Fooled Me

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” When I first learned this Shakespearean sonnet in college I presumed he wrote it to impress a lady. Sorry- not so.

He wrote it and other sonnets for a man. It’s not what you think. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Right, Jerry and George?) Good old Will was presumably a straight shooter. He was being paid to write nice things about his patrician, the patron of the arts who financed Will’s lifestyle.

This type of re-education process no longer startles me, although there was a time when I found it very unsettling. For example, I used to hear jokes during high school in the late 1960’s intimating that Rock Hudson was secretly married to Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors). I used to scoff at that thinking how could such a “he man” lover be playing for the wrong team? Impossible. Only when he came out towards the end of his life and told the world he had aids and I subsequently heard about his wild parties did it sink in.

The same went for Liberace and Paul Lynde. I just thought that these guys faked being effeminate to milk the audience for laughs. It really hit me when Peter O’Toole came out of his closet. It made sense when I realized in retrospect that he hardly ever played roles where he fell in love with a damsel. None of these revelations affected my enjoyment of watching the aforementioned bipartisan performers or did I feel that I was cheated. If anything, I felt sorry for them that they had to walk on egg shells throughout their careers.

I was also one of those suckers who believed that Sammy Sosa was an honest ballplayer who after seven years of hitting thirty home runs a year developed an upper body strength that magically doubled his power statistics. After all, didn’t Vern Gagne in the 1960’s used to endorse taking his special Dyna Power muscle building juice? Maybe Sosa found his own elixir. Even when it turned out that he was taking steroids, I still didn’t understand why it was cheating. If a person wanted to do things to his body, it was his own business. Yes, I was duped due to naivete.

I got fooled by the Kennedy’s. I was eight years old in 1960 when JFK ran for the highest office in the land. He was cool, good looking and a Democrat. Richard Nixon looked like he always needed a shave and had a distemper about him. It only made sense to want Johnnie boy to be the President. When he was assassinated in November, 1963, I was devastated, thinking that the world had come to an end as I had enjoyed it. It scared me that a grouchy, old man by the name of Lyndon Baines Johnson would assume the throne. It took about another twenty years for Ronald Reagan to come along and set me straight about the Kennedy type of guy and why he and his minions were wrong for the country.

Honest Abe Lincoln would have put me in the category of the people who get fooled some of the time. Lincoln got fooled, too. He thought he was going to see a complete play that night at the Ford Theater and that he had the best body guards in the world. He had a private booth but a different Booth had other ideas. Lincoln met his demise on April 14 so I guess you can say he was the ultimate April Fooled.

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