WANTING TO BE WHO WE'RE NOT
 

Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk
Now available from Harrington Park Press

 
 
 

THE PERFECT SPACE FAMILY (excerpt)

by Jim Tushinski

     When I was eight, I wanted desperately to travel to the stars. I built space vessels out of Lego blocks and imagined myself whisked away into the unknown. I read comic books about Space Family Robinson and the Legion of Super Heroes. I watched hours of science fiction movies on television—Forbidden Planet and Destination Moon, This Island Earth and Rocketship X-M—and once a week I sat mesmerized by my favorite television show in which Will Robinson was the son in a space family who traveled on the Jupiter 2 spaceship. Sometimes Will's family ended up marooned on an alien planet and sometimes they wandered around the universe without a starchart to their name. They were Lost in Space.
     Will Robinson was smart and curious and brilliant, too, but he was still a kid and, just like me, still shackled to the whims of his parents and siblings.

     "Will," Mother Maureen Robinson would say, "I don't want you going outside the force field tonight."
     "How come?" asks Will Robinson.
     "Because I said so," Mom replies, looking stern but a little saddened that her own son would even have to ask for a reason.


Space Family Robinson
Space Family Robinson

     Will Robinson could fix things, such as the family's deadpan robot or the solar coils. He was always getting into trouble, sometimes being rescued by his handsome father or Major Don West, the pilot, and sometimes rescuing himself and others. He was only eight or nine but carried himself with confidence. I watched him in awe. I wished I could be Will Robinson, of course, but more than anything I wished I could have his family. They were all smart and trim and so nice looking. No one ever shouted, even when things were bad, and they hugged each other like they meant it. They faced the unknown and no one ever complained, except the treacherous and effeminate stowaway Dr. Smith. He wasn't family, though. He was like the awful neighbor that you had to try and get along with even if he purposefully sprayed poison on his lawn and made sure some of it landed in your own backyard where your dog could eat it.