This is the third of three excerpted chapters from Michael Kearns’ just-released autobiography, “The Truth is Bad Enough: What Became of the Happy Huster?” now available on Amazon (you can read my interview with Michael here). It’s an often entertaining, often cringe-inducing, always honest look at a life that makes you say, If there was no Michael Kearns, somebody would have had to invent him. – Mark McNease/Editor
“We are all lucky to still have Michael Kearns with us,” Sir Ian McKellen says “now recording his private and public story with an honesty and humor that put most other show-biz autobiographies to shame.” THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH, What Became of The Happy Hustler? traverses more than a half of century—from Kearns’ roles as ribald party boy to impassioned artist-activist to doting father. From the Seventies’ sexual revolution to the gay parenting boom of the Twenty First Century, Michael Kearns has defined nearly a half a century of American life: culturally, politically, and sexually. In many instances, he was not only at the forefront of the historical milestones, he created them.” From the description for “The Truth is Bad Enough: What Became of the Happy Hustler?”
FROM: ACT THREE: FATHER Chapter 71
Tia: “Ma damn foot’s caught in the door.”
We play this game, back and forth, and have for years, just to remind ourselves of our shared history; it’s one of the many ways we confirm our closeness. This PG-rated version of a knock-knock joke was taught to me by my step-grandfather, Poppy, the only male grandparent I knew. He tended to overcompensate for his harridan wife (my mother’s mother, who detested me) by being genuinely on my team. I think of him with great affection when Tia and I carry on the tradition of this flimsy silliness.
I have never been in a relationship, nor have I ever observed a relationship, like I have with Tia. Our connection to each other exceeds any connection we might make with others (and we both partake in some intense ones). There are only two incidents that could alter our earthly bond: marriage (Tia’s) or death (likely mine).