Vancouver
2 min

Subject lines

A cryptic message of resistance

The subject line read like so many others that have passed through my e-mail box: “Please…help… marriage…”

Assuming it was from Egale, I opened the e-mail without a second thought. Half of it was written in bold font, like storm clouds brewing within the text. Whenever same-sex marriage was mentioned, the word marriage was enclosed in quotation marks, implying air quotes. This wasn’t an e-mail supporting gay marriage; it was from United Families Canada trying to overturn it!

How United Families Canada got my e-mail address was answered in the second paragraph: “…because you have participated on the marriage issue in one or more of the projects or activities that United Families Canada has sponsored in recent years.”

Apparently United Families Canada is also opposed to punctuation.

What sort of covert operation could I have participated in that would involve United Families Canada? I did see Chronicles of Narnia at the theatre over Christmas. Maybe they tracked me down by my ATM card.

Like any sane homosexual, I reviewed my options for revenge. Not just revenge, collateral damage.

I considered putting United Families Canada on the mailing list for NAMBLA but figured they didn’t need another reason to hate fags. I would need to take a more subtle approach.

My response would have to fit into the subject line of an e-mail because that is all the person reading it would see before they deleted it. I imagined the person I was writing to as some big-haired Albertan–because let’s face it, the only people who care about traditional marriage are Albertans.

My aim was to write something that would cause her face to twist gorgon-like as she dug her Lee press-ons into the palms of her hands, making them bleed.

After about an hour of this I imagined the Albertan imagining me. How scary I must have appeared to her. I could see the chasm between our respective causes; both of us possessed by our convictions, fingers in our ears saying, “Na, na, I can’t hear you.”

How many of the world’s problems could be solved if there was some attempt at finding a common ground in our mutual fears of each other? Unfortunately, those very fears are being used to wield power and start wars.

It chills me to think how much our world resembles the one in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It was there, in that book, that I found the inspiration for my rebuttal–words I’ve repeated to myself a million times over. In the subject line I wrote the cryptic message of resistance the book’s protagonist discovers in the darkest shadow of a cupboard: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

Don’t let the bastards get you down.