I went out on the street this morning, and to the first stranger I met I said, “I’m straight.”
He looked me up and down, evidently taking note of my slouching posture, and said: “You don’t look straight to me. Try lifting your chin, pulling in your stomach and thrusting your pelvis forward.”
“No,” I said, “I mean that I am straight sexually. I am a heterosexual.”
“Why do you think I care?” the man said, and hurried on.
Having learned a lesson from this first encounter, I changed my line when I approached the next stranger, a woman this time. “I am a heterosexual,” I said.
“I’m not that good with big words,” she replied. “Does that mean you go to bed with little boys? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“No, no,” I replied, a bit nervously, for I noticed a police officer standing a few yards away. “It means that I go to bed with women, on those rare occasions when I can find one who is willing.”
“Well, that’s vaguely interesting,” she said. “Would you like to tell me which sexual positions you prefer?”
“I consider that a rude invasion of privacy,” I said.
“Well, you were the one who brought the subject up,” she sniffed, and walked away.
I tried essentially the same approach with a half-dozen other people, and none of them seemed to care that I had conventional sexual preferences, if it is still legal to call them that.
So I went back home and called the White House. I do that every time I have a problem, and from the new, expansive, all-caring, people-loving Obama White House, where nobody’s personal problems are beneath the interest of the president and his staff, I got a more cordial response.
“Hello, White House,” I said, “I am a heterosexual.”
“Oh, you poor thing,” said the woman who took my call. “You must feel so isolated these days. Don’t fret about it. There are still quite a few heterosexuals out there, although hardly any have the courage to admit it. You are very courageous.”
“President Obama just called Jason Collins,” I said, “and I…”
“Who? Never heard of him.”
“The professional basketball player who announced that he was gay.”
“Oh, of course I remember now. Yes, the President wanted Mr. Crowley to know that he admired his courage.”
“That would be Mr. Collins,” I corrected.
“Yes, quite right.”
“Well, we have reached the point in human evolution where it is far more courageous to admit that you are not gay,” I said, “so do you think the president would like to call me?”
There was a commotion at the other end of the line, which was difficult to decipher because the staffer had obviously covered the mouthpiece of her phone. Finally, she came back on.
“The president will speak with you now,” she said. “What was your name?” I told her, and added that it is still my name.
“Mr. ——-,” a familiar voice said. “This is Barack Obama. I understand that you are a heterosexual. I have to admire your courage for admitting this, but I would advise you to be careful about when and where you do so. Don’t ask, don’t tell might be the safest policy.”
“That doesn’t sound like the advice you gave Jason Collins,” I said.
“Who? Oh, you mean that fifth-rate basketball player whose career is hanging by a thread? It was pretty clever of him to call attention to himself that way. Nobody I know had ever heard of him before, and now he is the best-known basketball player in modern history. Makes me wonder whether he really is gay. He can pretty much have his pick of teams now, and if the coach doesn’t start him in every game, he will have the LGBT lobby to deal with. Dealing with them is no fun, believe me. I don’t know where anybody got the idea that they were a bunch of pansies.”
“May I ask why you called him, Sir?”
“I really can’t explain it,” the president replied. “If I had ignored him, he might have faded out of the NBA, and then I would finally get my opportunity to play big league hoops. I guess I just took my own B.S. about ‘caring’ too seriously.”