UNFORTUNATELY, AT THAT point my male ego went to work, and between Monday and Friday it had plenty of opportunities to twist and turn what had happened or not happened between Stella and me. I’m sure some psychologist would be quick to point out all the times I’d been rejected by the opposite sex, including and particularly my mother. All of those times were in play again. Why? Because I never resolved those issues, and never asked forgiveness. So says my imaginary psychologist, who happens to bear a striking resemblance to Dottie. Grrr!
In any case, by Friday’s showtime, I was ready to go hunt some bear. My plan was simple. Stella was Angeline Tarkington’s campaign manager. Stella had rejected my innocent invitation to drinks and dinner, so I was obligated to utterly destroy Ms. Tarkington and to reveal her for the New Age fake that she no doubt was. I mean, isn’t it up to each of us to keep the Universe’s balance in check? Even Angeline Tarkington would agree with me on that.
So, I had a simple plan, created over several days by a top strategist and an amazing talk show host. Hell, by the time the show started, I’d convinced myself that I was doing my patriotic duty by uncovering the shyster. Oh, how the best laid plans of mice and men...you know the rest.
I zipped through the first segments of the show with ease. At each commercial break, I pulled out my list of questions with which I planned to nail Angeline to the wall. I continued to tinker with the wording and order, feeling increasingly good about the design and justified in my actions. Reject me, will you? Not without paying dearly for it.
The plan started to unfold right on cue with the tagline underneath Angeline’s name. Instead of “Author”, I’d had the graphic team insert “New Age Guru,” and I made sure Angeline saw it as she took her seat. But it didn’t seem to phase her.
So, we have a cool one here, I thought. Let’s see how long that lasts.
“Alright, we’re back with my last guest for the evening, who happens to also be the last person to throw her name in the pot to become our next President of the United States. Welcome to the show, Angeline Tarkington.”
She opened her mouth to respond but I never gave her a chance. “Let’s jump right in. Tell me, why would a New Age guru like yourself decide at the last minute to do such a crazy thing as try to run for President of the United States?”
She closed her mouth and smiled. Boy, do I have her with that one. There’s no way to win by answering that question, I thought, and, not for the last time that night, was I ever wrong.
“What a great question,” Angeline replied. “Let’s see, you’ve managed to weave in ‘New Age guru’ right from the start.” She pointed behind her at the screen. “You also have characterized my actions as both crazy and last minute, suggesting I do things impulsively and without much thought. Kinda like an airhead, wouldn’t you say? Or some wackadoodle. I believe that was the term The Washington Post recently coined.”
I opened my mouth to reply, but this time Angeline continued right on. “But disregarding all those derogatory remarks intended to raise the ratings of your show, it really is a good question. Why did I choose to run for the highest office of these United States of Amberica? It’s because, like so many of my fellow Ambericans, I’m concerned about the direction our current President Wellian is leading us. And, like my fellow Ambericans, when I took the time to pray to God as to what I could do with the gifts and talents He has so graciously bestowed on me, the answer came back clear as a bell. “Run...run, Angeline, run.” She smiled, first at me, and then straight into the camera. “So, here I am everyone. I’m Angeline Tarkington, not a New Age guru, but just a concerned citizen like you, and I’m running to be your President. Next question.”
And it went downhill from there. I don’t know what happened. I even went back and watched the tape several times, and I still don’t know for sure. I think her first reply was so right on, first about what I had done to undermine her from the start, and then to so adroitly turn my piece of shit question into gold with such an authentic answer, I just lost it. After that, every question seemed so trivial and off purpose and offputting because they were, so I started to wing it, and in this case, winging it sounded like me babbling almost incoherently. Thankfully, my producer saved me with a stern message in my headset. “Go to commercial—NOW!”
So, we did. And for the first time in a very long time, I did not close out my own show. I failed to even say, “Are you kidding me? Watch this space, and goodnight.” No, the network sent the viewers straight to the next show because I was in the men’s room puking.
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