Like millions of people around the world, I watched Oprah's final show. I was surprised by how sad I was when she made her farewell walk off stage. She hugged weeping people, and maybe it was their tears that hurled me into what Oprah calls an "ugly cry".
I really sobbed. I don't know why exactly. I felt ridiculous while it was happening. "Here I am sitting alone and crying to the last Oprah," I thought. "How gay am I?"
In my defense, I grew up with Oprah. She was a good friend every day after middle school. On bus rides home I used to get spit on by my neighbors. Let me clarify, it wasn't just spit, they were yellow deep throated loogies. Bullies would dig deep inside for these loogies, like they were saving every gob of mucus from school lunch milk just for me.
So when I got home, and Oprah was there I felt loved. I felt like she understood me. Perhaps it was because she and Donahue were the only two people talking about gay people in my life.
I wrote a letter to Oprah during this period. She wasn't like Donahue who allowed phone calls on his show. "Isn't it unconstitutional to fire someone for being gay?" I asked. Donahue's panel comprised of lawyers and gay people who were fired for their sexual orientation.
"Great Question!" Donahue shouted while pointing to an attorney who simply replied, "Yes."
No, Oprah did not have a phone number to put on speed dial. Nor did she have an operator ready for your questions. So I wrote her a letter that went something like this:
I just wanted to let you know that I watch you ever day after school. I'm not old like everyone in your audience. I'm only 12. I bet I'm not the only one my age watching your show. I really think you should have a show just for people my age sometime.
Let me know if you want me to be on it.
For months I waited for a response. I dreamt Oprah would whisk me away from my life on an American Airlines flights to Chicago, where I'd stay at the Omni Hotel.
I imagined that Oprah would love me, and want me to be her friend. "Maybe we can be pen pals," I thought. I had grown tired of my previous pen pal who was obsessed with spiders.
Daily, I would open the red barn mail box and dig inside for Oprah's response. When a response wasn't there, I simply tuned into the show.
Finally after a particularly bad day when a loogie landed on my hand causing me to vomit on a girl, I got a crumpled postcard from Harpo Studios, "Your letter was received and read. Thank you for writing to Oprah," it said.
Shortly after that Oprah made several after school specials talking about teen issues with a teen audience.
"Apparently she didn't need me to be on the show," I thought.
It didn't matter. I continued my love affair with Oprah, anyway. Who didn't?
So yes, I'm going to miss Oprah, and yes I ugly cried alone in my apartment while watching the final show. I guess I am that gay.
(Photo via Oprah's website)