An important thing you have to know about me is that I tell wildly inappropriate jokes. I will almost say anything for a laugh. When I find other such people I am in heaven. That is how I felt when one of the youngest co-workers, Isaac. He is an anomaly on all accounts. Soon to be 24 year old, blonde haired, blue eyed, straight, Jewish, spent time in middle Montana, rugby playing Brooklynite. Maybe it is this bizarre mix that has crafted his dark comedic sensibilities that can revel my own.
Very recently I have introduced Isaac to the joys of OkCupid. He was quite skeptical at first but now he is a convert. He started his OkCupiding at full force. Last Friday as we gave each other our morning debriefing, his voice became a whisper and he said, “I need to tell you something but it must not leave this cubical.” Isaac and I usually talk about the most personal things quite loud as neither one of us cares to be discreet. When he shushed the conversation I knew it was something important.
He proceeded to tell me that the girl that has gone on five dates with had just informed him that she has genital herpes. He received this information after they had already engaged sexual activities. Which I did hear about in some detail in other debriefings. He then asked for my advice. As a sat on his desk and I thought about all the times I had told prospective sexual partners and how they must have had similar discussions with their friends. I tried to form a sentences but what came out was. “I…umm…I…um…” What eventually came out was “It is kind of weird that you are asking me for advice..” My voice became a whisper” “I am HIV positive”
I was completely shocked that that information didn’t faze him. I mean he seemed genuinely concerned, but for me as a friend, not out of judgment. I guess the only judgment there was my own. So I continued to give him advice on how to treat the situation. I told him that the only thing that he should be wary about is that she had waiting this long to tell him, other than, that if he likes the girl, everything else shouldn’t matter. Oh and to become one with the condom.
Now that I look back on it, I feel so stupid for being afraid to tell someone that I trust and that I truly care about. I was just afraid of the sympathetic looks and he would have to walk on eggshells around me and we would be able to joke like we had done before.
That morning as we wrapped up our debriefing I knew everything would be just fine when he got quiet, turned to me with a serious face and said, “I just have to ask you one more thing, do you know Magic Johnson?”