Showing posts from September, 2010

Strange Songs, Inc.


Dear Ann Landers:

Here’s my problem,
I’m gay and I’m in love.
Her name is “Hilda” and
When I’m with her
Trumpets blare above!

She’s a lesbian; she says I’m not her type,
And I confess I wish she were a man.
She’s just Hilda—wonderful Hilda!
So what should I do,

Ann Landers was a newspaper advice columnist who retired in 2002, and this little song is one of the many I’ve written in my life, most of them comic in nature. As mentioned in a prior post (see “The Boot Camp Fiasco,” April 21, 2010), writing songs has occasionally gotten me into trouble (my very first song was a nasty little ditty about my sister, which was not popular with its immediate subject), but for the most part the songs have been well-received and I’m proud of them.

I’m a Gilbert and Sullivan aficionado (see “A Fanatic’s Tale—This Isn’t Pretty,” April 11, 2010), and their works have heavily influenced me, particularly Gilbert’s clever lyrics for patter songs. But my touchstone consists of the wonderfu…

Mary Beth and the Gay Teddy Bear

My only sibling is Mary Beth Colpitts, two years younger than I am. Because we were Air Force brats, we were quite close when growing up, moving from place to place, having to make new friends every couple of years. And when I say moving, I mean moving: I went to kindergarten in the Mojave desert in California at Edwards Air Force Base, first and second grade in St. Louis, third and fourth in Omaha, fifth in Jasper, Indiana, six, seventh, and part of eighth in Japan, last part of eighth and first three years of high school in Nashville, and senior year in Yorktown, Virginia. Then, when I joined the Navy to see the world, Mary Beth and I saw little of each other, except for one year of college where we overlapped at the University of Maryland.

If I wanted something from my father, I’d have to plan my campaign very carefully. It would have to be logical, tuned to Dad’s own predilections, and presented with dash and brio—akin to filing a brief in a complicated trial. Sometimes it worked…

How To Change Gay People Into Straight People

You can’t. During my gay rights activist days and right up until the current moment, I’ve had a standing offer about this. I will contribute $5000 to the charity of choice of an individual or organization that can produce five men who were once gay and are now straight. There are various conditions: (1) the men must have had significant gay experiences in their lives, (2) become straight through whatever process, and (3) for at least five years thereafter remained completely straight. Finally, they must not have ever been leaders or volunteer workers for ex-gay organizations (just, therefore, normal members) and pass rigorous tests to determine their current sexual orientation (see me for details—I am serious about this). Since ex-gay organizations have been around for over thirty years, you’d think they’d have thousands of former participants who’d easily meet my criteria, but so far no one has taken me up on this. Note that I’m not proposing a bet. If the person/organization can’t …

Charleyne and the Giant Cookie

One morning in March of 1972, Charleyne woke up and informed me, “I’m pregnant.” That was a surprise, though we wanted to have a baby. “How do I you know?” I asked, unclear on the rules. “I just know,” she replied brightly. Within a few days a lab test confirmed her procreative status, and we started planning for a life of new parenthood. Both of us went at it with enthusiasm, and Lamaze classes were attended, baby showers held (see photo above), endless streams of items purchased, and advice received from every direction we faced.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to live with a pregnant woman, but it can get strange. We took a cruise from L.A. to Alaska that September, and things were fine up until then. In the photo we’re at a stopover in San Francisco, and a department store window had oddly posed their mannequins, so we took turns imitating them. Alas, the cruise was in bad weather (“If only you could see it,” the tour guide would say, “this is a beautiful view of Glacier Bay”), …

Recidivist: A Criminal Who Does It Again

In a prior post (“I Married a Hippy,” April 14, 2010), I explained how Charleyne and I met and came to be wed immediately after she finished taking my course in Contracts (required in the first year of law school) in 1971. Watching me teach day after day, she’d fallen in love with me and decided on marriage. That’s a tremendous compliment, but not exactly the response I mean to trigger in students. Following our marriage and my coming-out (see post mentioned above), I had long-term relationships with two men: David and Jerry. This post is about Jerry.

Jerry was relationship-phobic, being a free spirit who rarely went out with the same man twice, but who nonetheless had a great deal of fun. His parents thought him heterosexual (of course), and, since Jerry is a masculine take-charge kind of guy, there was nothing stereotypically gay about him, which meant he had a very good time remaining happily, if noisily, in the closet.

Jerry entered law school in 1983 at Ohio State, and was in my…

The Death of Robert Whaley

For as long as I can remember both of my parents were heavy smokers. Dad had a couple of minor heart attacks when in his 50s, and his doctors warned him it was important that he quit tobacco. When I was visiting my parents in Texas for the holidays in December of 1979, I had quite a talk with Dad and Mom about smoking. Mom, ever the rebel, said she enjoyed smoking and if that meant she had no future, so be it. Dad, on the other hand, told me I was right, and that he was going to quit very soon. “I have a future,” he assured me.

In mid-July of 1980, Dallas, Texas, where my parents lived and where Dad was an Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of Dallas, had a record-breaking ten or more days of 100° temperatures. On Saturday, July 12, Dad was out in the yard hitting golf balls at the weekend home he and my mother maintained at nearby Tyler, Texas (it was next to a golf course, of course). Adding to heat stress was that he was in the middle of prosecuting a complex dea…

The Thunderbolt

I’m currently writing yet another draft of a new novel, “Corbin Milk” (for a description of the first one see “Imaginary Friend,” June 22, 2010), and I thought I’d post a segment of it and see what you think—email me at with any comments or suggestions. The novel concerns the adventures of a gay CIA agent, a good-looking and very smart bodybuilder named Corbin Milk, for whom the CIA finds the most interesting uses. I got the idea for writing this novel while reading an article in The Advocate, the news magazine of the gay community. The article concerned an anonymous Army captain who was riding slowly through the streets of Bagdad on a tank during the liberation of that city when he locked eyes with a handsome Iraqi man standing on the street. Though it could have gotten them both in major trouble with their respective communities, the two men had a great times thereafter on a number of occasions. Surely, I thought, the CIA would see possibilities in the fact that …