Sunday, May 08, 2005


Well, it's official -- there is no god.

I know that's a harsh thing to hear out of a humor columnist, but it's true. My faith was shattered last Thursday morning when I picked up a copy of USA Today and opened it to the entertainment section. There, staring me in the face, was evidential proof that my entire belief system until now has been a sham.

A higher power simply cannot exist in a world where Katie Holmes is dating Tom Cruise.
For the uninitiated, Katie Holmes is the former star of TV's "Dawson's Creek," the most perfect person in the world, and my future wife. Tom Cruise, meanwhile, is a white-toothed freak of nature from the Island of Improbably Attractive Movie Stars, whose sole purpose in life is to remind us normal guys on a routine basis that, when compared to him, we are all essentially dog doodie.

Okay, so wait. I take all that "there is no god" stuff back. There MUST be a higher power, because women like Katie Holmes can't just randomly occur without divine intervention. From the moment that I accidentally channel-flipped into an episode of "Dawson's Creek," I knew that Katie was the girl for me. Thanks to her, every week I would sit there, drool cup in hand, and become deeply engrossed in a television show clearly written for people ten years younger than myself. I could've cared less, and I've got the "Dawson's" DVD collection to prove it.

When the show ended a few years back, it was a very tense moment. Who would Katie's Joey Potter choose? Would she end up with budding film star and academic Dawson? Or would she choose the rebel-with-a-heart-of-gold Pacey? OR, would she tell them both off, hop in her car, and start life anew in the Quad Cities, whereupon she would meet and fall in love with a pudgy, slightly awkward newspaper columnist? Hey, a fella can dream.

For years, I patiently waited while Katie dated Chris Klein (the dopey kid from the "American Pie" movies.) This past February, they split up. Obviously, I assumed, Katie had heard about me and promptly shown ol' Chris the door. Finally, it was MY chance. For the past few months, I've been prepping the letter I would use to woo her. Thus far, I've got: "Dear Katie, You're real pretty. Do you like me? (Check this box.)" It worked for me in 5th grade, and it could work again.

Obviously, I waited too long. Having spent two months waiting to hear from her #1 fan, Katie must have decided to run off into the arms of the next best thing to Shane -- Tom Cruise. Sure, he doesn't have the sexy love handles, assorted neuroses, and violent housepets that I sport, but hey, not everyone can be the powerhouse of brute machismo that I embody.

But Tom Cruise. I mean, get real. Suddenly I feel a lot less like a pervert for lusting after someone as young as Katie. He's 42 and she's 26. If I dated someone 16 years my junior, I would be PUT IN PRISON. When Tom Cruise does it, he gets the cover of People.

Oh, great. See, this is the penance for my earlier crisis of faith. I just took a break from writing this column to watch some TV. At this very moment, "Top Gun," "Risky Business," and "The Last Samurai" are ALL playing -- it's like Cruise-a-palooza on my TV. First he takes my girl, then he takes my TV time? This madness must end. I can safely say that if your way of life involves obsessing over Katie Holmes, then TOM CRUISE IS A THREAT TO YOUR WAY OF LIFE (I just wanted to get that sentence in print.)

Or maybe I should just grow up, lose my obsessions with TV starlets, and go meet a nice Quad City girl. We could settle down, find a house with a white picket fence, and grow old together. That might be just what I need... to make Katie jealous enough to ditch that loser and give me a call.

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