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Funny American LGBTQ+

“Who are all these people? And why are most of them wearing cheap DayGlo hoodies?” Jax asked, pursing his lips in mild disgust.

“Our fellow conference attendees are wearing Safe Hoodies,” Jillian explained carefully. “They are available in a variety of aura-lifting colors and body-acceptance sizes. Wearing Safe Hoodies shows our unity. We, as warrior-survivors, are in a safe place, safe just in ourselves.”

“Oh hon, we are safely in Plano, Texas . . . The only crime in 70 square miles is that woman’s pantsuit,” Jax replied, looking down his nose, over his glasses. “Her choice of apparel is a felony in at least a dozen states.”

“You are being unkind,” Jillian warned her snarky friend. “That woman was influenced by her own mother’s fashion choices, undoubtedly influenced by thousands of years of toxic masculinity. Her pantsuit is a byproduct of systematic oppression.”

“Look. At. Her.” Jax pointed. “Her pantsuit is a byproduct of double worsted polyester—”

“You need to stop, Jax. You are so programmed. Let’s find our seats. The keynote speaker is amazing!”

“She’s twenty minutes late,” he groused. “Wasn’t this supposed to kick off at 9:00 a.m.?”

“Twenty minutes of personal reflection time is a gift we give ourselves,” Jillian said. “On a daily basis, we need to identify how much both society and our families have let us down. That’s the theme of this year’s conference: They’ve all let us down. Don’t let it go.”

“First, what is it? And second, why would you want to keep it?” He stage-whispered loud enough for three rows in all directions to hear. 

Shhh,” a young woman with a severe bob haircut hissed at them. 

Jax pantomimed zipping his mouth shut and throwing away the key. Severe bob haircut quickly turned back around in a huff, clearly triggered. 

They all watched as a tall elegant woman in her late 30’s took to the podium, wearing a gently patronizing smile across her flawless face. Her face was displayed in Wizard of Oz-like proportions just behind her on the jumbo screen. 

Jax started to applaud when Jillian quickly grabbed his hands before he could clap. He glared at her. “Are you holding my hand? Sorry, I don’t like you that way.”

“We do NOT clap,” Jillian aggressively whispered. “Don’t embarrass me.”

“And why don’t we clap?” 

“Because clapping derives from the most egregious form of Western hegemony: Ancient Rome. The playwright Plautus wrote plaudite at the end of his plays—”

“Meaning his plays were over and people should express their appreciation . . . ?”

“It was a directive for the audience to applaud. Very classist. Very elitist. Very Marxist. Shhh. Listen to the keynote speaker . . .”

“Welcome, my fellow Wallowteers! I’m Doctor Wendy Willingstone, and I officially greet you not as others, but as fellow beings to the 2021 Don’t Let It Go!

“She’s a doctor?” Jax asked incredulously.

“I think she’s a chiropractor—” Jillian replied.

“I paid $79.99 to hear from a chiropractor? Jillian, chiropractic medicine is a pseudoscience. It’s not even related to counseling or therapy. What is she going to do—manipulate our collective spines to rid us of the trauma of bedwetting?” 

“Jax—” she whispered almost violently. “You said you’d come to understand yourself better.” 

Jax rolled his eyes, mumbling: “I understand I’m out eighty bucks.”

“It’s been a great year to really examine the role childhood anxiety plays in all of our adult lives,” Dr. Willingstone continued. “And since most of you are living with your parents, I’m sure you’ve taken your morning reflection time to deconstruct the extent of damage your primary gender role models have caused you,” she paused dramatically. 

The audience nodded and murmured with approval. 

“Let me just say I hear you,” Dr. Willingstone continued. “I hear you because of my active listening skills, as discussed in my latest book, available at the back of the auditorium. You may want to make an investment in yourself.” She paused as lights lit up a table in the back next to a cash register. 

“$79.99 was just an installment?” Jax whispered again to Jillian. Jillian fired back a death glare.

