For high school junior Zachary Clemons, life is fraught with the same struggles as any American high school male: braces, acne, nearsightedness, weak upper body, poorly timed wood…
But until now, facial hair has not graced that list. “You don’t understand,” whines Zach, as he launches into a coughing fit to mask his cracking voice. “It was just starting to get thick, you know? I have dozens, hundreds! of facial hairstyles I was dying to try out on Pinterest. And now- this.”
“This” refers to Fort Worth ISD’s newly-released guidelines that direct school faculty and staff “to acknowledge the gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts,” thus allowing students to use restroom facilities that align with his or her identity.
“My first thought was, ‘You mean all I have to do to get in the girls’ bathroom is tell everyone I want to be a girl now and get free entry?! Uhhhh… yes please!!!
No more looking left, then right, then a quick left again to see if anyone’s coming!
No more tip-toeing into the stall, locking the door, and standing on the toilet seat!
No more holding my breath while I snap pics of girls going #2 over the stall!
Nope, I’ve got an easier way. All I have to do is grab a wig, watch some makeup tutorials on YouTube, have a deep, serious convo with my counselor, change my name to Kathy, tell all my friends, keep this up “consistently and uniformly”… whatever that means… and POOF! Free access to the ladies’ room, suckas!!! Got my camera ready ’cause I’m gonna watch you ALL pee.'” ***
But his excitement faded that very first morning, after Zach Kathy wiggled into his her Spanx, selected a sensible, yet subtly slutty, outfit from his her new Wet Seal wardrobe, and headed to the bathroom to try out a new makeup tutorial called “Beyonce’s Diva Look,” when he she glanced in the mirror and noticed those sparse, fine, telling whiskers.
“I realized then and there that it was either my dream of a Fu Manchu or 20,000 followers on SnapChat (@zachattacksthegirlsroom, holla!). Kathy’d never step foot in school with with that shiz on her upper lip. I’d never let that happen to her.”
When asked what he was going to do next, Zach (it’s still Zach, right?) shrugged his shoulders in resignation, “I guess I’ll just have to go back to sneaking into the girls’ bathrooms like I always did.”
*** Upon pointing out that these guidelines do not give anyone the right to watch other people pee, he just stared back at me, a look of incomprehension in his face, then proceeded to rattle on about all the things he was going to do in the bathroom. I believe he was too committed at that point.
If you are interested in this heated debate, I highly encourage you to read the guidelines that were released by the FWISD and come to your own conclusion.
I trust you both are doing well. I am writing in response to the recent ratification of the Bill of Rights, for which I congratulate you both. This robust and powerful document could not have been brought to completion without your enthusiastic exertion and potent stamina. I must say it is a splendid time in the history of mankind to be a landowning white male in these United States of America.
Notwithstanding, I have a significant bone to pick with you regarding the second of the ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
At first, I must admit I read this as “the right to bare arms,” and in a fit of excitement ripped the sleeves off my nightshirt, relieved that my finest assets would be concealed from the world no more. I now realize my mistake, as I sit drafting this letter from my outhouse (in which I do my best thinking), colder than a polar bear’s pecker. So I apologize, sirs, if you find this correspondence difficult to read, as I cannot stop myself from shivering.
Which brings me to my intention in drafting this letter. While the “right to keep and bear arms” is certainly a step in the right direction, it does little to support the Militia in securing a “free state,” as you call it.
Yes, this amendment allows me to protect myself from a bear attack whilst cooped up in my writing quarters. Yes, I am locked and loaded in the event that the Redcoats come knocking on my door again.* And yes, I can single-handedly thwart a slave revolt with the stockpile of weaponry I keep in my Red Room (not to be confused with my Redcoat room, which, unfortunately, contains far fewer guns).
But the fact of the matter is that this amendment simply does not go far enough to meet the needs of a well-strapped, I mean well-regulated, militia. Allow me to elucidate this concern by telling you a little bit about my local militia, the North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association.
The North Arlington Musket Blasting Liberty Association (or NAMBLA), is a group of the finest, brawniest, most freedom-loving young men residing in the state of Virginia today. I can state this with full confidence, as we have exceedingly strict standards for enlistment. Not only must each applicant submit his measurements and self-portrait for consideration, he must also endure a strenuous interview process, at which time we measure the length, width, and girth of his weaponry. (Although I must say it is quite easy to identify the ones who do not meet our qualification standards, as they tend to be the most boastful and don the fanciest hats.)
To ensure that NAMBLA is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, we congregate for weekly training meetings at Ezekiel’s house, as he has the most land… and privacy. The willingness of these men to take time away from their wives and strenuous jobs (like herding goats, plowing fields, and pushing wheelbarrows) perfectly illustrates their dedication to the cause.** Allow me to highlight a few of our training activities:
Field exercises: We begin each meeting by marching deep into Ezekiel’s fields and deploying our weapons on scarecrows fashioned as Redcoats. Most of our members have remarkable aim, with the exception of Richard, who has a reputation for unloading his rifle prematurely, often before the exercise has even begun. Talk about a Minuteman!
