Skip to main content

The Man Who Wasn't There

"I haven't seen Gummy in 15 years."

I uttered those words recently, about my late maternal grandmother, after remembering that she'd died in March of 1998, and that I hadn't seen her for a couple months before then. What struck me about the turn-of-phrase is how it differs from how we typically think of those who are no longer with us. Usually we say, "she's been dead 15 years," or "She passed away 15 years ago." But the words I uttered -- which I gave no thought to during the moment -- were different.

We tend not to think of those who are dead as possibly able to be seen or heard from again, for obvious reasons, but the lack of their presence in our lives is akin to someone who is still living, but whom we haven't communicated with in awhile. Only this time, the permanency of their absence is without question. I will never again see Gummy's face (outside of a photograph). I won't be able to hear her voice, my grandmother's voice that I loved so much to listen to during our many talks about a variety of subjects.

These particular thoughts of Gummy came flooding back to me a few days ago while watching (of all things) an episode of the 1970s TV series Ellery Queen. The late, great actor/comedian George Burns made a cameo, via a filmed performance, as the murder victim. Burns had been an entertainment staple in my life for some twenty years, the old vaudevillian who said he was going to live to be 100 (and he did), acting in various movies and television shows. Then, in 1996, he died. No big shakes, as I didn't know him personally. Yet, for awhile, I'd been used to seeing him around. So it was nice seeing him reappear on the Ellery Queen episode.

Oddly, perhaps, it reminded me of Gummy. Another old person (during my lifetime) whom I'd been used to having around for some two decades, whom I hadn't seen in a long time. But with Gummy, I realized, there would be no televisual recording on-hand that would allow me to see and hear her again. I felt robbed. A stupid reaction, I know, but there it is.

There are many people in life whom I enjoy seeing. It may sound odd, but whenever certain people interact with me (i.e. my partner, close friends and family), I quietly and internally rejoice that they are here, that I am with them, and that we are privileged enough to have some time together. This is because I know it won't always be this way. I won't always be able to enjoy their presence, their smile, their laugh, their knowledge, their immediate existence.

I wish I could hear Gummy's voice again.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…