Kooky Conservative Emails, Part One: “Progressive Insurance”

You know what I mean. Your phone, iPad or laptop beeps or vibrates. You’ve got an email. Maybe it’s a lead on a new job you desperately need or notification that an obscure class action lawsuit you’re part of has settled and you’ve got a check for $42.57 on the way. You check your device, hoping, praying…but no. You knew it all along. It’s never good news. Instead, you’ve got another kooky conservative email…from Uncle Harold. Or Great-Aunt Margaret. Or that brother-in-law you barely know who picks his teeth at restaurants.

Marion Lorne as "Aunt Clara"

We’ve all got one. An insane relative who lingers under the misguided impression that it’s cool to pass along every loony email she receives. You can spot the emails: the subject line and at least half the text are in all caps and two or more of her cats had a disturbing fascination with the exclamation point key (quite a feat for a cat since that key usually must be paired with the shift key). Another indicator that it’s a dreaded email from the crazy relative is the amount of scrolling down you must do past multiple forwarded email addresses to get to the actual substance of the damn thing. FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LEARN HOW TO CUT AND PASTE ALREADY!!!

Ugh. I’ve succumbed to the temptation of caps lock and exclamation points. For the sake of brevity, we’ll refer to these kooky conservative relatives collectively as “Aunt Clara.” (for the record, I LOVED Aunt Clara – who didn’t -I just wanted an excuse to post her picture)

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What’s your EGI? (Earliest Gay Influence) or “The Hardy Boys Made Me Gay”

A gay comedian (whose name I can’t recall, unfortunate because he was HI-larious!) said that his earliest gay influence or role model was C3PO from “Star Wars.” After the laughter, the comic described the droid as “tooling about space, all decked out in gold lamé going ‘Master Luke! Master Luke!’ proving his point. R2D2 was also a lesbian, he said. “Tool belt on wheels!”

My EGI (Earliest Gay Influence – work with me, people, I’m trying to “start a meme” here as my young friend Will puts it) was not a robot, but he was extra-human. You may know him as Paul Lynde from the Hollywood Squares but I’ll always remember him as the warlock, Samantha’s Uncle Arthur from “Bewitched.” “Well, Endora, what are you going to turn Darren into today?” I can still hear him ask. One reason I still have so much lingering bitterness toward Richard Nixon is the Watergate hearings deprived me of my morning “Bewitched” ritual the summer of ’74. Not a nice trick to play on a budding six-year-old homosexual boy. Yes, that’s a lot of bitterness I realize.

But another early gay influence that I wrote about in my memoir was a series of books I read. No, not the Danny Orlis series, that’s another blog post. Here, I’m talking about The Hardy Boys.

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