaked. I grabbed my crotch and hawked a lugey to the curb. It's all good, know what I'm sayin', dog? All good." But I should explore the other possibility here too, and that's to deliver the literal goods. Sex change? No, that's just not going to happen. Not that I'm as fond of my unit as I once was, but I'm not going to start lopping things off. Look at Van Gogh, what a pantywaist! The only real sex change in my future would be to have some -- any at all. "But you have a girlfriend!" I can hear a few (that's more than two, isn't it?) readers say. "Bugspray? Or the Specialist? She's your girlfriend, right?" Ah, yes, my little pards. But the Bug is Jewish, and I'm on antidepressants. The ritual is a very rare and special thing when it is not a religious holiday and the rubber nun suit is back from the cleaners. When all of these things converge, it is a beautiful thing; but they never seem to.

What I can do for my readers, I suppose, is arrange to get on Oprah and whine. This provides a fertile area for me to speculate: How might that go?

OPRAH: John, you've had the courage to weep openly about many issues you have championed such as the homeless and your own heroic battle with Restless Leg Syndrome. Where do you find the time?

JOHN: Oprah, I find that if there is a tree out there that needs a moment, an ear, or just a friendly pat on the behind, maybe a coach-like chucking of a leafy shoulder branch, how can I say I have no time?

OPRAH: How is the battle with RLS? Can you tell us more about it?

JOHN: Yes, Oprah. The disease strikes overly sensitive white people like myself. People who FEEL, damn it! (Can I say that?) Essentially it is a condition where, well, Robert Klein, the comedian who can be a courageous voice when it comes to this, describes it as a state where, as he says, "Cain't stop my leg... cain't stop my leg."

OPRAH: Here is some Kleenex, John. We'll be back after this message from Summer's Eve disposable dabs, now in even more country-fresh scents.

I think this could go well and finally deliver the promise my fans sensed in me long ago and where I have let them down by remaining far too "in the closet," if you will. And why have I withheld other talents from them -- men of taste, discerning men of the world who have a right to ask why John can't have more freedom to be who he is? It is useless to ask the Specialist. She almost single-handedly controls the southwest sector of the liberal-Jewish print media from her office in the back of the Star Bar downtown (where she picked me up, wiped the chocolate martini mess from my cheeks, and set me back on the path of the witless tool and running-dog lackey of the Fourth Estate.)

You see, guys, and I mean you fellows that have written in -- Fred Mertz and Cabana Boy and such -- no one understands me. Wait a minute...Kleenex... I'm all right, damn it...you damned bullies. In the one column you both seemed to respond to, I described saying goodnight to my empty apartment, to an indifferent San Diego, as I finished a lone Friday-night concert in my house. I thought this was a pretty pathetic and funny portrait of a lonely loser old guy and rock-and-roll wannabe -- humor directed at myself. My error, I realize now, was using the word "sadness" in describing the silence that met my good night to imaginary audiences (like yourselves, really, Fred Mertz and Cabana Boy).

Had I used a visual such as, say, a talking rubbery dog puppet that smokes a stogey like Conan O'Brien has occasionally used on his show, suddenly popping into the column, with a cartoon bubble saying, "I poop on your musical dreams! I poop on your pacemaker!" this would be hilarious. And then as I try to stuff him down, outside the margins of the column, all the while, this cigar-smoking dog gravelling, "I poop on your homo homeless friends! Poop on you, you alcoholic nancy boy!" -- finally getting him stuffed down and out of the way, the zinger would be me saying, like, you know, completely James Bond and everything with one arched eyebrow, "That is so sad." Then I would have been cool, like Conan. Not some effeminate sniffler like on Oprah or like I was gay like Lawrence of Arabia or Oscar Wilde or those lightweights. See, just arranging for the idea of sadness to appear in a different context that way could have spared you the embarrassment of my artistic failure. Artists are all fags anyway.

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