Hello! Yes! I'm back from my very first television appearance. Well, okay, technically it wasn't my first: in 1982 when the Brewers went to the World Series a local news crew came to my elementary school in Eden, Wisconsin because it was home to Brewer / local hero Jim Gantner...when the reporter asked me on camera who my favorite Brewer was I shouted, "Gorman Thomas!"
Because what eight year-old DOESN'T look up to a creepy professional athlete accused of spousal abuse?
Of course they were hoping I'd gush about Jim Gantner, so my defiance never made it to the airwaves. (Later that year I "went out*" with Jim Gantner's nephew, which came with the perk of having Jim Gantner autograph the back of my second grade photo. Oh, the humanity.)
Now where was I...Right! My television debut! Rachel Manek was so gracious and beautiful. I think I only had one dopey moment (when I mentioned how Oprah is reputed to smell really nice...yeah). On the way home I phoned a friend who had watched, and she told me I looked much more innocent than I am in real life.
I was most nervous about following Michael Perry on the show, because he is a literary rock star. I can't tell you how many people have told me, with stars in their eyes, how hilarious he is. And I had to follow him. So I was terrified that my first TV appearance would also be my first Mike Birbiglia moment. I'm thinking of the incident in which he had to perform comedy at a charity golf tournament after inspiring and moving speeches by a hall-of-fame quarterback and an 11 year-old leukemia survivor.
(His Chicago appearance this Sunday on a live broadcast of This American Life is sold out. Of course.)
Anyway, my two takeaways from this morning are as follows: 1) I think I could rent ad space on my forehead. Hey, it's been done! And 2) I heart Rachel Manek. And yes, I am saving the juicier stories for book clubs and Saturday's chat in Kimberly.
*"Going out" when I was in second grade consisted of passing notes, avoiding your girlfriend or boyfriend in the hallways, and maybe talking on the phone if someone was brave enough to call. And it was on a rotary phone with a long, warped curly cord, and if your house was small, the entire family could hear you making a complete idiot of yourself.