Living in the Margin of Error
I’m sitting here at press time, nauseously optimistic, hoping that Joe Biden will be our next president. The presidency has not been decided yet, but Joe Biden has a razor thin lead—along with the promise of a cascade of lawsuits, and fully half the country hating the other half.
Is the margin of error my error? For the life of me I cannot understand how 50 percent of Americans still support Trump. I’m sad, angry, and baffled. As for the pollsters, “You’re fired!” if you’ll excuse the expression.
It’s ironic that it was election eve 2016 when I was putting my book Fried and Convicted together. I was certain that the last essay would be written immediately after the election, congratulating Hillary and joyously heading into a new and exciting era.
Shit happens. And on that bleak morning after, none of us envisioned exactly how much shit would actually happen in the next almost-four years. Back then, knowing I could not end Fried and Convicted with an essay that had me figuratively slitting my wrists, I held the book back a couple of months to include a few lighter stories to soften the blow. But for those of us watching the dumpster fire that was the Trump Administration, the blows did not stop.
Consequently, these last three years of essays were often on the gnashing of teeth spectrum, but oddly some pretty entertaining and wonderful stuff happened too. Enough, that my publishers felt I should conclude the 26-year history of my LGBTQ political and social life in Rehoboth with one more “frying” book. So, I will.
Meanwhile, folks still ask “What’s with the frying thing?” It was another margin of error. I named my 2004 collection As I Lay Frying, a super-silly literary pun from a 1996 essay I wrote as I lay on the Gordon’s Pond beach, slathered in sunscreen and giddy to be amid hundreds of lesbians splayed on the sand. I was thrilled I’d be published and certain the book would be a local one-off flash in the pan with a funny name.
Writers plan and the universe laughs. While it was good to hear the laughter, it prompted somebody to say “You should name the next book Fried & True.” Next book?
Well, I was still writing for Letters, with essays piling up, gay rights progress being made in Delaware, and activism lighting up our hometown. Over two wonderful decades, three more collections followed—For Frying Out Loud, Time Fries, and Fried & Convicted.
I’m proud to say that as a series, the books chart Rehoboth life through three Delaware governors, the rise of a Speaker of the House, and CAMP Rehoboth’s brilliant success in becoming not just an LGBTQ community center, but truly the heart of the community. There were years of volunteer strategy sessions testimony, letter-writing, and hard-fought legislative success—from a simple anti-discrimination bill to civil unions, marriage equality, and transgender protections. It took the work of many and proved to be a truly thrilling and satisfying effort.
Will we now start the slide backwards? Only time (and the Supremes) will tell.
So, here’s the scoop. The title of my final collection is inspired by the Jersey Boys’ hit Big Girls Don’t Cry—although this big girl shed many a tear over the last almost-four years of the Trump administration.
Big Girls Don’t Fry (out in late 2021) will end with this column you are reading now, and one more to come in December. It’s been a really good fight and a pretty magical quarter-century here in Delaware for our LGBTQ community. And a lot of spectacular fun, too. I’m honored to have witnessed it all and participated in much.
But wait! It’s just been called! Joe Biden will be our next US president. The relief I feel is awesome and overwhelming. This writer has no words
except, “Thank you, Joe Biden.” And I can avoid the angst of putting a book to bed on an unhappy note. Whew! Go, Joe! Go, Delaware! Go CAMP Rehoboth! I
love you all.▼
Fay Jacobs is an award-winning author of five, soon to be six, published memoirs of her essays from . Letters and Delaware Beach Life. Her books are available at Browseabout Books and wherever you get your reading material.