“I validate the schema of where you were, and I rejoice in the projection of the who that is who you really are. By the end of this conference, your psychogenic mind-body connection will be better as we don’t let it go.” At this point, the speaker reached out her arms, as if wanting to give a healing hug to the entire audience, mostly women in their 20’s and 30’s, who now wiped away freely flowing tears on their faces. 

Jax muttered out of the side of his mouth to Jillian, “I only understood about 37% of what she just said. Do I get a partial refund?”

Shhh!” Severe bob haircut firmly expressed her displeasure with Jax. 

“You can just stop shushing me right now. I’m feeling attacked,” Jax said loudly, placing his hand on his chest. Severe bob haircut looked momentarily shamed. 

Jillian put her hand over Jax’s mouth. 

“So my warrior-survivors, we have an embarrassment of riches in our work this afternoon. After your box lunch selection of either a free-range cheese sandwich or a faux-tuna sub, you will have three breakout Thinking Pods to choose from. For unspecific parental issues, we have the Oedipal-and-Electra-isn’t-so-complex course in Ballroom A. For childhood trauma over birth order, the oldest children will meet in the elegant corporate lounge with a very detailed, structured curriculum, while the youngest children—the babies of the family!—will have complete autonomy in the hotel’s fitness center. The meeting for middle children has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.”

“Of course,” Jax said. Jillian sharply elbowed him.

“Stay present as I go over a few more details. We realize your parents did significant damage to your inner child, so additional classes are being offered for an extra fee. You may register for Healing Talks to deal with:

  • Having to move during your K-12 school years,
  • Losing your best friend in 9th grade,
  • Not getting what you really wanted for Christmas, and 
  • Being served foods that tasted “yicky” but were allegedly good for you. 

A very special Healing Talk will be available to cover related trauma to O-foods, such as olives, onions, okra and oysters.”

At this Jax stood to leave. 

“Jax, where are you going?”

“Jillian, thanks for thinking of me, darling, but this has been a colossal waste of time and money.”

“Jax, I’m sorry—”

“I know you are, hon. But I love my father, I love my mother, and hell—I even love okra. I wasn’t traumatized as a child, and I don’t need imaginary things to get over. Imaginary friends, maybe. Imaginary things? Not so much.”

“Are you really leaving?”

“I am, Baby Doll,” he said, kissing her on both cheeks. “I hope you find what you need here, but just a little advice from me? DayGlo hasn’t looked good on anyone since the 1990’s.” 


January 24, 2021 00:35

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46 comments

Amany Sayed
15:45 Feb 03, 2021

Yesss so great. The middle child was ignored ahh :') Seriously though I love these characters.

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Deidra Lovegren
15:52 Feb 03, 2021

Thanks. They really love you back.

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Amany Sayed
15:54 Feb 03, 2021

:) how flattering

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Julie Ward
19:21 Jan 31, 2021

OK, first of all, bravo to you for working in the Subway faux tuna kerfuffle. Talk about trauma! Seriously, this story is so entertaining. I love that Jill has Jax to keep her head on straight (but will he still love her when she's into Crossfit?) and I love that Jax has Jill to remind him to be nice. Your stories are always a pleasure to read and this one was double the fun.

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Deidra Lovegren
09:01 Feb 07, 2021

CrossFit! How’d I miss that. Dammit. Oh well, Jillian will go twice and quit. And Subway is the font of endless jokes... Jax popped up in two more stories. I suspect I’ll just have to write an HBO series for him, staring Randy Rainbow

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Lee Roberts
13:29 Jan 24, 2021

I wonder if “they” will get it. Probably not. I do, though, and to me that’s all that matters. 😀😀 Bravo!!

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A.Dot Ram
06:39 Jan 24, 2021

This was hilarious. I wonder why Jill thought of Jax, though? If none of this is relevant to him? Could he be protecting himself from something he doesn't want to explore?

