May 25, 2007

Tinky-Winky Speaks

The death of Jerry Falwell reminded me of a recent chance meeting with a character that had a pivotal role in Falwell’s life.

About a month or so ago, Mr. Mcblogger had posted that some of the writers of this blog had left me in Arizona or Iowa. Actually, it was Barstow. I had convinced them that if they drove me to Simi Valley, I would piss on Reagan’s grave. When we got to Barstow, I revealed that my true intention was to go to Joshua Tree to find where Gram Parsons was cremated. Well, they thought that was creepy and we agreed to part ways.

Fortunately, I found an old timer in town who used to make the run to Joshua Tree for, in his words, “all those hippies and cosmic cowboys” until 1977. That is when a disco opened, KC and the Sunshine Band performed, and that was that. We spent the better part of the week in the national park, but when we got back, I had to find a ride home. Again fate shone my way as Large Marge hauling feed out of Bakersfield was able to take me all the way to Tucumcari where she had to head north to Dalhart to care for her old man who was on a 3 day bender after retiring/quiting/laidoff from the electric co-op.

Before starting to round up another ride, I stopped at a local diner where the average age of the customer was somewhere past ancient and all the waitresses would give Flo a run for her money. As I was lifting the cup of joe to my lips, an unusual image caught the corner of my eye. As I turned, a small purple figure appeared in the back booth near the juke box.

Well, I’m not well versed on kid shows, but the triangle antenna on top of the head jogged my memory about Tinky-Winky’s brush with greatness back in the late ‘90’s. The courteous thing to do was to leave him alone, but my curiosity got the best of me as I wondered how a fading English children’s character ended up in a lonely New Mexico outpost.

I thought introductions would be labored since how do you talk to someone who only said “eh-oh”. As I walked up to his booth, I was surprised when he inquired if I was there for an autograph, or one of those religious nutters who was going to tell him that all homosexuals are going to hell. I said neither, but was interested in knowing how he ended up in this backwater.

He said something about a shady agent who negotiated payment for his appearance on Jerry Springer for land near Taos. Unfortunately, near was 150 miles away. Anyway, to make a long story short, he decided to take title. By the time the show ended, he was so burned out on the biz, he wanted to get as far away as possible and he remembered the land.

Actually, he said it was much easier to mainstream into the community than he thought. Apparently, a song by the ’70 rock band Little Feat had mentioned Tucumcari along with the phrase “weed, whites, and wine”, and a good number of people whose brains were fried from mushrooms and hashish visited the town and decided to settle. They treated him like a spiritual icon.

He said there is a strong conservative presence in the town. Some of the local business leaders thought it would be a great idea for him to promote the city through the Chamber of Commerce, and provide funding for a theme park. What about the gay thing? Oh, don’t worry, they said, we don’t care about such things. However, when Tinky told them he was not interested in their harebrain ideas and especially handing over any money to these jackals, they started a campaign to drive out the heathen homo and accused him of molesting cats. Well, most people saw through the lies, and anyhow, the immigration issue started to flare up, and the nutters transferred their hatred to the Latinos, and left him alone.

For the most part, he was happy with the rest of the Teletubbies and enjoyed the constant hugging, even though he did mention one peccadillo of Laa-Laa. She had a bad habit of going through stretches of bathing once every couple of weeks, which made her really rank.

Our conversation finally got around to Falwell. I’ll let him speak.

Tinky-Winky: The whole gay thing really put a damper on my sex life. That handbag I carried? One of the executive producer’s bratty little kids had one and told daddy that I should carry one. I beefed a little, but when the EP started making noise about replacement, I quickly shut up. But actually it was a good thing. In the late ‘90’s it was all about the sensitive man. I was getting laid by a lot of good looking chicks who got off on the “not afraid to show my feminine side” gig.

When Falwell said I was gay, it really dried up the groupies. After that it was fag hags who wanted to cuddle and shop - please. Then that Isaac Mizrahi guy started putting out Teletubbies handbags. The worst part is I didn’t make a damn cent on that endeavor. The cheap bastards.

For awhile I pasted on my refrigerator the Hustler cartoon of Falwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse, but eventually it left an empty feeling and no closure. Instead of sulking, I decided to see what made him tick.

I believe his existence delayed the progress of fighting AIDS and the acceptance of gays, and his hateful diatribes kept alienating sane religious people who want to live a compassionate life.

His influence is waning. He is a fading figure whose power has dispersed to localized fundamentalist leaders. Even though these leaders take a more subtle approach, they still campaign against women’s reproductive choice, gay rights, stem cell, bans on school prayer, and they emphasis creationism. Their talk about global poverty and climate change is just that – talk.

Did you know that in high school he was caught using counterfeit lunch tickets? Interesting that years later he was caught using a counterfeit soul.

Tinky continued to talk about the Moral Majority and Paul Weyrich, but it was getting late and I had to find a ride home. I thanked him for his time and told him the next time I was in the area, I would stop. He gave me his card and wished me well.

After a couple of false starts, I finally caught a ride with two women. Their names were Stacie and Rachel, but kept calling themselves Thelma and Louise. I’m no Brad Pitts, but they were no Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. I’ll leave that story for another time.

A couple of days ago, I contacted Tinky to get his take on Falwell’s death. He said he had been fighting hateful thoughts, and the gratitude he was feeling on his passing just didn’t seem right. He was contacted by the gay and lesbian advocacy group called Soulforce who instructed him on non-violence and loving your enemy. He said they were truly wonderful people.

After hanging up with him, I felt melancholy about Tinky. Here was a figure that existed to bring joy and happiness to young children who was attacked by viscous religious nutters because of their misguided beliefs. Even after all this, Tinky realized that Falwell’s fate would be decided by his maker.

Posted by Captain Kroc at May 25, 2007 09:55 PM

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absolutely brill!

Posted by: mcblogger [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 26, 2007 11:56 AM

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