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Aunt Johnny: Pitching a tent with Rush Limbaugh and Kirk Cameron

Before you read any further, I should warn you I’m in a very bad mood.

My skin is inflamed, blotchy and chapped. My hair is hopelessly dry and brittle ... so the process of attempting a side-part would likely snap it right off like a stomped twig. Don’t even get me started on my cuticles. How I haven’t been mistaken for Tara Reid after being rescued from a deserted island bar after last-call, is beyond me.

In short, I’m a hot mess. Therefore, I cannot be responsible for the harsh tone I may take in recalling the events of this last week.

And it’s Kirk Cameron’s fault.

I’m not typically one to assign blame so blatantly, but in this case it’s absolutely true … denying it would be as futile as trying to cover up my sunburned face with pancake make-up borrowed from RuPaul (trust me, I’ve tried). Well, it wasn’t so much borrowed as accidentally stolen from her dressing room after a particularly heated argument involving marabou and expired lip gloss. So I’d appreciate it if we kept that last part between us, mkay? Thanks.

The last 10 days have been just dreadful. Trying to be a good friend in a time of need, I was coaxed into going … wait for it … camping.

I know. Let that sit for just a moment.

Camping, ladies and gentleman. CAMPING. The notion of me schmoozing among wild animals in the forest and having to sip martinis out of a thermos is about as ridiculous and out of character for me as Sarah Palin driving a truck without a gun rack.

I. Was. Mortified.

For the record, I am not upset with Rush Limbaugh. He was as much a victim in this as I was – and couldn’t be more gracious in his dealing with Kirk’s over-dramatic histrionics … and if it wasn’t for him, I’m sure I would have been mauled by a pack of hungry bears days ago. [Kisses to you poodle, you've been my rock - and I just adore you for it!]

This horrific chain of events started with Kirk coming to my house early on Saturday morning with tears in his big homophobic eyes in search of refuge from the militia of angry queens out to publicly skewer him for some harmless comments he made in an interview on CNN the day before.

"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life til death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don’t think anyone else should either," he said. "So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don’t. I think it’s unnatural. I think it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

See? Harmless.

I was sitting in the kitchen pouring a third round of mimosas laced with B vitamins and Effexor, strategizing with Rush and Betty White on his most recent controversy involving a Georgetown University whore in need of birth control pills, when the door bell rang. My pet honey badger, Buttercup, who was gnawing on his chew toy (or one of Sharon Osbourne's pomeranians … it’s always so hard to tell which), was startled by the sound and went scurrying to the front door.

As soon as I saw it was Kirk, I scooped up Buttercup and put him in his crate. I’ve never been able to figure out why, but Buttercup simply does not like Kirk Cameron. He’s a judgmental little badger. He either likes you or he hates you … and I was not sober enough to risk another rushed trip to the emergency room.

Rush was not pleased to see him. Not because he doesn’t adore Kirk, but because he knew that Kirk has a flair for drama and the rest of the morning would be spent drawing focus and quoting the Bible. This would surely delay our strategy session.

Betty, on the other hand, was thrilled to see him. Nothing gets the liver spots tingling on her 90-year-old arms like making Kirk awkwardly uncomfortable with shameless and inappropriate flirting.

After explaining that he feared for his safety from those savage fags with sharp tongues and cutting shears, he begged to hide out at my house. Betty, in her infinite wisdom and perpetual lack of common sense, had a better idea.

“No.” She declared, taking a swig of her mimosa, “It’s not smart to hide here. We need to get you out of town … fast! Besides, there isn’t enough room here anyway, since Rick Santorum is crashing in the guest room during his presidential campaign. You know, that diva’s hair products take up all the space in the bathroom! No, what you need is a vacation to a remote location where no one would think to find you.”

“Betty, this couldn’t be a worse time of year to go to P-Town,” I warned. “Besides, I’m pretty sure we’re still not allowed to go back.”

Meanwhile, when did my home become a half-way house for wayward Republican zealots with the occasional fancy for bigotry?

“No,” she said clapping her hands with glee, “we’ll go camping!”

I assumed she was joking. But before I knew it, we were packed up and driving to Utah in Rush’s fully pharmaceutical-stocked RV.

At first, it really didn’t seem so bad. The RV was nicely appointed with all the essentials needed to survive in the wilderness. Stoli, Beefeater, Patron, Xanax, Percocet, Oxycontin, Viagra, Ecstasy, Cialis, Ambien, poppers, and Cuban cigars. There was even a bottle of Tylenol and a liter of Evian … which seemed like overkill, but I assumed it must be used as heart medication. It wasn’t until we reached the camp grounds that my panic started to set in.

First of all, there was nothing but lush trees and beautiful landscape as far as the eye could see. There was even an unpolluted creek nearby suitable for skinny dipping or beating up against a rock. I couldn’t be more repulsed by the sounds of nature and the foreign burning in my lungs from fresh air. And … AND, not a single bar or dimly lit lounge in sight! It was as if we were Pilgrims starting a new civilization and giving Syphilis to the locals.

Our first night was pretty much miserable, because we couldn’t seem to agree on the most appropriate way to start a camp fire. Kirk wanted to rub sticks together (which, I totally misunderstood at first … sorry Boo!). Betty suggested using her bifocals to reflect sunlight on a kamikaze shot. Rush offered to break wind near a hazard flare. And I broke into tears when someone suggested we ignite a perfectly good glass of Bacardi 151. Clearly at a stalemate, we retired to bed early in pitch black darkness because Betty wasted our supply of flashlight batteries on a different kind of appliance she referred to as “her friend.”

