03 March 2013

Yakking it up

My cultural touchstone, "The Simpsons," has a way of brilliantly skewering cultural preoccupations. One of their better ones was 'Afternoon Yak,' a not so thinly veiled parody of that Barbara Walters-led coven on "The View." It's brilliant.

Fortunately, the View and its ilk gets little regard in our home. Ellen? Katie? That's a different story. My wife and daughters share an adoration for the Ellen show that borders on fervent and Katie runs a close second with two of them. Interestingly, the high priestess of this genre, Oprah, never held that high a station, even though the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML was picked to be in the audience of said high priestess.  Wait...what?

It was August 2006 and it was our family's very first weekend in Chicago since we'd moved there from San Diego. I'd been living there for several months and had already been indoctrinated that the waiting list for tickets to get on the O show were nigh unto impossible to get. I'd thought that might be something fun to give to my wife as some kind of token of my gratitude that she'd been willing to leave our dream home and leave SoCal. Locals apparently waited years to get tickets. So dash that dream. That weekend we'd gotten tickets to "Wicked" and I was excited to drag the kids around downtown (Millenium Park, the Mag Mile) before the show. We'd forced them to dress up a little since we were going to the theater and of course, there was much gnashing of teeth about that but I really didn't care. As we made our ways up the stairs near the Chicago Art Institute, a couple approached us and asked if they could speak to us. I said no. 'But wait, we're producers with Oprah,' was their retort. Duly unimpressed, I was ready to move on. My wife and girls? Not so much. So I said, 'Prove it.' Out came the ID's from the great and powerful one and the line of questioning began. We'd been ensnared in the great Oprah web.

Turns out they were scouting for people to participate in a taping that would be occurring a few days later. The topic, 'Mother's Who Can't Say No to Their Children.' I bust up laughing as we'd just gone back on our vow to not let the Boy get an Air Soft gun. We'd been in Chicago all of four days and his new-found friends all had them. Guess who got one? Anyway, Our Lady of Awesome was trying to negotiate a car out of us at the time, so the topic just made me laugh. They were particularly interested in the mother-daughter angle and before you knew it, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML, Our Lady of Awesome, and CAL were on camera, being interviewed and filming bumpers for the upcoming show. My wife was given two tickets to the taping as well. The girls couldn't go as they were under 18.

So a few days later my wife as front-and-center as the Queen herself walked out, barefooted, to begin taping her show. She was followed by an assistant, teetering in high heels. Oprah assumed her throne and said assistant took off the heels and placed them on Oprah's feet. Indeed. That was the key takeaway for my wife. Huh. Somehow, my oldest daughter figured she was going to get a car out of the deal. She thought O would take pity on her, upon seeing her interview. To Ms. Winfrey's credit, she did not take pity.  Good call.

There you have it. Our run-in with 'Afternoon Yak' fame. If my daughters get there way, there may be one or more run-ins yet before all is said and done. We'll see.

I know I've been sharing a lot of stories lately rather than keeping up with what's current here in the Den. I  think I'm just a storyteller at heart. Who knows?

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