April 29, 2018

This is my friend Neil Hedgecock. He’s a legend. You probably won’t find him on social media. Because legend. He invented the Legalize Crack shirt. He meant it. I saw him wear it while dribbling a ball in circles around people at SFO before airports had color-coded alert systems that don’t do anything but tell people how much fear they should feel. At a camp staff meeting in 1998, when I wasn’t out of the closet, Neil, a cis straight white 20ish-year-old, not at all senior staff, told about 3 dozen other staff, including everyone above him, that they had to knock off the use of the word gay when replacing the word dumb/stupid/wrong, and that he’d noticed a lot of men on staff, and women, behaving totally inappropriately around the subject in front of camp, which no doubt had gay students who we were trusted to make feel safe. I was among the people he was calling out. I’ve known I was gay since 4. I learned self-preservation that early too and took a lifetime to snap out of it. Neil was one of the first people I wrote (via WebTV) when I finally stopped ripping myself, and people far braver than me, off. The joy in this guy’s heart that Neil Hedgecock cared to come see who I’ve become, and that our smiles have only grown wider, is center ring with any success I feel.