War games: These are simulation exercises during which half of our members dress up as the town women, and the other half practice defending them. I continue to be amazed by these men’s commitment to their roles, not only dressing in women’s clothing, but also applying makeup and donning heeled shoes to make the simulations as realistic as possible.
Weapon maintenance: We conclude each meeting by taking care of our most precious assets: our guns. After years of practice, we have found that the most pleasurable way to conduct an otherwise mundane task is to sit in a circle and polish each others’ barrels. And we never forget to mind the balls- the cannon balls- as they need to be cleaned, too. We do this by pouring hot tea over them and letting them steam in a flour sac, a process known as “teabagging.”
This brings me back to the intention of this correspondence: the Second Amendment, as written, does not equip NAMBLA with what it needs to ensure that our militia is both mentally and physically able to secure the liberty of the free state.
Firstly, NAMBLA is really gaining momentum, and we are having a hard time ensuring that we have enough arms for our growing members to keep and bare- I mean bear. Our only option for acquiring guns is to ride our horse and buggies into town for the gun show, taking us up to a week round trip. This is putting an undue burden on our soldiers, as they are unable to attend the necessary training activities whilst on the road. We request that you insert some stipulation into the Second Amendment that provides for the expedient delivery of arms to our doorstep at a moment’s notice. My fellow Minuteman, Al, has invented a series of tubes to do just that, and I implore you both to further investigate this option.
Secondly, the weapons currently available to our citizens are so outdated that they effectively make us defenseless. During field training, for example, we shoot our load once then have to pause all the fun while we reload. How are we expected to defend our fellow man with all this priming and pumping and jamming of fresh wads? Pardon me for speaking frankly, sirs, but these old-fashioned guns are becoming a real pain in my ass. To that effect, we request that you consider a provision in the Second Amendment that allows us access to more advanced weaponry so that we can spray an entire load all over the field without having to pause every few seconds.
I could discuss this topic at length, but alas, I must bid you both adieu. Today is Tuesday, and I am tasked with purchasing a bottle of lubrication for the weapon maintenance portion of tonight’s training. In sum, I thank you both again for your diligence in ensuring myself and my fellow NAMBLA members the right to bear arms, and I ask you please consider guaranteeing that these fine men have access to much more advanced weapons at a moment’s notice.
* I want to make a point to thank you for including the “without the consent of the Owner” phrase to the Third Amendment, which states, “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house.”
** After much deliberation, we settled on Tuesday evenings, as that is the time our wives are otherwise engaged in Bible study. They are currently studying Genesis 19.
Many thanks to these fine websites for unknowingly letting me borrow your images for the purpose of personal entertainment: here, here, here, and here.
After a series of devastating tornadoes ripped through Texas and Oklahoma in the spring of 2013, Habitat for Humanity stepped in to help rebuild and support the affected communities.
Kay Houston, a 79-year-old resident of Moore since childhood, has praised the efforts of local volunteers, stating, “They have been working day and night since the storm. I have back problems. I couldn’t even bend down to start sifting through the rubble. They moved bricks, dug out memories from my childhood, and kept me company. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for these strangers. They’re my angels.”
And over the next two years, these “angels” cleaned up the mess, raised funds so that Kay could live comfortably despite having nowhere to go, and even started building her a new home. “Last I heard, they finished construction in December. But I’m still waiting for the go-ahead to move in,” she said, a glint of disappointment in her eyes.
We caught up with Jenny Platten, head of the local Habitat office, who revealed that the permitting process has been completed. “All we’re waiting on now is for the house to be Instagrammed.” She continues, “We had a team of volunteers from the local college help with the painting, planting, and finishing touches. A sweet little blonde girl wearing a Habitat for Humanity t-shirt and carrying a really expensive handbag asked me to take a picture of her, but she hasn’t posted it on Instagram. Until that happens, there’s not much we can do for Ms. Houston.”
But Kay Houston claims that she will not be discouraged. “They have done so much for me already, I cannot be anything but grateful. These things take time, and I can wait.
Patten says she has seen this happen again and again in recent years. “Choosing the right filter can be very stressful, resulting in indecision and avoidance behaviors. And if her eyelashes didn’t appear long enough, or there was a funny wrinkle in her t-shirt, that’s an entirely separate round of edits that need to be made. She concludes, “We just need to have faith that the girl will take credit for her community service. Until then, it’s a waiting game.”
Note: This is a work of fiction and in no way represents the opinions of Habitat for Humanity. They are a badass organization that does amazing things for those in need. To find your local Habitat and see how you can contribute, click here.