Rest in Peace, Rosetta
~thank you for the gifts of your humor, your love, your hugs, and
your wonderful being you~
June 17, 1769 – April 9, 2016
The following is a post originally published on October 26, 2011. It was a brilliant concept where we all wrote eulogies about each other but got to read them before we were were gone. Below was the eulogy written by BlackIsWhite on Our Friend Rosetta:
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Allen Klein said “Humor does not diminish the pain—it makes the space around it get bigger.”
Allen must have known our friend Rosetta, who was taken from us at far too young an age by the first known transmission of plant-to-human potato blight.
From an early age, Rosetta knew the kind of emotional pain that many are fortunate not to experience until later in life. When he was 7, his parents allowed him to be kidnapped by cast members of “Up With People” when the show passed through his home town, or so he thought. As it turned out, they actually sold him to the producer of the travelling production, although he did not find this out until later in life when he had a chance meeting with his brother in a latex fetish store that he had wandered into seeking a neon pink hosenphucker suit. He was soon reunited with his parents, who were impressed that his fetishes had exceeded even their own in terms of their weirdness.
Those early years in the theatre made an impression on our young friend, as did the straps and leather ties used on him by his “uncles and aunts” as soon as he was old enough to drive the touring company bus. While he never liked to talk much about those formative years, they did nothing to reduce the sensitivity of young Rosetta, whose overriding love of show tunes (especially the score from “Paint Your Wagon“) was only surpassed by his fascination with latex clothing and the myriad of colors and styles that were introduced at the annual Latex Fashions Show in Berlin.
When Rosetta left the travelling theatre company to put down roots and attend community college, he soon realized that his upbringing was anything but average. He excelled at his studies, having trained himself five years earlier to get by on only an hour of sleep a night. While his perspective was not often appreciated by the more serious peoplesurrounding him, others quickly came to realize that he was a funny mofo, and he quickly drew a following that was willing to overlook his personality quirks and Howard Keel-esque voice belting out famous show tunes through the dorm hallways after the local bars had closed. Not a few of his fellow students also came to resent his easy wit and ability to charm the pants off of their girlfriends…literally.
By his senior year in college, Rosetta believed he had no skills to speak of and thought his prospects to be dim. Over a pitcher of caiphurnias, a friend convinced him that while no one would ever be looking to him for the next great mathematical equation, the grand unified theory of physics, or the next great novel that high school students around the country would someday be forced to read, it didn’t matter, because he was a funny mofo, and if he used it to his advantage, he could be richer than all those other guys. Realizing that the charm he used to talk comely co-eds out of their frilly panties and bras was the same charm that could sell Eskimosice futures and politicians shares in wind farms, he went into financial services, and never looked back, proving George Herbert‘s apt observation, “In conversation, humor is worth more than wit, and easiness more than knowledge.”
Although he managed to turn laughter into conquests, he eventually met a beautiful woman who left him hopelessly smitten. He tempered hischarm with heartfelt sincerity, and she was impressed beyond any words other than “I do.” However, he never stopped appreciating the variations on beauty that surrounded him, and never lost the appreciation for a great set of overstuffed boobs that was taught to him by the jaded old queers in the travelling theatre company. When he saw his first picture of Kerry Marie, devouring an all-you-can eat Chinese Buffet, by herself, he began a lifelong infatuation, marked by photos of the buxom lass in numerous cheeseburger and pizza stalking positions, leaving him the exquisite torment of a fixation that could never be requited, but could at least be calmed by an annual subscription to her website, a CD with a copy ofQueen’s Fat Bottomed Girls on a continuous loop, and the ability to add her in a BBF post every few months, so he could read Wiserbudcomplaining about how much fatter she was in the newest post than in the last BBF post he included her in.
Rosetta drew many people, regulars and lurkers, to the Hostages, mostly because he could make anything into a joke. People stayed because Rosetta’s jokes and gags helped so many to cope with personal tragedies and setbacks, as well as a world that brought fresh news daily about how it chose in large and small ways to abandon reason, and make the absurd the new normal. Another friend of mine once remarked that it is a very angsty place. But it was also a place he helped to make a home. Whether he was blaming Mare, or explaining how he had decided to declare himself a racist because a teacher had decided to be a douchebag to a politically aware young lady who had the temerity to wear a t-shirt that offended thepolitically correct teacher’s sensibilities, he was finding ways to tailor humor into a universal language that made you laugh and made you cheer as he poked the finger into the eyes of those who wanted to suck the joy out of life for others around them. This bald, grinning man displayed one of the kindest souls I have ever encountered, and understood better than most the power of the tongue.
He never used it to build up, but he also never used it to tear down, which is a remarkable thing. He was a rare man. One who understood this great power, and could have used it himself to great effect, but chose instead to use it to help people to forget, or at least take refuge, if only for a few moments, from those things which they could not forget. I believe that this was because he knew all too well about the sorrows that life could inflict upon the human condition, and generously gave of himself that which he wanted most for himself…to feel the stings of life neutralizedby the healing joy of laughter. This is why he could touch so many people in ways that left them wanting more, instead of wanting to press charges.
When I read the account of the birth of his and his wife’s son Max, I cried.
In a profession that necessarily robs you of your humanity, just so you can keep other people’s secrets, and bring order to the dysfunction of their lives, I never thought that I would be able to be moved by someone’s story that way. But that was our friend and brother’s greatest gift. To remind us that our experiences shape our souls, but our character defines who we are, and I fear that I could never face the same thing in my life without letting the pain twist my soul and saturate it with a bitterness that would contaminate everything about me. I think of the things that so many of us carry around, and I think this is a confirmation of the old bromide that “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Rosetta had so much love to share with children that the loss of one couldn’t change who he was; there was so much love that flowed out of him like a river that it couldn’t change him. And when his son Henry was born, we saw the light that Rosetta carried around shined even brighter.
Even if I could, I wouldn’t ask God to bring our friend back to us; Max waited patiently for his time with Daddy, and even someone as jaded as myself isn’t that selfish or cruel. My request is for the next best thing:
That God never lets his words lose their power to touch us.
Those words, with our memories, are the legacy that he left for us. And if we cannot enjoy his company any longer, then those words, and the laugher they draw out of us should be sufficient to take some of the stingout of the tears that we shed today at the loss of our friend, who understood what Sir Francis Bacon knew when he said “Imagination was given to man to compensate for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”
“Goodbye” is uttered too often by grieving people at their loved ones’ funerals. Rosetta and I shared the belief that shuffling off the moral coilis only the beginning. Therefore I will only say “Expect us when you see us, man, man-lesbian. Until then, keep the indians cold, and give Max a kiss for us.”
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Hugs for all
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