Friday, February 27, 2009
My Love Triangle with Oprah Winfrey
A TRUE STORY:
When I was about 20 years old, I went to visit my mom in Chicago. My then-boyfriend (now ex-husband) and a good gal pal went with me. We decided we really, really wanted to go to the Oprah show. Well, what were three enterprising 20-somethings to do when there were no tickets available? That’s right, answer the call that appeared at the end of the show that said, “Are you in a love triangle and only two of you know it? Call the Oprah Winfrey Show!”
I made up a long, involved story…I seem to recall it involved the secretarial pool, a pound of Parmigiano-Reggiano and the Russian mob. It worked – we were in. We were specially seated on an aisle, and right before the show started a producer came over and asked me surreptiously, “You guys are the triangle, right?” I nodded knowingly as she put gaffers’ tape on the backs of our chairs. When the show began, we dutifully cheered and watched as the dregs of humanity were put on display. (This was before the Pope-rah of today, back when she used to have pretty sordid talk show fare.)
Ms. Winfrey looked smaller than I’d have thought, and slightly tired.
The first and second segments went well, then on the break, a different producer came over to me and said, “You guys are up next. We want you to stand and reveal the truth after this break.” I replied, “Ummm…yeah…I don’t really feel like doing this now.” She was pretty angry but I held my ground. Okay, I toyed with idea of standing up and proclaiming myself to be the other woman, but hey, it just didn’t feel right. She stormed away and we watched the rest of the show unbothered by the camera crew.
When we left the studio, Oprah was perched on a high stool over to the side of the exit, saying goodbye to all. As we drew close to the once-and-future queen of daytime, I noticed how drawn and almost desiccated she looked. Later we would learn that she was three weeks into the liquid diet that led to her 67-pound weight loss, and the famed show where she pulled a wagon filled with fat onto the set.
Our love triangle dissolved that very day. We were on TV oh so briefly, not unlike Oprah’s skinny jeans. Some things just aren’t meant to last, Lone Reader.