Those ducks and swans at the end of that commercial remind me of something funny that happened to me and my friends at the campus pond one time years ago. There were several of us come up from old Pine Point to feed the ducks and swans - myself, the late, great Jay Libardi, his girlfriend and five year old son Jory (who we sometimes called Kidblast) and maybe a couple of other Springfield crazies.
When we arrived at the pond all the ducks and swans were at the other end, but when they saw us on the shoreline they knew just what that meant. The UMass campus pond is one of the most popular duck feeding spots in the Valley, and therefore not coincidentally there is always a lot of ducks to feed. It's funny, the more food you give away, the more ducks hang around. There's a lesson in life in there somewhere that the administrators of Springfield's homeless programs might contemplate.
Anyway, it was quite a sight when all the ducks, geese and swans realized that the free lunch had arrived. They suddenly amassed into one advancing army of fowls, flapping and squacking across the water towards us like a wall of bread addicts. The sight and sound of the birds bearing down on us stunned us into silence, all except Kidblast who in a voice of genuine alarm cried out, "Holy Fuck!"
Have you seen that movie A Christmas Story? You know, the part where the kid drops the lugs for the tire and says a bad word which angers his father? That was the effect that Kidblast saying "Holy Fuck!" had on us. We stared at him and each other in shocked disbelief. How could this innocent kindergartner at The World Famous Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School have picked up such a phrase? Realizing what he had inadvertently said and observing our expressions, Kidblast's face melted into a look of apprehension and despair such as only children can show, not having learned to be ashamed to be afraid.
That sorrowful expression brought us to our senses. Where did Kidblast acquire such language? Good grief, he had spent his entire life in a bohemian stoner scene where hardly two sentences in a row passed without the word fuck being used as either a verb, noun, adjective, adverb, dangling participle or just plain mashed into the sentence any which way in defiance of all the rules of grammar. How stupid of us not to have considered the fact that Kidblast was internalizing all this bad language!
So instead of getting upset we all started laughing, and then we were hugging and kissing Kidblast to show him that we were not mad, and that there would be no punishment as we went merrily about our task of feeding the greedy birds.
It's been three years since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, and three years later no other state has legalized gay marriage. On the contrary, Massachusetts has created a national backlash that has caused many states to pass legislation specifically forbidding their courts from making gay marriage legal.
Not being the marrying kind, it was never a big issue with me. If straight people want the name "marriage" reserved for themselves, then I couldn't see the harm in humoring them as long as there were so-called civil unions guaranteeing equal rights to same sex couples. Frankly I didn't think that gay marriage would catch on very much outside of a small number of romantic lesbians, since I always considered that one of the few advantages to being gay was being free of the responsibilities and burdens of married life.
Then some things happened to change my mind. For example my cousin and his lover of 15 years got married, and I was shocked to discover the number of my relatives, good Catholics all of them, who refused to attend the marriage of this person they had known since he was born! Then I started noticing the sort of people who were most vigorously opposing gay marriage. It was obvious that they were not pro-marriage or even pro-heterosexual. They were out and out haters of homosexuality.
No way am I going to have anything to do with those sort of people. Besides, I think that ultimately they are on the wrong side of history. Like it or not, the age of gay marriage - and a whole lot of other non-traditional family arrangements - is upon us and so we have to make a choice between either doing what has to be done to make those arrangements work, or instead we can fight each other over religious texts and make each other miserable while accomplishing nothing.
What will the future be like? Well gay marriage in Massachusetts may be a first for America, but it has been the norm in places like the Netherlands for many years. Here is a clip from a kid's TV show in Holland, on which a song is sung in Dutch but with English subtitles added so you can follow along. I don't think it will be too long however until this song is translated and re-sung in English, as a segment to be aired on Sesame Street.