There's an old Joanie Mitchell song that goes, "You never know what you've got 'til it's gone" and it's a line that has run through my mind a lot lately. As my faithful readers know, my brother passed away shortly before Thanksgiving last year. I have been overwhelmed by the kind letters, e-mail and person-to-person condolensces which have come my way since then. Thank you all so much.
We've all lost someone dear to us, it seems, and many people told me that my story touched them, some even shedding tears and most vowing to appreciate the ones they love while they still have them. But one letter caused me to shed a tear.
Last year I wrote a column wherein I mentioned the tragic (and still unsolved) murder of a Portland escort, Angelique. Most of the mainstream media was doing what the mainstream media can do so well, turning her murder into a media circus and painting Angie as some sort of scarlet strumpet who had no one to blame but herself. I often wondered, after writing about her, what happened with the case and how her friends and family were doing. Well, after my brother died, I found out.
Her best friend wrote a long letter outlining the outrages the "justice" system has put her loved ones through; from not pursuing the case promptly to refusing to accept Angie's mother's identification of her body to keeping that same body for four months. During those agonizing months, Angie's friends and family felt very alone with their grief. Society at large didn't understand why anyone would mourn for Angie, viewing her and her work through the myopic eyes of puritanical morality, completely missing the only point that matters: Angie was a human being with the right to be safe and alive. Some monster, still walking the streets today, is the one who deserves the condemnation of society, not a young lady trying to make her way in the world. Her friend asked a question I think we all know the answer to, when we wrote, "I have to wonder, if it had been the mayor's daughter that this happened to, what the outcome would be."
I have no magic bullet for Angie's family and friends except to reassure them that they were most certainly in my thoughts. I hope that all of the ladies in the adult industry (as well as you gentlemen customers) were as heartbroken and outraged by the sin committed against her.
There's nothing we can do for Angie or for my brother anymore, other than cherish their memories and taste life a little more fully for them. But we can do something for others in our tribe who still live. I like to think that those of us who enjoy the sensual pleasures of adult entertainment are not simply creatures of loin but also creatures of heart. While some may purse their lips into sharp lines of disapproval, we can show them that their slanders about our morals are empty.
Portland's Butterfly, cr eator of many of the beautiful costumes your favorite dancers wear, needs us. Her President's Day gift was a brain aneurism and a trip to Emmanuel Hospital. Now, I've had my own ambulance ride to Emmanuel and I know it's not a courtesy service. Nor were the experimental surgeries that Butterfly has survived (and which she might have been able to have avoided, if this country didn't have its head up its ass as regards insurance). Although her condition is sensitive, she is doing well. But she'll be recovering with the burden of enormous medical bills.
A benefit for Butterfly will be held soon but if you'd like to help out now, donations are accepted at the Bank of America for Kriss Co. c/o Butterfly Benefit Fund, account 26651-07662. Cards and letters can be sent to 11635 SW Hall Blvd., Suite 11, Tigard, OR 97223. Let's help our sister out, folks.