This, that and the other thing took me downtown today. It’s always exciting to dress up — to shed the gym shorts and Killian’s Irish Red T-shirt for worn blue jeans and a shirt that doesn’t advertise beer — and go mix with adults. Adults! God bless adults. They’re old, they’re flawed, they’re set in their ways, but I feel about adults the way Steve Martin feels about men. And I miss them, working at home.

(Yes, I know that adults much like these made me insane when I worked in close proximity with them. Life, she is a swinging pendulum. Anyway, I think we can agree that in controlled doses: Adults are good.)

One of the assembled adults was an editor I work with, who told me about his wife’s trip to Chicago yesterday, to see an actual “Oprah” taping. (Show topic: “Secrets of the Stars.” Air date: TBA.) Oprah factoids I learned today: The waiting list for tickets is six years, and the audience is sorted by attractiveness and grooming, with the better-looking folks seated in camera range. (There’s a shocker.) My editor’s wife was put in the second row, so she was pleased.

Last fall I wandered into my neighbor’s house during the “Oprah bestows gifts upon teachers” show. She packed the house with teachers, whom she believes are woefully underpaid, and for the next hour it was Queen for a Day, only with more stuff. Everyone in the audience was weeping, my neighbor was fascinated and we all marveled at the largesse that is Oprah.

I went back to my house and told Alan about the gifting orgy taking place on channel 7. His reaction: “Jeez, don’t those teachers know what they’re getting? They’re going to owe thousands of dollars in taxes on all that stuff.” Men don’t get Oprah. Which is why she’s on in the daytime.

After lunch, I stopped at John King Books, the world’s greatest used bookstore, a place that’s old and creaky and so crammed with words on paper that the first thing you do is identify the fire exits, and THEN the fiction section. I was looking for an Annie Proulx book of short stories, because I wanted to read “Brokeback Mountain” before the culture warriors of the right start gas-bagging about the movie, which, if we’re lucky, will cause Michael Medved’s head to explode later this fall.

The story was every bit as good as I’d been told. We’ll see about the movie, but early signs are good.

And now for another hurricane?! Where’s Pat Robertson and his magical storm-clearing powers when you need him?

Posted at 10:11 pm in Uncategorized |

12 responses to “Downtown.”

  1. Connie said on September 22, 2005 at 7:33 am

    I don’t get Oprah either. Never have. Never will.

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  2. Nance said on September 22, 2005 at 7:42 am

    Oh, I get her — she does have a great instinct for what interests people, and a real gift for the common touch, and smarts to spare. But I never watch her. I nearly always have better things to do.

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  3. Nance said on September 22, 2005 at 7:43 am

    Oh, and that Hermes thing was utterly ridiculous. There’s a sign that her common touch may be fading. I’ve always thought the more powerful a person gets, the more important that he or she has people close by who will tell the truth. Guess she hasn’t kept up on that.

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  4. John said on September 22, 2005 at 7:48 am

    Don’t piss off Pat, remember that he prayed Gloria away from the Virginia coast and hit the hedonistic Long Island with it. If you get on his naughty list (worse than his mailing one), he might get one rolling up your way.

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  5. Laura said on September 22, 2005 at 8:02 am

    First off, please know I’m not one of those craaaaazy Oprah fans, but boy were you given a bunch of hooey about her show.

    I’ve been to an Oprah taping; we got reservations about a month out–connection-free, I might add. The first few rows are set aside for those speaking on camera and guests they brought with them. After that, it is a first come, first served thang.

    There’s really nothing subversive about the process. I found her to be very much as she presents herself on TV, even when the cameras were off.

    And, here’s what she said about the Hermes incident:

    “Just about 100 percent of everything you read was flat out wrong,” Oprah says. “Shame on anybody for thinking that I was upset for not being able to get in to a closed store and buy a purse�please. I didn’t get to be this old to be that stupid. I was not upset about not getting to buy a bag�I was upset because one person at the store was so rude�not the whole company.”

    “� There were reports that I was turned away because the store was closed. The store was in the process of being closed�the store was very active. � The doors were not locked. My friends and I were standing inside the doorway, and there was much discussion among the staff about whether or not to let me in. That’s what was embarrassing. � I know the difference between a store being closed and a store being closed to me.”

    “Everybody’s who has ever been snubbed because you were not chic enough or thin enough or the right class or the right color or whatever�I don’t know what it was�you know that it is very humiliating.”


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  6. Mindy said on September 22, 2005 at 8:20 am

    I’m probably the only woman in the country who has never seen an Oprah show. Too many other things to do. And daytime TV is so incredibly awful. But I’ve seen Oprah herself en route to her home when she lived in LaPorte. I was sitting in my in-law’s living room and happened to look up from my newspaper to see a long black car gently dodging the worst of the potholes. Who would have such a car around here? I asked, and was told that it was Oprah. She lived nearby, even in my mother-in-law’s Avon territory. I often encouraged Mother to leave Avon catalogs on Oprah’s doorstep.

    My father was assigned the task of building Oprah a tennis court with an impossible design. He nearly lost his mind despite his many years of experience building tennis courts. She wanted it sunk deep into the ground away from prying cameras. It was essentially a shallow inground swimming pool with a net across the bottom, very difficult to drain. But he got it done and was glad to get out of there. My dad has always been a handsome man even in asphalt covered work clothes, but who could guess that it would ever matter in his line of work.

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  7. Nance said on September 22, 2005 at 8:41 am

    Oprah should just build an underground fortress deep beneath Valparaiso. If Goldfinger could do it, I’m sure it’s within her power.

    Oh, and thanks for the clarification, Laura. All I know is what I’m told.

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  8. Dick Walker said on September 22, 2005 at 8:44 am

    I read the Proulx book a couple of years ago. Somewhere in “Brokeback Mountain,” when I saw where it was going, I was astonished at how much I liked the story anyway. This from an old, hopelessly straight guy.

    Should be a good movie.

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  9. Joe said on September 22, 2005 at 11:13 am

    The men song, we used to sing that at rugby party’s. You have never heard it sang until you have 30 dirty sweatty drunken rugby players in high falseto singing that song.


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  10. mary said on September 22, 2005 at 11:35 am

    I like Martin Mull’s “White Man’s Blues.”

    Oh I woke up this mornin, and both my cars were gone.

    I woke up this mornin, and both my cars were gone.

    I felt so low down deep inside

    I threw my drink across the lawn.

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  11. deb said on September 22, 2005 at 2:22 pm

    mary — i’m amazed. you’re the second nn.c reader to refer to a song from the album “martin mull and his fabulous furniture in your living room.” truly, i have found my people.

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  12. wade said on September 25, 2005 at 2:35 am

    Hey! I’ve played some sheetholes, but this takes the cake…

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