CAMPOut:Fay's Rehoboth Journal
|by Fay Jacobs|
|Tea Dance and Sympathy
I love this town.
Although, for the past two weeks I've been kicking myself for saying "yes" to participating in an SCAC fundraiser at Caf Zeus.
When a brave Sussex County AIDS Council volunteer came to my office to ask me to volunteer for this event, he made it sound very innocuous.
All I'd have to do is climb up to the big white lifeguard chair in the Zeus courtyard, and spend five minutes at the Sunday tea dance asking for SCAC donations. How difficult could it be?
Well, that was before I found out what usually goes on in that courtyard for Happy Hour. Then I was plain scared.
It seems that part of the Zeus culture is a fabulously well-attended Sunday tea dance where the lifeguard chair is filled by muscled, six-pack-ab-sporting lifeguard types, with and without body jewelry, with and without shirts on, promoting the sale of beverages to guys who appreciate the abs, body jewelry and shirtlessness. I hear tell that sometimes the shots are delivered using some of the flat abdomens as serving trays. Sometimes there's a little CPR practice involved.
Omigod. What could they possibly want with me? My panic was only slightly assuaged knowing that other Rehoboth fools like editor Steve, Ginger the wonderful Frogg Pond bartender, Lori from the Caf (Oy vey!) and others were similarly hoodwinked into participating.
After all, SCAC desperately needs money for their transportation fundthe only way many clients have of getting to their doctors. How difficult could it be to raise the cash and have some fun?
How difficult? When I got to the Zeus courtyard on Sunday I found out. First off, the damn lifeguard chair looked three stories high. Yeah, there were steps, but they were further apart than these thighs have been in a decade. Short of hiring a crane, I'd need a sand bag and pulley system to hike me up.
As the event began and the first life-guard victim took his seat, I sidled up to the bar for a cocktail. I know that worrying doesn't solve anything, but it gives you something to do until the trouble starts. And there was going to be trouble.
The "lifeguard" before me was a buff, bejeweled Baywatch clone. Twenty dollar bills for SCAC flew at the young man as he poured drinks into willing jawsnot exactly the act I wanted to follow.
They called my name and I walked to the side of the chair, hauled my ass up the first two steps, and from what has been reported to me (I have post traumatic stress amnesia), climbed Everest only with the assistance of three dykes and a boost from a body builder in leather swim trunks.
Ah, the cheers! No, not for me. People cheered that I made it into the stupid chair so they wouldn't have to put down their drinks to make room for the ambulance gurney.
Once at cruising altitude, I loved the view: throngs of people braving the 100 degree heat to drink for a good cause. A bunch of my buddies had shown up to support SCAC and their stupid friend, who was now waving a microphone and trying to figure out how to please this crowd to get donations. Singing "Let me Entertain You" and taking off a glove wasn't it.
Wait a minute. Reverse psychology! I gazed across the sea of mostly male faces and found myself hollering "give me the money...or the clothes come off!"
You should have seen the rush. Tens, twenties, all for SCAC.
"Show me the money!"
Some did and plunked it into the silver wine cooler collection pail and others stood below me, their mouths opening like baby birds, with mama here pouring pink liquor into them.
For the Miss Manners crowd we had tiny shot glasses so they wouldn't have to rely on my aim. Good thing, because I missed a lot of mouths, dousing donors and causing shrieks, applause,
laughter and sticky tee-shirts. I think I gave somebody a nasal enema.
By minute three my loyal and long-suffering friends had all coughed up their cash, my previous victims were rinsing off and I was desperate.
"Calling all Schnauzer lovers! " I yelled, and amazingly a Schnauzer owner appeared with some currency.
It was a hundred degrees in that courtyard, and I was schvitzing like no other Jewish girl has ever schvitzed. "Okay, kids," I screamed above the din, "deadline for Letters is tomorrow and while every word I write is true, if you don't come across with the cash I'll make an exception and invent embarrassing fables about you."
That brought forth another flurry of fives, brave shot drinkers and more and more money.
Finally, the longest five minutes in the history of beverage service was over. Yay!!!!
Oh god, I had to get down. By this time I'd stopped asking myself how difficult it could be.
Maybe I could stay up there along with the next "lifeguards" waiting for happy hour to end so I could call out the volunteer fire department. I looked down. It was a really long way to
Tipparary. Thelma and Louise flashed through my mind; should I take a swan dive out into the crowd?
I stood up, inched my way toward the ladder and dangled one foot, searching for base camp. The lesbian posse below gripped my swollen ankles, guiding me to the next step. Arguuuhhhh! There were so many people participating in the dismount I felt like a balloon in the Macy's Parade.
Finally, I hit terra firma to another round of cheers, mostly because people were relieved to have this particular circus act over.
How difficult could it be, indeed. I understand that there were many thousands of dollars raised thanks to the incredible generosity of Caf Zeus and the many, many greenback-tossing participants. And I got column fodder where none existed mere hours before.
So for those who witnessed this whole discomforting affair, as they say in the play Tea and Sympathy, "when you think of this, and you will, be kind. "
Now it's on to Sundance, where more exceedingly generous people raise more needed funds and have a whopping good time doing it.
I love this town.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and can be reached at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 12 August 26, 2005