The next couple of days were spent with Betty and Kirk frolicking in the creek while Rush and I huddled to discuss PR strategy to deal with this whole slut-without-a-Nuvaring debacle. Well, they weren’t so much “frolicking” as much as Betty snapping underwater photos of Kirk in his swim trunks, and Kirk trying over and over again to walk on water – and failing.

“You’re going to have to suck it up and apologize,” I said with disgust at my own statement. “The liberals will have a field day if you don’t. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but we’re in an important election year – and there are kissing cousins in trailer parks all over this great country of ours who need your sage guidance and support of our Republican candidates leading up to Super Tuesday. That won’t be possible if your advertisers keep pulling out like teenage boys and conservative senators without condoms.”

Rush hung his head in exhausted resignation and finally agreed. This is the statement we carefully crafted over Patron shots and Oxycontin suckers:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

If I do say so myself, this was an exquisite apology. It was the ideal combination of meaningless words in sequence that would convince the most discerning liberal audience with a finger on the pulse of righteous social order. Unless of course that audience knows how to read. For the literate, this apology may not have appeared thoughtful or authentic … but if we took the time to actually take accountability for the gaffe with sincerity and remorse just to appeal to the few who test above the 2nd grade level, we’d be setting a precedent that, quite frankly, makes me uncomfortable.

Besides, that’s all we had time to come up with anyway. Kirk, in his adorable little OCD-on-Jesus kind of way, had us booked solid on this wilderness excursion with scheduled group prayer, spiritual hikes, and surprise baptism/colonic ceremonies.

On the upside, I do feel closer to God while enjoying refreshing regularity.

Since no one bothered to pack rations that weren’t in a pill bottle or could be served dirty and chilled, at some point, we began getting delirious with hunger. Fortunately, on one of our “spiritual hikes” we happened upon a pack of hungry gay bears who were camping nearby. Despite the inappropriate flirtation and an embarrassing misunderstanding involving a harness, the bears were really quite lovely to socialize with.

First of all, their campsite was immaculate with designer camp gear by LL Bean, scented candles and All-Clad cookware to make delicious camping-appropriate entrees like Trout Amadine with roasted asparagus and butternut squash puree. The disco ball and peppy club music playing on the Bose sound system was also a tasteful touch.

A crafty bear fashioned a martini glass out of fig leaves for me to sip Stoli out of, and I was finally starting to have a good time while rolling bears danced off in the distance with Rush and Betty – who were both chewing on glow sticks. Then, my good time was abruptly interrupted when the sound of Kirk screaming like a girl invaded my ears as he ran frantically from Buttercup.

I never should have let him out of his crate in the RV. But he so loved the rush of adrenaline from sneaking up on unsuspecting baby deer and rattle snakes … and this was, after all, supposed to be a vacation for all of us – so I decided to let him run about for the evening. Clearly that was a mistake, because within minutes he was lunging at Kirk with a wild red rage in his eyes (a red that, incidentally, matched his crimson Eddie Bauer fleece vest just beautifully. But still.).

After that bloody altercation, the gay bears were a bit put off by our lack of social grace (the gay’s prefer alliterative verbal cat-fighting and the occasion bitch slap to physical violence) – and promptly asked us to leave. So I collected my short-fused honey badger, a recently unconscious Kirk, and my two other friends with dilated pupils – and walked back to camp, embarrassed and angry.

We spent much of the rest of the time that week tending to Kirk’s various wounds from his scrap with Buttercup. I hardly slept a wink. Between the faulty RV air-conditioning and having to fight off a sleep-humping Rush Limbaugh, my eyes never stayed shut long enough to hallucinate.

Rush insisted on popping Viagra every evening because he explained it was originally formulated for mountain climbers to maintain blood pressure at high altitudes … and since there were mountains all around our campsite, it was better to be safe than sorry. But in combination with the Ambien he ate like candy, it had some inconvenient side effects … his perpetual attempts to mount me being the most annoying. It was like a Brokeback Mountain love scene with 1200 thread-count sheets and prescription barbiturates.

Betty, simpleton that she is, later questioned why insurance covered Viagra (prescribed to men like Rush who need a little help raising their American flag) while health insurance at religious institutions don’t cover contraception for women.

“So women are sluts if they use contraception, but men are encouraged to walk around with medically managed erections?” Betty said in bewilderment. “If women are supposed to be virtuous, who are these men supposed to have sex with?”

I looked at her blankly and rolled my eyes.

"Duh, Betty," I said flatly. "The bears, of course."

Love ya like a bear circuit party in the woods,

Aunt Johnny

For years now, Aunt Johnny has been doling out advice to celebrity friends and family - bringing a little dose of wisdom wrapped in wit, sprinkled with satire and sautéed in drama to those who can't seem to get their act together. He's helped to prevent fashion catastrophes, stupid career choices and petty romantic theatrics, to some of the most famous names in show business and politics ... all from the comfort of his martini glass. Now, he's bringing his celebrity and pop culture buzz to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. With tongue in cheek, he's taking pop culture shaken and stirred. Then he's shaking it some more.