How My Heroes Interact
Ryan White and Matthew Shepard are sitting on a sidewalk somewhere in heaven. Matt takes out a cigarette.
"Hey, give me one," Ryan breaks the silence.
"No, Ryan," Matt denies. "You're too young."
at 18," Ryan retorts. "I am old enough!"
So, Matt gives Ryan another cigarette. They begin smoking, because there
really isn't anything to do. Terry Fox hops along, stops, and admonishes them.
"Hey, I DIED from cancer."
grins mischievously. "But you didn't smoke. How about a drink tonight at the Red Dog Saloon?"
Terry grins. "Okay,
but you're buying the first round."
Then Terry resumes his run. Robert F Kennedy stops next.
"Have you seen
"I think he's in his office for dead presidents. He said something about his plan to end the war
in Vietnam," Matt responds.
"Did you register for the draft?" Ryan interjects.
"Yeah," Matt answers between
puffs. "And they didn't believe I am gay. Of course, the draft is quite irrelevant now!"
"When are you going to meet Terry?"
"Well," Matt pauses while sucking in a smoke. "I am having dinner at William Brennan's house tonight. He told me that
Blackmun and he had someone like me in mind during Bowers vs Hardwick. He also likes to explain why he remained Catholic,
despite the prelates."
"So when can I meet you at the Red Dog?"
"Ryan, you're too young! You must be 21!"
forgotten. 18 is the age of consent for everything! Besides, isn't everyone 30 in heaven?"
Here's where it helps to read body language. There is the picture of Matt in a party/bar
at the American School in Switzerland. Although he hoists a cup of beer, he doesn't really look happy. He looks as if he needed
a hug and someone to tell him that he doesn't have to go with the crowd to fit in.
When I first started the MBA program
at Penn State, I went to a bar after the first exam. I didn't like it, either. Unlike Matt, I then abandoned the whole experiment,
and I never went to a bar with my fellow MBA students again.
Matt Shepard and Ryan White were bantering in heaven on Thursday, 6 December 2001.
Matt: You surely don't look 30.
I don't like gray hair and wrinkles anyway.
Matt: Being dead is the only way to stop aging.
Ryan: Matt, you sound
like an old Rodney Dangerfield joke. (I asked my doctor to stop aging; he gave me a gun!)
Matt: At least I get respect
Months later, Matt and Ryan were talking in a heavenly cafe in 2002 when Robert F Kennedy passed
"Hey, Senator," Matt called. "NBC is showing my biography on Saturday, 16 March."
RFK stopped and noted, "I announced
my candidacy for the presidency on a Saturday, 16 March (1968)."
"Ah," Ryan interjected. "But this time we know the result!"
"You guys are jealous because I have two movies debut in the same month," Matt jabbed.
"Yeah, but I was alive when they showed mine," Ryan retorted.
"Did Nixon go by here lately?" RFK interrupted the japery.
"Yeah, he should have two movies debut in the same month about HIM," Matt smiled, lighting up the