The Fabulous Wizard of POZ

Published: May 29, 2013

Every month or so, a group of people in my area host “poz socials,” a house party for people living with HIV. I found myself at one recently, because I thought it was important to make an appearance since becoming a literary superstar.

I was settled into the living room sofa and liked the spot very much. Sharing a couch with regular folk has an air of humility about it, while its angle allowed me to be viewed by a large number of the guests milling about.

The man next to me leaned in closely to be heard over the hubbub of the party. “Are you on the cover of that magazine…?” he asked, of course.

I should proceed with caution, I thought. If he is a stalker and I engage him haphazardly, he’ll steal my social security number and soon claim we’re Minnisota’s latest newlyweds.

“Well now, what magazine do you mean…?” I said, and then I smiled demurely. It’s best to display warmth when you are recognized in public. But carry mace.

“The magazine you’re holding in your lap…” he said, “with the cover facing me? I saw some copies on a table at the front door, I think. That’s you, right?”

“Oh, this magazine!” I said, waving it in my hand as if I’d just discovered it, “yes, well, they’re sending me so many you know, boxes of them, I just thought people might appreciate me bringing a few of them to –“

“…and there’s a stack of them in the bathroom, too,” he continued, “which I thought was odd, and outside on the back lawn. Someone laid them across the grass to spell out OZ. Is this magazine about The Wizard of –“

“No! POZ.” I fingered the cover’s masthead like I was teaching the alphabet on Sesame Street. “P-O-Z? POZ. POZ Magazine.”

“Well, it just says ‘OZ’ in the back yard now. I think they had to make room for the lawn chairs.”

This man was irritating me. He hadn’t even begun to ask about my thoughts on fame or on balancing family with my public persona or about Having It All. I became concerned with his comprehension skills.

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