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Sometimes pride takes a backseat; sometimes it’s lost up the backside. Having both reached a peak of wide-mouthed overstatement and bleach contamination, Savannah and I are teetering about the chalk marks of our former selves lately, each with a mine-was-worse-than-yours account at the ready detailing our concurrent Friday, glamour-free panic attacks. She went to a doctor, I went to my husband’s medicine box, and we’re both, clearly, dying … not very proudly.

“Are you going?” I clutch at my chest from the black feathers of my Sunday-morning deathbed.

“I’m going,” she gurgles through her Sidekick.

Where we’re going probably isn’t a very good idea at all, although nor is it necessarily hell. It’s Come Out With Pride 2007, meaning there’s a parade involved, and we’re supposed to turn on that magic switch (the one only reachable with two pinkies and some lube) that pushes Miss Pride back up to the front seat with voluminous insincerity and mouth movements penetrated by sounds like “yaaaay!” and “wooooh!” It shouldn’t feel like punishment, but given that Savannah is stumbling through my downtown neighborhood in heels with what our shared hairdresser Joel is calling a “Xanover,” while I’m exercising my own version of guppy breathing exercises – basically hiccups – it doesn’t measure very high on the pleasure principle either.

“Gawd, this is like taking your drunk grandmother to Disney!” I grandpa.

“Shut up,” Savannah slurs. “I’m not a-wearin’ my walkin’ shoes.”

Fortunately, there will be a pirate ship. This year, the Weekly teamed up with everybody’s favorite source of secret vibrating lubrication, Fairvilla Megastore, to build some kind of nautical wink/nudge to the smirking violation of ye old poop chute. That’s right, tragedy scorekeepers, we’re butt pirates.

But our ship’s not yet come in, so we – along with Joel and my friends Eddie and Cori – hike the Eola hike all the way around to what appears to be a comet collision of queer commercialism. With each approaching step, the pacemaker oonce-oonce of clubland – and all of the shirtless beneath-the-bar blowjobbery that implies – gets louder, as the crowds of queers in every shape and stripe begin to congeal into a living, breathing gay organism. (There are reportedly 20,000 folks here this year, twice last year’s number.)

“There are so. Many. Hot. Guys,” we all oonce in dramatic beat-step. “I’ll take a queer-ass fuck in this Queer as Folk,” etc.

Joel and I eke our way into the VIP tent for a pre-piration libation and happen upon the power-gay Sheehan circle of, well, commissioner Patty Sheehan, her girlfriend Jocelyn, and police liaison – and thumping pile of man-meat – Jim Young. After some polite conversation of the “I like your watch” variety (“Look, I can walk a straight line today, Occifer”), a challenge develops. Patty mentions the strength of her girlfriend’s arms, I take a sip of my drink and all of the sudden it’s time for a gun-off.

“Howsabout them guns!” I awkwardly roll my sleeves over the mountain of my elbow.

“Hmmm,” chews Young. “Too bad there’s nothing stuck in my teeth. I might be able to use them then.”

“Well, if I’m not mistaken, you’ve just confessed to wanting me in your mouth,” I zing. Awesome.

But I can’t rest in this dental victory, as it’s time to become a butt pirate and roll through downtown. Over at our float, scissors are clipping butt-pirate T-shirts into the required gay misshapenness, and I’m securing my place on the DiCaprio “king of the world” bough. A soundtrack boomed from my own iPod is making everything gay gayer by means of Bananarama, and I think my empty chalk-mark has returned to its desired state: an amphetamine maze. I am meant to be snorted!

Savannah and I swirl around with the same Valium lackadaisy that we’ve managed at the past two Pride parades, preening for photos, tossing beads, smiling and giggling like we aren’t even dead. I do, however, hit a small child and a dog with some beads, which leads to some beads from a balcony slapping down on my head, and subsequently, my own hitting of my head on the front plank. All is fair in the world of butt pirates.

Overhead, an Exodus International gay-fixin’ airplane banner promises hope for homosexuals, and we all scream, basically taking it as it was not intended. There may be hope yet!

And then it’s over. Well, at least for Savannah. She decides to take her celebrity swoon to bed, while I grab a swig of Malibu from a bottle provided by another float and soldier gaily on. There’s a whole Pride shindig scheduled for the rest of the evening and I think I’m floating on just enough fumes to not acknowledge the lack of a real pulse in my body. I can be both gay and alive, dammit.

I shouldn’t have stayed. In the blur of the remaining queer twilight I will see a baby walk for the first time (cute!), cavort with former TV hung Josh Wilson while we count the “packs” on a shirtless man’s abdomen (seven!), discuss me with me and whoever else is listening (not cute), drink some more, suggest killing myself in the dyed waters of Lake Eola (way cute) and record a television shout-out in front of a camera, saying something like, “I can’t believe how gay I am!” I am a living panic attack.

On stage, star performer Jennifer Holliday rounds out her showstopping three-song set with her signature Dreamgirl hit. “And I am telling you I’m not going …” she croons.

And I’m gone.

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