You can not erase what you are about to read about me, so if you have an image of Mary Tyler Mom that you wish to protect, then step away from the screen right now. Seriously, I’ll wait. Power that sucker off, cause what I’m about to reveal ain’t pretty.
Okay . . . if you’re still here, you must be a die hard fan, stronger than the leading brand of paper towels, or both. I love you.
This workshop happens every other year (hence the bi-annual) and offers sessions for humor and human interest writers. There is also a competition that you can submit your own writing to to be considered as funny, charming, and gifted as Ms. Bombeck. I had enough hubris in 2012 to do just that, thinking I had a real shot. Ha! (Can you hear the sad trombones playing?)
Erma Bombeck was so freaking ahead of her time. She is the patron saint of all mom bloggers. Or should be. My Mom, who had a dark and quietly disturbed, though well hidden, sense of humor, loved her. I do, too.
But enough about Erma. This post is about me.
I was already jealous that two friends were going and didn’t think to invite me along (it’s the Midwest, bitches — I totally would have happily been your third wheel and bought you pinot grigio and Modelo), when Rach Riot tells me that Phil Donahue is scheduled as the keynote speaker.
PHIL FREAKING DONAHUE.
I love Phil Donahue. I have loved Phil Donahue for as long as I can remember. In the 8th grade, we needed to submit a book report from an autobiography. Most of my classmates were doing sports stars or Anne Frank. I was the dork who wrote about Phil Donahue. His autobiography had come out in 1981 and I gobbled it up as a sixth grader. Serious dork, I tell you.
Phil was one of my first crushes. He’s handsome in that Midwestern Irish sort of way. He’s smart as hell. And let’s just say that our politics overlap a wee bit. Yes, my grade school classmates will gladly confirm that I had politics as a sixth grader. Sigh. Proud dork here.
There’s not too many young girls who crush out on liberal talk show hosts. I was one of them. An odd duck always and forever. And to think I didn’t run with the popular crowd . . .
Crushes are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? I think we can all agree on that. They make you all tingly inside and are good for the soul. Even as a happily married adult, I recommend them. The trick, my friends, is just not to make your crushes too accessible.
Like, it’s a bad thing if you are married and heavily crushing on the dude in the cubicle next to yours. Not cool. That’s way too dangerous. Just put that shit away, my friend. Don’t go there.
The trick to a healthy adult crush is its inaccessibility. The more out of reach the better.
Given my long and proud history of odd crushes, there was an adult crush I had a few years ago that got me in some hot water. It was often the topic of cocktails parties, once I was outed by my husband. The jerk.
In the early 2000s, Mary Tyler Dad and I loved to entertain. We were young, married, child free. This was before cancer had its way with us. I cooked up this idea for what I sweetly referred to as our “Sexy Party.” Doesn’t it sound naughty? It wasn’t. It was just your run o’ the mill dinner party, but we kept the invitation list small and restricted to our friends we thought qualified as sexy. There was a written invitation that encouraged guests to dress in whatever helped them feel sexy. I am certain we served what we felt was a sexy menu. Passion fruit martini, anyone?
You get the drift.
Well the party was a complete and utter success. Everyone was getting along (when hosting a dinner party, always invite folks who don’t know one another well — it adds to conversation), the food was delicious, and I was delightfully buzzed, as were most of our guests. Plus, I was looking good. I remember exactly what I wore to our Sexy Party. Tuxedo pants, black strappy heels, and a backless top. I’m not gonna lie, I looked hot.
But enough about me.
Oh wait, this whole post is about ME. More me!
At some point at the table, after dinner, I think, and before dessert, us Sexy Party guests started talking about crushes. There was a lot of chit chat about the usual suspects — Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Halle Berry. Yawn.
Then, Mary Tyler Dad teased our guests with the fact that I had a secret crush. WHO?, everyone demanded. NO!, I replied, not gonna happen. You see, this particular crush was not politically correct in any way, shape, or form. But Mary Tyler Dad, well, he couldn’t stop himself. He let it slip, I think intentionally. I’m still mad at him.
Hi, my name is Mary Tyler Mom and I had a crush on Donald Rumsfeld. HI, MARY TYLER MOM!. Sigh.
Donald Rumsfeld, neocon extraordinare, one of the masterminds of the Iraq War, famous for his “It is what it is” speech. Yeah, it was like a lead bomb, pun completely intended, had fallen over our Sexy Party. Some friends still look at me differently.
I might hold my head in shame over this particular crush, but you have to admit, he is a pretty spiffy looking man, right? And power is always attractive, right? Right?
No? Oh well. What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants. Apparently, my heart wants older, white haired, powerful political beasts — either end of the spectrum.
Never be ashamed of your crushes, I tell you. Never!
Now, before I die of embarrassment, please tell me your odd crush. GO!