Dick Yarbrough: A transition from plain white male to ‘cis’

I appreciate that so many of you still inquire about the state of my health after my scary bout with sepsism which I won — barely. Doctors say today that I am coming along nicely. Slowly, but nicely.

My vital signs remain vital and my hemoglobin remains hemoglobical. But, there is a cloud. While I may have thwarted a dread disease, I have now discovered that I am a (deep breath) cisgender.

Why me? Why now? Where was a cisgenderologist when I needed one? Even worse, no one told me. I had to find out the hard way. 

I am honored to share some editorial pages with Jonah Goldberg, a nationally-syndicated conservative commentator. How happy he is to share an editorial page with me is another matter. He writes for a conservative publication, the National Review, as well as the Los Angeles Times and strikes me as a guy who is more in the middle of the political stream than hard-right wingnuts would prefer.

To wit, he recently wrote a pox-on-both-your-houses column in which he rips on both the Republican Party and the Democrats. He says the GOP is running as smoothly as a “dry Slip ‘N Slide made from sandpaper” and the Democrats “have gotten drunk on the spectacle. And as with many a drunk, it’s grown oblivious to its own decrepitude” and their capture by “the angry, sanctimony-besotted identity politics popular on college campuses and a handful of left-wing websites.” The man can turn a phrase.

Like Mr. Goldberg, I think the Democratic Party currently has more nuts than an oak forest and that Republicans won’t rest until they destroy public education. (My own pox-on-both-their-houses contribution.)

I was chuckling all the way down the column until he cites the Democratic National Committee’s data services manager, who sent out an email soliciting candidates for a job in the DNC’s information technology department but cautioned that she wasn’t interested in any “cisgender straight white males.”

Hmm. I have a good idea of what a straight white male is. I see one every night in the mirror when I brush my teeth. But cisgender?

Of course, my first call was to Barney Funk and Porter Wagnalls, the learned lexicographers who are known for their innate ability to analyze the semantic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships within the lexicon of a language when they’re not flipping burgers at their local McDonald’s.

They told me a cisgender is a person whose gender identity corresponds with that person’s biological sex assigned at birth. I wanted to follow up with them, but they said the mechanical apparatus in which they frizzle edible tubers at McDonald’s was fragmented and they were up to their nates in apex predators. I think what they were saying is that their french fry machine wasn’t working and they were up to their you-know-whats in alligators. Never push lexicographers when their french fry apparatus won’t frizzle.

I guess being cisgenderated means I must take a pass on the opportunity to become a part of the information technology team at the DNC. The fact that I don’t know the difference between a megabyte and a mosquito bite would likely disqualify me, not to mention showing up in my “Cisgender Lives Matter” T-shirt. 

But I can’t help but think about some Democratic stalwarts like former Gov. Roy Barnes. Sure, today he is one of the most widely respected and capable lawyers in Georgia, but what if we suddenly quit suing each other? Gov. Barnes might have no choice but to apply for the DNC’s IT department. (“Sorry sir, but you are a cisgender white male.” “But I was Governor of Georgia!” “Good for you but no cigar. Wilbur Sue, would you get me a Kleenex? I shook a cisgender’s hand.”) 

And then there is former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (cisgender white male), former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden (ditto), former Gov. Joe Frank Harris (ditto, ditto), former state House Majority Leader Larry Walker, the sage of Perry (ditto times three). Along with Gov. Barnes, all have served the Democratic Party with distinction and yet none of them could get a job today in the DNC’s IT department. Life can be so unfair.

In the meantime, let me thank you for continuing to check on me and my hemoglobics. I hope learning of my cisgenderation has not caused you disappointment. 

And, please, let’s not share this information with the Woman Who Shares My Name. She is just looking for an excuse to feed me broccoli.

Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/opinion. Contact him at dick@dickyarbrough.com; P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; or via his website, dickyarbrough.com or Facebook page.

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