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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Men on the Make
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Life was the bars and parties, and booze was the center of nearly everything, especially of getting laid as often as possible. Considering how much of this I did in my seamy past, it's amazing I haven't (a) died of a burst liver from all that liquor, (b) been fired from my job a dozen times for being late and/or hungover or just plain absent, (c) contracted any of a dozen sexually-transmitted diseases, (d) been murdered by someone's jealous boyfriend or girlfriend, or (e) suffered some combination of these.

Needless to say, this was long before the appearance of HIV in our midst. It was serious enough business that one might get gonorrhea, syphillis, hepatitis or other unpleasantness.

Somehow my path through life managed to thread its course through the thicket of perils with only the most minor of occasional snags, usually in the form of something with six legs (lice) or eight legs (scabies) -- the latter are by far the more vexing critters, trust me on that.

But it was the standard modus vivendi, you see, to get completely blotto, to lower one's resistance to presumed proprieties, that is, to transgressions of same, then to transgress the whole night through.

This was usually followed the next morning by extensive telephoning, gathering the pulse of sexual social semaphores, rounding up reports of who had done what with whom and who had to lie low for a while lest the jealous lover seek revenge. In retrospect, it was probably all a bit too afternoon television, as a way of living.

I admit to being a little scandalized by my own history now, but at the time, nothing could have deterred one from that stuff -- until the one thing that actually did serve as a deterrent: the prospect of dying for real, the advent of HIV.

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