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Deidra Lovegren
09:02 Jan 24, 2021

Like Jax, I’m all for self reflection and discovery. But I’m not a fan of charlatans monetizing mental health. Snake oil salesmen abound these days with buzz words and “feel good” quick fixes. To “know thyself” is a long introspective process, not easily undertaken nor accomplished in an afternoon at the local Ramada Inn.

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Fawn Marshall
15:47 Feb 01, 2021

The spotlight on the merch table brought flashbacks. I laughed out loud at the part about the middle children's session. This whole story was lovely - thank you for sharing!

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Deidra Lovegren
08:59 Feb 07, 2021

Thanks, Fawn. Jax spawned two more stories. Can’t seem to quit him 💕

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Scout Tahoe
04:10 Jan 28, 2021

I'm convinced the "Don't Let It Go" employees are all part of some cult brewing in Texas. They take your money and eventually convince you to join too. *Like something from a Schitt's Creek episode if you've seen it, haha* Cult or not, Jax is my favorite. He is the character of the century. I couldn't stop laughing and I needed some breathers before writing this comment. Wow.

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Deidra Lovegren
08:53 Jan 28, 2021

Jax is definitely coming back. I love him ♥️

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Scout Tahoe
14:12 Jan 28, 2021

I love him more <3

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Jonathan Blaauw
08:53 Jan 25, 2021

Deidra, I just love your insights and comments on current society! It's sprinkled with your signature humor, but it's also an astute look at how crazy things have gotten in this new century of ours. You do this kind of stuff so well, and I imagine it's quite cathartic. Sometimes you look around and all you can do is laugh about it. As a middle child who suffered absolutely no ill-effects from being born 'piggie-in-the-middle' but has heard all about 'forgotten middle-child induced unhealthy attention-seeking coping mechanisms,' I laughed es...

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Deidra Lovegren
16:52 Jan 25, 2021

As someone who prides herself on unhealthy attention-seeking coping mechanisms, I think you are missing a great opportunity to off load any residual guilt and/or disappointments on to your parents. It's what they are still there for... Cathartic is Hamlet verbally ripping his mother to shreds, then stabbing his ex-girlfriend's father who was hiding behind the tapestry to spy on him. Talk about clarity!

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K. Antonio
16:59 Jan 24, 2021

I thought this was hilarious. Right in the beginning I started imagining Jill and Jax as those snobby elitist "progressive" people. In a sense, they felt so "woke" or at least thought they were, while having this judge-y "I know what's high fashion" persona. I laughed for most of the story and the fact that it's dialogue forward really provided no distraction, it was a very -just sit back and enjoy- funny piece... but it also had a moral. They amusing tone right in the beginning really drew me in!

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Deidra Lovegren
17:11 Jan 24, 2021

Thanks, KA. Nice to be writing satire again. Tis the silly season :)

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Helen Park
23:30 Mar 28, 2021

Haha, I loved this story! The juxtaposition of Jax and Jillian (seeing how he's sensible and sarcastic and she's stuffy and technical) is brilliant. And I must say, Jax is the king of roasts! Especially the line about understanding 37% of what the doctor said, and the last line: "I hope you find what you need here, but just a little advice from me? DayGlo hasn't looked good on anyone since the 1990's." That was hilarious!

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Deidra Lovegren
23:55 Mar 28, 2021

Jax and Jillian would be a good HBO miniseries. Especially when they fight over the same man. :)

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Helen Park
00:08 Mar 29, 2021

It certainly would be!

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Cari Brook
14:06 Feb 02, 2021

I love your psychology references. The character development was so good, I'm certain I know people like Jax! Thanks for the story! If you want, check out "Umbrellicon" on my page!

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Y M
08:19 Feb 01, 2021

Really loved the story - it was quirky and funny and very enjoyable. I bet there are people who would go to a conference like that, but I definitely agree with Jax!

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Deidra Lovegren
14:37 Feb 01, 2021

Jax is one of the few voices of reason in our world.

