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I don’t know if a lot of people saw this, but it’s worth mentioning. For those of you who don’t click on the fabulous links I provide, I will explain this one to you. The people at the Landover Baptist Church have done some investigating and believe they have exposed what they consider to be a secret handshake between homosexuals. Not only is this offensive towards gays and disturbing that this type of investigative journalism goes on, but that’s the very same secret handshake that we hand in our gang when I was growing up.
In my younger days, I was in a gang. It wasn’t your typical street gang like the Bloods or the Sharks or the Jets, but it was still a gang. There were four of us in this gang, and we modelled our personas after the members of Kiss. We were six, so cut us some slack. I was the Paul Stanley character. Looking back on it all, had I known Paul would one day play the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages theater in Toronto, I would have picked someone else. Jerry got to be Ace Frehley because he had been held back in the first grade a couple of times and was sixteen or something and could make us all cry. He got to pick first and of course he took Ace. Who wouldn’t? Dave thought he was the leader of the gang so he got to pick Gene Simmons. I don’t even remember who got to be Peter Criss because I think his family moved before second grade.
We were the cool kids of first grade. We were in a gang. The only thing we didn’t have was a secret handshake we could use to identify ourselves to one another with in case the lights went out in the classroom or something. I distinctly remember the Peter Criss kid suggesting we use the handshake of the Freemasons. Why we didn’t kick him out right then and there I’ll never know, but needless to say we weren’t sorry to see his dad get stationed somewhere in South America. I wanted to somehow incorporate a modified version of Harpo Marx‘s handshake he did in “On The Balcony” but no one else knew who the Marx Brothers were. We ended up using a handshake that Jerry’s uncle taught us in his garage. Jerry was just a jerk and we had to do everything his way.
One day Dave had the bright idea of letting his girlfriend Connie Harbaugh join the gang. This made me livid because there were no girls in Kiss and none of the guys in Kiss had girlfriends (Gene hadn’t begun to date Shannon Tweed yet because she was only eight at the time). I wouldn’t back down to Dave’s demands and eventually the gang split up. I think we tried to replace him with an Eric Carr persona, but the gang then had two drummers and no Gene, so it didn’t make much sense.
There isn’t much point to this story other than to say that Dave must have taught the handshake to Connie and she must have told people until the Landover Baptist people found out. If I still kept in touch with Jerry, I’d have him kick Dave’s ass. In retrospect, were would have imitated the Dead Kennedys had they not had five guys in the band. To this very day, I am mistaken for East Bay Ray more than you might think.
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