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Holy hush-up

Holy hush-up


Great news! I have identified my next career. I had always planned to become a librarian after I retired from being a comedian. After years of trying to make people laugh loudly, I thought it would be fun to go around, index finger to pursed lips, bug-eyeing people into silence. Ironically, librarians are some of the loudest, staunchest supporters of free speech, so my activist needs would also be met. But with Amazon and Google people don't go to libraries much anymore, and I don't do house calls. So I despaired of ever finding a second career.

After a delightful Greek cruise with Olivia's offshore lesbians, it was in Italy that I found my next vocation. It was quite a culture shock to go from seven days of feeling free with my sea gals to plunging into Italian art and commerce. I tried to preserve that lovely presumption of lesbianism for as long as I could. We like to think the best of everyone. But when the voice on my self-guided-tour headset kept telling me to admire the deft brush strokes of painting 47 without ever commenting on the grisly content of the rape of the Sabine women--or to note the well-executed detail in painting 49, the massacre of the innocents--I knew the illusion was finished.

At first we were cheered by the faded rainbow "PACE" flags strung from Roman balconies, but they were more about peace than gay trendsetters. We oriented our gay-positioning systems, found the gay bookstore, and asked Claudio, the very patient manager, where all the gay people were. In English far better than my ciao-prego-ragu Italian, he explained that the closet there was huge, churchlike; that there was a gay village Tuesday nights, six-euro entrance fee; and that the Rome gay pride march was the next weekend. Given the new pope, Claudio said that the march was more important than ever.

We were unable to get an audience with said new pope and Harry Potter hater, the Widow Ratzinger. No sleeveless shirts, no shorts, no service with Il Papa. So we toured the Vatican. More marble busts of men with no eyes. More steroidal statues of ancient circuit-party boys. More tapestries of sandaled he-men, glowering like Russell Crowe.

Finally, we reached the stifling Sistine Chapel, mobbed with touristi, hailing the very gay frescoed ceiling with their upturned cell phone/cameras, their yakking towering to a muted roar. Suddenly a sharp, hissing Shh-h-h! stopped the din mid-Babel. The Sistine Shusher! It was as if the crowd had received a holy bee-yatch slap. Every time the bedlam built, the Shusher slapped it down.

Obviously this is the job for me. Of course, I'd secularize it. Instead of shush, I'd say sheesh. "We do not know where that leak came from, do we, Kardinal Karl?" Sheesh! "As a Supreme Court judge, John G. Roberts will not legislate from the bench." Sheesh! "We're strong and resolute on the war on terror." Sheesh! I'm just practicing, and I feel better already. This job has health benefits!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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