Janice’s recent history had been beyond his control. He’d expected to get a hard time from his pals at the gym, from fight organizers, from everyone… Instead the world rolled out the red carpet. Frankly he’d been disappointed. He’d been looking forward to the chance to bash a few heads and claim it as “standing up for what’s right”. Instead the world came together en masse to buttress everything around him. Their efforts, however well intentioned, meshed so seamlessly that Janice was merely along for the ride.
It didn’t hurt that he looked pretty hot as a chick. These things matter.
Within a week of announcing, while still hung over, that he was now “Janice”, the man formerly known as Gerald had a full ride scholarship. Instead of scraping by in the Phys Ed department as “not football” he was on easy street as the English department’s prime example of “historically oppressed”. Soon he was getting class credit for giving lectures at elementary schools. The kids applauded like he was an astronaut, firefighter, and Power Ranger combined! He was the coolest thing since recycling. Who wouldn’t want an army of pint sized “fans”?
The whole university loved him. The English department had literally gotten in a bidding war with the Grievance Studies department over him. He had no idea why. They had to be aware he was a terrible student. Oddly, his GPA steadily improved as Janice even though continued to do the same crappy work as Gerald. Who among the professorial staff dares inflict poor grades on an oppressed minority?
He tried to resist the siren song of “free ride” but it was a powerful current. Once, in a fit of guilt, he’d tried to honestly improve his grade through merit. He’d arranged for a math tutor. Alas, it didn’t work. After a scheduling snafu, he’d gotten a bit frustrated. The upshot was that he left a nerd wrapped around a potted plant. For that, the tutoring program apologized to him. How did that make any sense? In the end, he’d stopped worrying about scholastic merit entirely and watched his grades in “Remedial Fractions” slowly climb through no discernable means.
Meanwhile, he was everyone’s friend. Unexpectedly, every jock on campus went out of his way to be seen as supportive of his “brave and awesome” new personality. With the “transvestite seal of approval” their DudeBro street cred was assured! He was invited to parties, introduced to friends, taken out to dinner, and passed around like a huge blunt stuffed with pure social tolerance. There was a lesson in all this. It’s not a big leap going from a fighting ape in an octagon to a trained monkey at dinner but the pay is much better for the monkey.
All this social interaction also improved his sideline business. Starting as a two-bit illicit steroid supplier for a few idiots on the football team, he’d expanded to be the most successful testosterone pusher in town. Much of this was due to the Janice persona. He could do no wrong and nobody dared question him. Consider the optics: should Janice peep the word “oppression” it would unleash a stampede of free legal protection, supporters anxious to spend a sunny day marching around town, and howls of “police brutality” from an adoring press. Steely eyed cops slunk away when he arrived; it wouldn’t do to be called intolerant! Thus, Janice could carry anything smaller than a wheelbarrow anywhere he wanted; executive suites, football locker rooms, every bodybuilding gym in town, and more than a few surprisingly upscale suburban homes. He did this not so much unobserved, but as if he held diplomatic immunity.
Plus, of course, there was the initial intention of fighting in an arena with slightly smaller opponents. Most people say they don’t want to go through life playing the game on “easy” mode. They’re lying! The only thing better than winning is winning big!
So, it had come to pass. It started as a lark but it became a lifestyle. And now chemistry had him in a vice. He was in his apartment alternating between “’roid rage” and weeping over imaginary butterflies. Something had to give.
If you think “huge blunt stuffed with pure social tolerance” is the kind of metaphor that should be in all future literature and possibly retroactively inserted into Shakespeare, feel free to click below. If you, like Edna, bristle when an unwashed deplorable blogger mentions Shakespeare, you also might want to click below.