Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Ganglia

We’ve come such a long way that many forget where we’ve been

Mookie Spitz
4 min readApr 13, 2024

Mid-80s in LA, some friends and I zoomed up the Pacific Coast Highway, when in the distance loomed a super fine hitchhiker: hot pink go-go boots beneath patent black leather short-shorts, breathlessly tight day-glo tank top barely containing pendulous double-Ds, all that lusciousness capped by an exploding mop of flaming peroxide blond hair.

Desire shifted into indecision then reflexive derision as we approached, a Sexy She morphing into a convincing but ultimately adams-apple-toting Biological He. “That was a close call!” one of us yelled into the wind. “Always look under the hood!” another advised. I’ll never forget her sly wink and hair flip as we roared past: “Got you!” she curtsied, flashing her tits and a finger.

What struck me then, and has lingered since, is how a car full of ostensibly hetero early-20s males sported boners for a scorching hot hitchhiker — until realizing the hitchhiker was transgender. Our cultural egos shut down our primal ids, a bad human habit that’s triggered oppression, wars, and 33 seconds of Frank Zappa’s “Whatever Happened to All the Fun in the World”.

Point is we were attracted to a person — until for reasons that had zero to do with our initial attraction, we weren’t. You might say we were “fooled,” but erections don’t lie, and self-confidence is sexy, no matter the source. That wink highlighted our weakness, not hers, and was her parting message that thanks to our own stupidity we’d just missed the best blow jobs of our lives.

The lesson reminded me of a quote attributed to William James, C.S. Lewis, and Mr. Spock: “The difference that makes no difference, is no difference.” Especially apropos for gender, sexuality, and race, more fluid than most people realize or accept, the phrase suggesting that desire speaks its own language, one best translated by warm hearts, rather than cold minds.

Between the traditionally binary “male” and “female” / “white” and “non-white” flourishes a spectrum of physical and behavioral variation that makes the world a more interesting and better place. Rather than celebrate and indulge all human possibilities, many judged and abused them, revealing a deep Fear of a Black — and sexually more open — Planet.

“A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop — A-wop-bam-BOOM!” was how Little Richard launched his career, and arguably rock ’n roll. “Tutti Frutti” wasn’t “aw rooty” at first, instead “good booty,” a reference to anal sex, specifically the facilitation thereof, as in: If it don’t fit, don’t force it / You can grease it, make it easy and If it’s tight, it’s all right / If it’s greasy, it makes it easy — Really, really. Google it.

The lyrics got swapped to appease a broader audience, of course, as did the whole song as the audience further broadened: Enter all these bougie white people doing covers, from Pat Boone to Elvis, Carl Perkins to Johnny Winter, Sting, to Fleetwood Mac, to Queen. Little Richard got pissed off, but soon realized Pat’s milquetoast version opened more doors than it closed.

When a song, food, clothing, language, sports, any cultural element is boosted from one society into another — especially when the booster is more powerful than the boostee, one should ask: Does the appropriation pay homage, spread popularity, and add to the original’s allure — or does the lift shamelessly rip its essence, and rob the actual creators of their power?

Singers like Pat Boone, and junk food like Taco Bell, are more like John the Baptist than Jesus: They invent new if derivative versions of the classics, and in so doing often make their source content and cultures even more accessible and popular. In stark contrast is a superstar like Elvis, who early in his career just re-recorded the demos of Otis Blackwell, stealing his soul.

Today’s ultra-polarized social media-jacked tribalism appropriates more than culture: On the one side politically correct social justice warriors selectively outrage themselves into supporting censorship; on the other, race-baiting neo-fascists lurk disguised as freedom of religion, speech, guns, and “life” advocates, enraptured by a perverse cult of personality.

The good news is we’ve nonetheless come a long way, baby, at least in terms of sexual and racial progress. Identity tends to be ad hoc and tenuous if you make it up yourself — but if your enemies define you and thrust it upon you as a way to marginalize, abuse, and control you, then game on. Beyoncé is top of the country music charts this month, where she belongs.

Today’s generation has the luxury of being more free, open, and accepted than we ever were — but what’s lost in the struggle is, frankly, the struggle. Self-defeating “Woke” whiplash is understandable considering “gender identity disorder” was still a thing in 2013, for example, when even Barack Obama refused to publicly accept gay marriage. But he’s since been Prez.

Last century we couldn’t rant through globally connected devices, so we tended to listen to, speak with, and debate each other. Society grappled with statistically higher levels of racism, bigotry, and homophobia, yet battles of opinion were secondary to visceral expressions of physical immediacy and impact. Nobody cared how you felt — what did you do?

Politics on the right is again dominated by waxing sentimental for a mythical golden age, personal and societal — arguably a harbinger for history instead triggering a magical moment, one of transformation, paradigm shift, and quantum leap. Everything seems like a mess these days, but as Tom Robbins reminded us, even cowgirls get the blues.

Read more from the novella this blog was inspired from…



Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.