Attorney Clinton Collins always liked his phone, but he’s unusually attached to it these days. He’s awaiting a call about a kidney and pancreas transplant.
He told me about this at Costco, our usual accidental meeting place. Collins’ personality shows no sign of stress; the merciless razzing that rules our relationship is unchanged. Since our video, the sharp-dressing Collins has embraced his baldness by shaving off all his hair. “I’m being called black Daddy Warbucks. I like it. People have told me I look five to 10 years younger,” he said.
Q: People have noticed your weight loss?
A: That is correct. I was at a dinner last night with some judges and lawyers. We meet once a month at Jax Cafe and they said “Wow, what motivated you to do this?” I said, “Damn, when someone says, ‘Do you have your affairs in order?’ — the doctors said to me last December — it got my attention.” I knew they were not joking.
Q: You need a kidney and a pancreas?
A: Normally [they do just one], but because I am diabetic they want to make sure the kidney works and doing the pancreas will take stress off the kidney. ... Because I need two [organs], that list moves faster.
Q: Harvard gave you hypertension?
A: Actually, Michigan [Law School. Laughter]. Yeah. I had been borderline for a while — and back then I was in good shape. I wasn’t overweight at all. It’s what the stress between being in law school and being a black man in America will do to you.
Q: You were in good shape?
A: [Laughter] Oh yeah, I was in damn good shape!
Q: What did you give up to accomplish your weight loss?
A: Mostly carbs, I gave up beer, peanut butter out of the jar, which I used to love; I still do it occasionally. Sausage McMuffins — I used to get that every morning.
Q: You might have the biggest ego of anybody on my phone list because I included “the Great.”
A: I got that nickname, back in high school, “C C the Great.” It was given to me facetiously, but I thought, “Hey, that’s accurate.” I just rolled with it.
Q: What did you learn about parenting the two sons from the first marriage that you applied to your son from your second marriage?
A: You don’t always have to be right. Something my mother said to me years ago, I really appreciate now: “They have everything we have but judgment.” So I have to use my judgment. With the older two boys, there were some times I got in their faces and it didn’t matter. With this [youngest one] if he’s really going to do something stupid, it doesn’t matter, but if it’s annoying without stupid ...
Q: One of your older boys put you through your paces!
A: That’s the one who recently got married. One time he was going to take me out in a fight; he was 16, 17. He took a swing at me. I pinned him against the wall and his younger brother [threw up his hands] and said, “I ain’t got nothing to do with this.” We do [laugh about that now]. I have a very close relationship with both of the older boys.
Q: Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job in the NFL because ...
A: A lot of NFL owners are conservative; the fans are conservative. But it’s interesting, the tide is shifting. I believe he’s going to be playing if not this season, next. I’m a veteran. I respect the flag as much as anyone, but on the other hand, I respect the right to protest. I was recently reading an article about letters Martin Luther King [Jr.] wrote out of the Birmingham jail, which are celebrated now. Most “moderate people” tried to dissuade him, tried to dissuade the Freedom Riders. Protest is not supposed to be comfortable. I hope we someday have a country where we wouldn’t be protesting that kind of stuff because racism no longer exists. But pigs will fly before we see that.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.