by Calico Rudasill
Adventures at a Family Reunion
There it was, the question I’d been answering again and again throughout the evening: “So… what is it you’re doing these days?”
In each case, the person asking the question was either a blood relative, an in-law, or a close friend of the family, and as such they already knew the answer – or believed they did, at any rate. They’d all heard at some point, possibly in a whispered conversation that same night: I was working in the porn industry.
Some of the partygoers immediately (and unfortunately) assumed this meant that I made my living in front of the camera, and I suspect more than a few of them undressed (and possibly ravaged) me in their increasingly drunken minds as the night progressed. I’d like to believe that group doesn’t include any of the aforementioned blood relatives…. but some of these guys have been living alone in the desert southwest for a seriously long time, so I’m not assuming anything.
In this instance, the person asking me was an old friend who works in bioengineering these days. He’d just finished telling me about how his company uses genetically modified bacteria to create substances normally derived from petroleum, and how much this sort of thing could reduce humankind’s dependence on fossil fuels, help eliminate pollutants from the air and water, and maybe, eventually, even get Sarah Palin to fuck off already with that “drill here, drill now” catchphrase of hers.
This sounded like work of actual importance, so part of me was hoping that I wouldn’t have to address the what-do-you-do-for-a-living question. “I write satirical blog posts about porn, irritating celebrities and random highly intoxicated sex offenders” just sounds sort of trivial following on the heels of “I’m saving the planet and securing our future with germs in a petri dish.”
What I found over the course of the party, however, was that no matter how important, lucrative, dangerous, interesting or fucked up the work being done by my partners in conversation, all anybody wanted to talk about with me was porn.
I had to explain to one of my cousins, a surgeon, that no, I can’t help him hook up with any porn stars. I helpfully noted that some of them have been known to escort, and that he might try going that route, but he seemed to find that insulting for some reason, as though being a surgeon is just so fucking special that it makes hot chicks want to blow you on spec.
From a hydrologist who thought maybe I’d have Lexi Belle’s cell number handy to a JAG lawyer who kept reminding me that porn was “arguably illegal to make in Arkansas” no matter how many times I reminded him that I (a) don’t make porn anywhere and (b) live in Arizona, not Arkansas you plastered, inattentive jarhead of a shyster, everybody seemed torn between disapproval and insatiable curiosity. Each conversation danced somewhere in the space between tsk-tsk and “Tell me more!”
Eventually, I decided it was more fun to just make up bullshit about what I do in the porn industry, rather than try to explain that I’m really more of a freelance writer than I am a “pornographer.”
“I provide janitorial and sanitation services on extreme gonzo porn sets – you know, the kind where they shoot stuff like record-setting ganbangs and 100-man bukkake sessions,” I told one in-law, who responded by pretending to receive an urgent phone call just as I was getting to the part about how many mops and industrial-size bottles of Mr. Clean one needs to keep on hand to deal with the aftermath of such fuck-feats.
I told one sister-in-law that I was a fluffer, mostly because I didn’t particularly want to talk to her in the first place. It worked like a charm; she made a face like she’d just sipped ox piss instead of white wine, then bolted across the room like I was covered in gasoline and about to strike a match.
In retrospect, I wish I’d told everyone in my family that I worked for the CIA, NSA, or some other top secret national security apparatus. Sure, they’d probably be even more curious about my work, but at least I could kill any conversation with “Sorry – that’s classified.” (For some reason, nobody ever believes that about Lexi Belle’s cell number….)
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