I’m From Sheboygan Falls, WI.

by Matthew Lucas

Satellite overhead image of Wisconsin from Google Earth 2022

I spent my first year of college in Stevens Point, WI. A small community completely devoted to natural resources, forestry, and for some reason camouflage attire. Needless to say I somehow managed to stand out. All of my hard work for the past 9 years had culminated in me becoming one of the top two high school oboists in Wisconsin, and also the top oboist at the university. I wasn’t always so talented, though. Let’s travel back a few years and envision me as the overweight, niche-less, uncomfortable and slouchy young teenager I was. I of course latched onto the first stable thing that really made sense in my life, like many teenagers do. In my case, however, it ended up being the oboe.

Let’s get something straight. The way to instant popularity and adoration is not actually honking your oboe in middle school band. In fact, a lot of people didn’t even know what an oboe was when I vocalized my new-found talent to people who somehow found themselves in conversation with me. Fortunately, I’ve never been one to care what other people thought of me or my interests, largely due to the fact that I had no idea what people thought of me or my interests. I began escaping to the oboe from practically every obstacle in my life. Who needs social skills when you’re a rising musician? Who needs good grades in school when colleges will offer me full rides for the oboe? Who needs to look good and be thin when you could just as easily practice the oboe instead?

Fast forward: High school hits. My career goals lead me to lose weight, dress well, become socially and academically active. Completely unbeknownst to me, however, the oboe was actually the main determining factor of whether I was gay or not to my ever-so-knowledgeable peers. So there I sat, somehow outed not by the fact that I enjoyed kissing boys but instead because I showed up for band every day. Convenience at its best?

Fast forward again: I’m a freshman in college at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. My first real relationship with another guy; he asks me out because he sees me perform with my oboe and is inspired. My first real experience with homophobia; the second chair oboist calls me a “faggot” when I take first chair as a freshman. This obviously supports my theory that gay people must be the more revered and talented group seeing as the homophobe’s first reaction is to call the more talented person a “faggot.” It was the best laugh I had all semester.

I quit my oboe major after that first year, transferred schools and found places and activities that make me a lot happier. But I still keep it around, and even pull it out to play once in a while because, what have I learned from all of this? The oboe makes everything a lot gayer. I’m not going to settle for less.

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