Friday, July 05, 2013


I am not a morning person. When that alarm goes off at the start of a work day, it's everything I can do to pull myself out of bed and somehow muster the strength and intelligence to shower and clothe myself. I like to ease my way into conscious thought, and that's where the Today show comes in handy. If there's one thing you can count on to be safe viewing for a brain struggling to shift out of neutral, it's the cheese-laden banter of Al Roker.

But Al had a trick up his sleeve for me the other day. Instead of being in the safe confines of 30 Rock, the Today show had sent Roker on the road to visit the winners of their recent "Wake Up With Al" contest. On this particular day, Al was broadcasting from a farm in central who-knows-where. While he gave the forecast, this winning farm family stood to the side awkwardly cheering like the world's biggest fans of weather.

Well, all of them except ONE kid, who stood in the back, desperately hoisting his homemade sign high enough for the cameras to pick up:


Lucy Hale, for those uninitiated, is the doe-eyed star of TV's "Pretty Little Liars" and the crush of many a teenage boy. And, clearly, a person with better things to do at 5 a.m. on a Wednesday morning than watch Al Roker milk a cow.

This trend of publically begging celebrities for dates is getting under my skin. It all started a couple years ago when a soldier returning from the Middle East posted a video on Youtube asking actress Mila Kunis to the Marine Ball. The video went viral, made its way to Kunis, and she accepted the offer. Suddenly this Marine had a date with one of the hottest actresses on the planet.

Within the week, another Marine had a date with Justin Timberlake. Betty White had to graciously decline an offer. Taylor Swift ended up taking a fan to the Academy of Country Music Awards. Last spring, an enterprising high school senior almost ended up going to prom with a porn star, all due to the miracle of the internet.

It's ridiculous and it needs to stop. Because I'm super jealous.

Look, if there's anyone around here who knows a thing or two about celebrity crushes, it's this guy. I've paid my dues. I've seen all 128 episodes of "Dawson's Creek," and if I can't figure out a way to ask Katie Holmes out on a date, neither should you. I've devoted past columns to my fan worship of Katie Holmes, and I'll admit it -- I've thought to myself, "Y'know, this newspaper reaches a LOT of people. What if somehow one of my columns were to get into HER hands? Maybe she'd be so touched by my gentle love of her body [of work] that she'd call me up...?"

But that will never happen, because luck is never on my side. Two weeks ago in this column, I mentioned a TV show I stumbled into about a guy obsessed with mustard. Two days after it published, I got an angry e-mail from the mustard guy. Heaven forbid one of my columns ever makes its way to the love of my life, but it finds it way to Colonel Mustard no problem. Greeeat.

These open pleas to celebrities would never work for me. First off, once you crest 40 years of age, you lose the cuteness factor. An enterprising teenager begging to meet Mila Kunis is charming; but when you're a chubby, socially awkward 42-year-old, you cross that not-so-fine line from cute to creepy. Plus at my age, there's no special events left to invite a celebrity TO. I'm way past prom and there's no military balls in my future. Methinks the campaign would lose its effectiveness if my lead were "Katie Holmes: Will You Go To Happy Joe's With Me?"

Plus it's pretty clear that the real key to successfully wooing a celebrity is to have a good sob story at the ready, and I'm fresh out. These soldiers returning from war are national heroes. The kid who went to the award show with Taylor Swift is a cancer survivor. I don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as that kind of greatness. The most heroic thing I've ever done is feed a stray cat. The only way this viral video thing could POSSIBLY work for me is by a tour de force of creativity, showmanship, and YOU, Quad Cities -- especially if you Quad Cities happens to own a digital video camera, 'cause I sure don't.

It doesn't have to be anything grandiose. I'm thinking something low-key yet hard-hitting.

FADE IN: WHITE. A blinding white, the kind you never thought possible. The camera pulls back to reveal we've been zoomed in on one of TOM CRUISE'S TEETH. As we pan further back, we realize it is a photo of Cruise taped to a dartboard. The camera swings around to reveal AN INFINITE NUMBER OF QUAD CITIANS, all lined up with darts in hand.


EXT - RIVERBOAT. Me on deck, looking virile and handsome via special effects [someone in town can do that, right?] An original song fires up. It is entitled "Katie Holmes, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life So Come Have Some Taco Pizza With Me." [There's 385,000 of us - surely if we put our heads together, we can write the greatest song ever.] It will be performed by Suzy Bogguss, Lissie, Wicked Liz, Konrad, a reunited Tripmaster Monkey, a reanimated Bix Beiderbecke, and remixed by Radcon. The ladies will swoon.


INT - DAV. SKYBRIDGE. This is the hip-hop break of the song that showcases how hard and street tough I am. Of course, I can't rap either, so we'll need Calliko, Grendel, and anybody else in town who can spit 16 bars. Of course, those bars are required to be about how hard and street tough I am.


EXT - KONE TOWER, 180 FEET UP. As my voiceover suavely invites Katie to Happy Joe's, I bungee-jump from the top of the old Kone testing tower. [And by "I," of course, I mean a stuntperson. As we've already proven, I'm far too virile, handsome, hard, and street tough for such a risky move.]


FINALE. As I walk past Modern Woodmen Park, I drop to my knees in one last James Brown-style plea. If we time this with the 9th inning of a Bandits game, fireworks will explode all around me. Credits.

If it works, I'll convince her to make a sequel to one of her movies and I'll make sure you all get parts. ("First Daughter 2: First Daughterer.") Of course, since things never go my way, I'm sure Katie would see our finished product and go, "Hmpf. Nerd." while that farmer kid will probably end up marrying Lucy Hale. Life is unfair. I blame Al Roker.

No comments: