I must begin today with a mea culpa — it appears the passenger who pushed Steven Slater’s button for the last time was a woman. I had assumed it was a man, but now that I think about it, there’s no reason to believe men have any kind of corner on the jerkoff market. And I don’t know why I assumed that the sort of person who would push a flight attendant that far would have to have XY chromosomes. I’ve known for years that women can be horrible people. I’ve known many of them. And to my male friends, I apologize.
Now, is anyone going to find her? I really, really want to meet her, if only to see whether I know her. And I expect to. Diva bitches tend to come in types. I expect this one will be Still Trying to Catch Daddy’s Attention, perhaps mixed with a little I Grow Old, and Thus Invisible, Therefore I Rage. The latter is the one I see most often in my orbit, and it’s sort of sad, unless, like me, you’ve always craved a cloak of invisibility, in which case aging has this fairly cool upside. But it drives some women insane, and so they grow giant metallic purses, and jangly jewelry, and start slamming overhead-compartment doors on the innocent. Me, you’ll find in my endless rotation of jeans/khakis/white-or-black T-shirts, taking notes.
So, Ted Stevens was on that plane that crashed yesterday. My first thought was cruel — that given the amount of air travel even average Alaskans do in the course of life there, and given how often these planes are small, and given the extremes of weather, etc., that aviation has to rank right up there with alcohol and suicide as the main killers of Alaskans. I wonder if the reporters in Anchorage and Fairbanks have certain phrases on user keys, to save time: “missing and feared dead,” perhaps, along with “killed when the small plane he was riding in smashed into…” and “the search continues, but authorities now describe it as a recovery operation.”
Then I noted Stevens’ age: 86. Eighty-six? No one can say he didn’t get his full measure. To live to 86 and then die in a plane crash? That might be the Official State Death of Alaska. That’s tombstone material: Caught a flight to the undiscovered country, 2010.
So, DryErase Girl was a hoax. Color me…not very surprised. She was too pretty and actressy to be real, and the gag, while clever, raised too many questions: She sent 33 photographs to everyone in her office? How did she know they’d open and read them in the right order? Why did she change her clothes and hair and take off her glasses for the last two pictures? (I’ll tell you why — the last two were shot on a callback. And she had a lazy director. Continuity, people!)
This is being referred to as a “meme.” Meme is one of those words I struggled to get my brain around when it first started popping up everywhere, and finally I threw up my hands and decided there were already perfectly good words to describe a meme — a viral idea, basically — and we didn’t really need a neologism. Although I have used it many times, if it keeps getting used to describe things like DryErase Girl, I’m going to get medieval on its ass.
Someone sent me this piece from Slate last night, about the wildfires in Russia. Scary:
The disastrous Russian heat wave has exposed a key failing of Russian society: The flow of information has stopped. There is not a single newspaper that even strives to be national in its coverage. The television is not only controlled by the Kremlin; it is made by the Kremlin for the Kremlin, and it is entirely unsuited to gathering or conveying actual information. …As a result, no one knows where the fires are burning—unless they are burning right next to you. There is no map that would tell you whether your loved ones are safe or whether there is a fire along your planned travel route. Often, there is also no way to call for help. In a telling exchange, a blogger wrote to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin complaining that his village, close to the epicenter of one of the fires, no longer had even the ship’s bell residents had once used to call for help. In a bizarre move, Putin responded by ordering that the ship’s bell be restored to the village.
Say what you will about the media in this country, at least we know what Bristol Palin’s love life is like at any given moment.
Finally, from the Department of Six Degrees of Separation, Johnny Carson’s greatest hits are going online, and as usual, the story mentions one of my husband’s best stories:
In the meantime, the johnnycarson.com site will feature between 40 and 60 video clips — from Ann-Margret’s spirited performance of “I’ve Got the Music in Me” to an appearance by Myrtle Young, the potato-chip lady — that will be updated to reflect current events. And there’s more to come, including a new “Tonight Show” DVD collection that Carson Productions plans to announce later this year.
It’s Myrtle Young, of course, as all Fort Wayners know, or should. My husband Alan made Myrtle a star, starting with the story he wrote about her in the paper, which she rode into a final chapter of her life that landed her on Letterman and Carson, and to travels all over the world as a sort of ambassador of potato chips. She was a sweet lady, as this clip, which TV Guide called the funniest moment on TV, ever, demonstrates. It was funny, sure, but I laughed harder at the line in Alan’s story about her trip to Los Angeles, which was the first time she’d ever been on an airplane. The stewardess said there was a flotation device under her seat, and she got up to check, just to make sure. Everyone honors Myrtle. I honor the messenger. (And also John Bordsen, the editor who got the letter she wrote to the paper after seeing an item about an inferior potato-chip collection in the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” comic, and passed it along to Alan.)
An easier day ahead. Expected temperature: 91. Groan.