|So tell us, Susan, how did your ass get so big?|
Okay, here's the truth. In yesterday's post, I said that Oprah had not yet "called me to be on the show." Actually, I was invited to be on Oprah. Not by Her Royal Highness herself, but by a tenacious producer named Ron*. No kidding.
It was many years ago. One of her countless shows about weight loss was on and I watched it, taking notes, comparing my ass to the asses of the women sitting on the panel as they all tearfully recounted exactly how their asses had gotten so big in the first place...blah, blah, blah. I must have been moved by it because I ran to my computer and tearfully tippy-tapped out some kind of semi-coherent email about my own ass and received a phone call from Ron, a producer, the very next day. He invited me to appear as a guest on a show about weight-related issues (with others, to be fair). On the stage, mind you...not in the audience.
Me. Oprah. Me. Oprah. ME!!! OPRAH!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!. I vaguely remember crashing through the door of my mother's room and screaming incoherently for several minutes. Nothing I was saying was even remotely comprehensible to the naked ear but my mother, somehow, instinctively knew that one only screamed at those decibels after one was invited to appear on Oprah. She soon joined me and we screamed together until the boys came home from school. They heard us screaming and ran in, immediately and correctly assuming that either I or Grandma had been invited to appear on Oprah and then joined us in additional screaming, adding a jumping component to the festivities thanks to their youth and energy. Someone called Seth at work and just screamed into the phone and he, too, assessing the pitch and timbre of the screams, realized that someone in the house had been invited to appear on the Oprah show. There was no dinner that night. Just screaming.
In the light of the following day, it suddenly occurred to me that--brace yourselves--I did not want to go on Oprah. At least not to discuss my greatest inadequacy, my greatest failure, my greatest challenge--weight.
As a newcomer to a small town who already stuck out with her heavy Brooklyn accent and dirty mouth, I did not wish to be the pear-shaped recipient of people's winks and nudges any more than I already was. Now that I am in my fifties, I no longer give one single rat's ass about winks and nudges. But back then, I still had a few hormones and a smidgen of self-respect left and called Ron back on his direct line.
Me: "Thanks, Ron but I'm not interested in coming to Chicago."
Ron: "WHAT???? IT'S OPRAH!!! WHY NOT????
Me: "Because, Ron, I do not wish to discuss my fat ass in front of millions of people."
Ron: "WHAT???? IT'S OPRAH!!! WHY NOT????"
Me: "Well, it would make me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. I don't want to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed on national TV.
Ron: "WHAT??? IT'S OPRAH!!!! WHY NOT????
This went on, I swear to you, for about a month. Ron tried to explain to me that people who "resist Oprah" make the best guests, offered me upgraded accomodations, the privilige of bringing a paid-for guest with me, his first born child and hair follicles if I, or anyone in my family ever needed them for transplantation purposes in the future. He asked me if I was crazy, told me I was driving him crazy, asked to speak to my husband (I refused...because if Beyonce had, somehow, gotten thrown into the mix, Seth would have shipped me to Chicago in a cardboard box) and told me that I would "regret this for the rest of my life."
My kids thought I was crazy. They were on Ron's side from day one. Seth was still on Ron's side even after I tried to speak in terms and situations that any man should understand--asking him to imagine whether a man with a very tiny penis would want to go on national television to discuss this very tiny penis and, upon returning home, be overheard ordering salami at his local deli counter. Seth did not understand this analogy at all and just kept asking me--eyes bulging--what tiny penises had to do with anything. The only person who understood my position was my mother and this may explain why Seth and the boys repeatedly hid her walker and TV guide for several weeks after the excitement died down. Ron topped it all off with the promise that I would be invited to a follow-up show sometime in the future. But I held firm.
One of the problems was that the more pissed off and annoyed I became at Ron, the funnier I became. The funnier I became, the more desirable I was to him. He even loved it when, in exasperation, I unleashed a string of obscenities aimed directly at him. In hindsight, I think Ron may have had a problem.
I do not regret my decision....but if I were invited again today, I would go. The frontal lobe of my brain, which controls impulse and inhibition, has shrunken sufficiently and I will discuss anything, anywhere--period. But Ron made it clear, after I accused him of harassment--which he also thought was hilarious--that he was done with me. Yoo hoo, Ron, if you're out there......
*Name changed to protect the persistent.