I have always failed to understand why a workplace as cramped and unproductive as The Stranger's would require its own interoffice mail-delivery boy. For the last few years, my working theory has been that this delivery boy's continued employment, despite the scandal sheet's obvious economic troubles, relates directly to the obscene outfit that he wears year-round, despite the inappropriateness of his too-small, obviously stolen United States Postal Service shorts for winter conditions (and, truly, for any conditions that require a bit of modesty and self-respect). I'm sure his lengthy tenure is also connected to his daily trips to DAN SAVAGE's office that frequently end with his shirt askew (and I would imagine it takes quite a bit of doing to cause a shirt that tight to become askew), his face flushed, and his mind even more scattered than usual.
It was after one of these "deliveries," sometime in the waning days of August, I believe, that this mail boy traipsed into my office, dropped a black envelope on my desk, pirouetted, and sashayed back into Mr. Savage's line of sight. I wondered if it was a mistaken delivery, but it was an opportunity I could not pass up: Inside the envelope was a request that I serve on the jury for HUMP! 5, this year's attempt at violating obscenity laws in the name of "love and sex and laughs."
Trust, dear reader, that I was neither laughing nor loving nor sexing in the slightest last week when I walked to the third-floor "screening room"—which one enters through a door hidden behind the enormous cotton- candy spinner in Mr. Keck's office—presented my invitation, sat down, unstuck my right shoe from the floor so that I might cross my legs, and then proceeded to retch my way through submissions such as Citizen Came, Boys Beware, I'm Hard, Dumpster Humpster, and How to Please Your Man. By the time we got to Beyond Gay, I was nearly beyond the reach of smelling salts (helpfully offered by Lindy West, whose act of kindness does not erase last week's Hooters tragedy) and had to excuse myself. But not before I judged those submissions, and by proxy all other HUMP! 5 submissions, to be damnable and, one hopes, fully prosecutable.
All the while, of course, Mr. Savage was snickering, panting, and toying with the rewind and slow-motion buttons. He said he was sad I was leaving because he had so wanted to be sure that I saw a "hot" sequence in Full Swap. I said I was not sad in the slightest and I wanted to be sure that his mail-toy would never again skip into my office and deliver a request for my presence at one of these illegal gatherings. I believe we understood each other—though it was hard to communicate over the moans of the other "judges"—and I hope that by relating the disturbing details of this encounter, I have prevented at least a few of this paper's brain-damaged readers from buying tickets to this year's public screenings. Perverts: Save your $20. You'll need it for bail someday.