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You Sleigh Me
Mom said I'd make a good lawyer. Dad said I should have been a hippie. My parole officer said I better straighten up and fly my reindeer right. None of it made sense. I was lost, aimless, foundering in a sea of unfulfilled potential -- until I read Night Crawler by Silke Tudor (Dec. 20). Thanks to you, I now have a purpose in life!

I know what I was born to be -- a marauding Santa!
The thrill of outrunning security guards, the taste of warm malt liquor on a chilly night, the sweet discipline that only a dominatrix Santa-ette can give ... a standoff with the SFPD! These are a few of my favorite things. Please, Silke, you're my only hope. Only you have the impeccable underground connections required to unite me with my people. I must join my brothers and sisters for next year's rampage. If I don't hook up with them, who knows what horrible fate might befall me? I can't go on like this forever! I could spiral downward. I could become a lawyer, for god's sake! If my people contact you about next year's debauchery, please send me any information you can gather. Believe me, it will get you on the "good girl" list for life. (If you'd prefer the "bad girl" list, Santa can arrange that, too.)

Thanks for the great column, and may your stocking always be stuffed.
Hugh Gurin
San Francisco

Lifelong Recovery
When I saw the cover "Calling It Rape" (Dec. 13), I froze in front of the newsrack. Oh my god, I thought, someone found the letter I wrote! Just two days earlier, I had written a letter to the man who raped me 22 years ago. I stood on the sidewalk, oblivious to the Christmas traffic rushing around me, scanning the article for coincidental details. I, too, was a 16-year-old virgin; he, too, was a 24-year-old acquaintance. Our stories diverge from there.

I had run away from home and was sleeping on charcoal bags in the back of a 7-Eleven store, eventually getting sick from exposure and too many chocolate doughnuts. I was taken in by a seemingly kind man who treated me well for a month. During that time, he asked me questions about sex. I explained that I was waiting for the right person with whom I would plan a beautiful ceremony of initiation. I said I knew I would feel a certain way when I was ready and I didn't feel that way yet. "What is 'ready' going to feel like?" he asked. "How will you recognize it if you've never felt it?" I was too naive to recognize his growing impatience. I assumed he was merely curious about my beliefs. I remember saying that I thought sex was private, something you do by yourself. Trying to do such a thing with two bodies would undoubtedly be awkward and wouldn't it make the people burst out laughing? I thought that was funny, but I remember he didn't laugh.

Being raped as a virgin is the worst aspect of my experience. Having rape as my first experience of sex established a terrible imprint that has affected my sex life ever since. I'll never know what my life would have been like if I had been able to choose that first time. Maybe it wouldn't have been as great as I dreamed. But it would have been my choice and my disappointment. I was wrong to trust him, but that doesn't excuse his behavior. I was 16. I had a right to naivetŽ. He could have warned me that others might take advantage of that innocence and warned me that he was tempted to do so himself. When I cried out in horror and objection during my attack, I was told: "All that talk about waiting to be ready was bullshit. You're the kind of girl who would never be ready. You needed someone to force you or you'd never do it. You were living in a fantasy world. This is the real world now. This is what sex is, and you better get used to it."

Those words have haunted my life. Imagine feeling raped every time you had sex. Imagine thinking it was something you were supposed to "get used to." Now imagine the repercussions of that on all your relationships. That's what I lived with for 22 years. I have only recently managed to shake that feeling. Perhaps my rapist was abused as a child himself. Perhaps that's why he had to destroy my dream, as his had been destroyed. To other rape survivors I say: It is possible to recover. It just takes a lifetime.

S.F. Diamond
San Francisco

Something to Talk About
Diane Leibel (Letters, Dec. 20) wonders why Susan Jay, in her account of contacting the man who raped her 22 years ago, ("Calling It Rape") doesn't identify her rapist by his real name. Assuming that Leibel is familiar with the concept of libel suits, she apparently feels that Jay's unwillingness to go through a protracted legal battle at this point in her life makes her a moral coward.

I beg to differ. I'm no expert on rape, but I'd bet that most people were thrilled to see Jay's story featured so prominently. After all, such stories are sure to help other rape survivors by letting them know they're not alone. And they are useful to those of us who have never suffered the outrage of rape personally, for they remind us what a devastating and life-altering ordeal it is.

In other words, openness about rape is one of the best ways to fight it. It's hard to see how Leibel's assertion that Jay "shouldn't have bothered" to write her story fits into that simple equation.

Steve Omlid
San Francisco

Crucified Again
I really am insulted by your reprint of Frank Kozik's "art" ("The Stick-Up Artist," Music, Dec. 13), in which a bosomy, swastika-pantied demoness sits astride a crucified and thorn-crowned Christ, pitchfork in hand, commenting, "What can I say ... it's a living."

If Kozik's goddess were mocking Holocaust victims or Native American poverty or Tibetan refugees -- or if the crucified were dressed as a campesino or a Malaysian garment worker (which, in fact, according to the Gospel, he is) -- you wouldn't dare publish such slime. But Jesus Christ -- well, that's funny! -- regardless of how Christians may feel. And Christians do exist, you know: many of us precisely in those Third World populations for which you elsewhere effuse the most liberal sympathies. But then, you are a liberal paper, and Christian-bashing is a liberal's anti-Semitism -- so hey! as the lady says, "What can you say? It's a living."

Despite the Savior's fundamental preferences for justice over power, Christians are driven to the right precisely because of images and rhetoric like yours. How often have I personally had to justify my involvement in environmental, political, and economic causes to my own Eastern Orthodox community because of your all-too-obvious hatred (and ignorance) of what we consider most profound and dear. But somehow I doubt you're going to think about this before you publish any more stupid jokes.

Well, as for jokes, a reader pointed out a few weeks ago (Letters, Oct. 11) that the Bay Area's copycat weeklies have made the idea of an independent press into a "fucking joke" as much as the dailies have. And as we see, the joke often enough relies on sexual degradation and religious slurs. But with so many weeklies doing the same thing, why not do the left a favor and save a few thousand needlessly expended trees per week by just going out of business?

Or could it be that the Nazi goddess you worship is strictly into money and power, just like all the other idols of the nations?

John Burnett
Berkeley

Clarification
"Dome and Dumber" (Dec. 20) correctly cited the Human Rights Commission data base when it stated the minority-contracting status of Aladdin Builders. However, a letter declaring Aladdin a certified woman-owned business enterprise was issued on Sept. 1, 1994, according to a copy maintained in the records of company owner Jean Pardue.

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