...is the key to any endeavor. It is also an important job skill if you are into S&M, Which I’'m not, which brings me to a funny story about a dead guy. I had this friend, we’ll call him FV for Friend Very dead (inside joke). He liked pain. Like is too weak a word. He loved pain, he craved pain and punishment, humiliation and subservience. He hated himself so much that the only joy he took out of life was when he was suffering. If he were still alive he would get a vicarious thrill out of being written about. A thrill that perhaps his cover would be blown. He was gay, and into S&M and he was completely in the closet, so far back that he would only admit to it on his death bed(AIDS is a BITCH).

He liked the idea of having a double life. A secret identity. He was almost like a superhero. A gay superhero with lots of piercings and such. He loved to skirt the issue of his other self at work. He knew that it would be bad for his career, he also must have known that most of his friends suspected the truth. I honestly think that it sexually excited him to have this hidden self. This unknown side that could be discovered at any moment. And then what?

Ironic then, someone that knew so much about keeping his worlds separate. Someone that knew so much about science and medicine. Ironic that someone like that would let themselves die rather than seek treatment for the disease.

The part that I have yet to figure out: Was it that in the end his shame over being sick with AIDS prevented him from seeking treatment?

That seems likely. The stigma is still there in our society. Coming out would have destroyed his professional career. It would have hurt is family deeply. His friends already knew or suspected, but it would have changed the relationship.

He would have lost the thing that he cherished, his secret. So instead of seeking treatment for what he must have suspected, or have been certain was AIDS he let himself die. Slowly over the course of a year he faded away to nothing. All the time in denial of his ever worsening condition. He held a barbecue for family and friends near the end. Claimed he was getting better. He was lying. He was attending his own wake. He was dead two moths later.

So what I wonder now is that perhaps it wasn'’t shame that kept him from seeking treatment. Like Chinese boxes one inside another. Perhaps he kept knowledge of the seriousness of his illness from himself. Perhaps just as he liked misleading the world about who he really was, he was also misleading himself about his illness.

I guess it wasn’t a funny story after all.