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Susan Sidell
05:31 Jan 30, 2021

What an interesting premise! Jax was such a refreshing counterpoint to the ultra-serious Jillian. While reading it, I wished I could be a quick with a quip as Jax. And I laughed at the faux-tuna mention because just today I read about a national sandwich company being sued for not having tuna in their tuna sandwich! Prescience?

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Deidra Lovegren
12:56 Jan 30, 2021

Jax would definitely make an inappropriate faux-tuna joke at this point...and we’d laugh at his bawdy wit.

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Elliot Thomas
00:27 Jan 30, 2021

Ah yes, my favourite kind of cheese. Free-range. We all need a Jax in our life. All the characters (even Severe Bob Haircut) feel developed enough to be real. I love the level of satire and sass. Good job :)

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Deidra Lovegren
00:58 Jan 30, 2021

Jax needs a whole novel to sort everyone’s shit out. He’s a personal favorite, absolutely.

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23:22 Jan 27, 2021

This story is so funny. I really enjoyed the characters!

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Deidra Lovegren
00:02 Jan 28, 2021

Jax is my new BFF

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04:46 Jan 28, 2021

Can't wait to see what type of trouble you'll get into with him.

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04:46 Jan 28, 2021

Can't wait to see what type of trouble you'll get into with him.

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04:47 Jan 28, 2021

Can't wait to see what type of trouble you'll get into with him.

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Deidra Lovegren
08:56 Jan 28, 2021

Jax has a lot to say about life in 21st century America...

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Dan Odhiambo
16:19 Jan 27, 2021

Jax muttered out of the side of his mouth to Jillian, “I only understood about 37% of what she just said. Do I get a partial refund?”WOW! this is a great peace,

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Deidra Lovegren
16:21 Jan 27, 2021

You have the best author bio on Reedsy. Ice cream for everyone! :)

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Dan Odhiambo
16:26 Jan 27, 2021

Huh no.You have one of the best headlines in here.

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Katina Foster
14:31 Jan 27, 2021

What a treat! Just what I needed to combat the winter blues. Thank you for making me laugh! The trauma related to O foods especially got to me. So good and so absurd. I want to be friends with both Jax and Jillian. I also want to know where each of them falls in the birth order. 😆 Apparently, the fashion of the 80s and 90s are coming back in style. Time to break out the overalls and those hypercolor shirts that don't change color anymore.

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Deidra Lovegren
16:16 Jan 27, 2021

It's 82 in Florida...far too hot for January BLAH So great to hear from KC Wooo Hoooo - Hope the novel is going well. Let's just say it: Jillian is the friend you have for 15 minutes and then decide -- Nope. Jax is definitely my imaginary spirit animal (or whatever the kids are calling it these days.) I'd hang out with Jax 24/7. "Fashion" is a very generous word to describe the hideous clothing we wore in the 80's & 90's. More like "surrealist fever dream" . . . Thanks for dropping in for a read. Always fun.

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Tom .
17:44 Jan 26, 2021

Thank you for making me smile.

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Deidra Lovegren
18:50 Jan 26, 2021

Yay! My work is done here.

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David Gottfried
01:56 Jan 26, 2021

"Very classist. Very elitist. Very Marxist." Ha! I feel like this story needed at least four or five trigger warnings! Well done, as always.

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Deidra Lovegren
10:28 Jan 26, 2021

Winter is the perfect season for satire. 🥶 cold hearts everywhere hearts 💙

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I think that these characters you created, Jill and Jax, were amazing Deidra. Only someone as talented as you could develop them so creatively. Spectacular job. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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Deidra Lovegren
22:11 Jan 25, 2021

I must say, I so love my Jax. He's my favorite character this year. He'll be back :)

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"He'll be back"...yes! I'll be back to read more from him. ;)

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Amaya .
01:59 Jan 29, 2021

Hi Deidra! I don't know if you remember me but I was wondering if you could read my newest story. I admire your writing so much and it would be great if you could give me some tough critiques :)

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