Sunday, January 06, 2013


I'm at the tail end of my fifth consecutive 10+ hour workday, and this Ham is fried.  So you will excuse me if I uphold my daily blog-duties by reviving a 15+ year-old piece I wrote, with a number of obsolete references, awkward writing and jokes that would be excised or rewritten if I had the time or the energy.  Not a bad concept, though, and more than one chuckleworthy passage.  Two.  There are two chuckleworthy passages.

I feel ebullient. I feel replenished. In short, I feel like the protagonist of one of the greatest works in the Western literary canon, Dame Judith Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret(the Red Badge of Courage of teen-menstruation novels). In other words, I GOT IT! No, notthat - the experimental ovaries I got were removed weeks ago (remember, do a background check before responding to those "NEED QUICK MONEY?" flyers you find under your windshield wipers), and even if they weren't, whether or not I'm regularly receiving the monthly curse (the original working title for this magazine, by the way) is irrelevant, and beside the point as well. I'm referring to that thing that that pale, short guy with the snap-on toupée promised everybody they'd get eventually. You know what I'm typing about. Don't make me repeat it. Oh, Jesus... you know... how everybody will gain public renown for a duration lasting half of the time it takes "Chihuahua on Fire" to win the $10,000 prize on America's Funniest Home Videos. All right, fuck it, my fifteen minutes of fame. I just buried the needle of the "tired cliché" meter attached to my hard drive (I should probably reconnect it to my computer), so I hope you're pleased with yourselves.

I knew it was coming to me, so I had to do it right. I sprung into action immediately, sustaining only mild facial contusions when I slammed into the wall. Picking up the phone with a grace rarely seen in these parts (a good thing on balance, as I don't believe those other parts should be made to bend that way), I dialed up the Consensus Bureau in San Atorium, CA, to schedule my quarter-hour of renown. This is key - if you don't set it up yourself, you're likely to wake one morning to find you had achieved and lost household word status while you were busy disgorging a beaker's worth of saliva onto your musty C3PO pillowcase. After a long, protracted interval on hold, listening to the piped-in sounds of the latest Tangerine Dream album (or maybe someone had just left the receiver atop the office dehumidifier), the Director of Ephemeral Eclat herself came on the line and told me I was in luck.

"Usually there's a six-month waiting period," she said, "but Kato Kaelin had to send his back for defaulting on the payments. We can pencil you in for Tuesday at 3:45."

So it was. I spent the next few days perusing books on public speaking, sunglass-maintenance instruction manuals, and the odd pamphlet on bunion removal just to cleanse the palate. I worked on my interview skills, and within days I could toss off sound bytes like "I owe all my success to the Lord, who made a few phone calls on my behalf" and "Yes, I did do a few barnyard porn reels to make money before I became successful, but I fought for their artistic integrity every step of the way. I still believe that Rootin' for Truffles III will stand the test of time" like helium-filled prophylactics.

I underwent an exacting physical regimen to attain the stamina necessary for the task: three sets of one-armed pull-ups daily (to keep my paparazzi-smacking hand limber), a daunting course of multi-, mega-, and quasi-vitamins (to keep my coat nice and shiny), and daily application of Lee Press-On Track Marks (for credibility's sake). I retained the services of a high-powered team of lawyers, publicists and Ex-Wives For Rent (the last of which is a new but important part of the temporary celebrities' package - for a nominal hourly fee, they'll regale the press with stories of how they stood by you through the lean years without complaint, only to be thrown over once you became successful for a leggy supermodel with too many vowels in her first name incapable of stringing together sentences of more than three one-syllable words or digesting meals of more than three one-calorie dishes. For a little extra, they'll burn you in effigy on the nationally syndicated afternoon talk show of your choice). By Tuesday, I was ready as few are for the onslaught of fame, fortune and cutting in front of Nicole Kidman in line at the local Church of Scientology weenie roast. It was time.

Oops, wait a second, I forgot I had set my watch ahead twenty seconds during my wild, reckless pre-success period... Okay, now it's time.

3:45. I jumped into the slightly-irregular Lincoln Residential Municipality Car they lent me for the occasion and screeched into the streets, hell-bent on establishing my "buzz." I thought I already had until I realized that the annoying hiss control lever was stuck in between "barely-perceptible hum" and "bees inside head" gears, but as my 1200 moments of glory were ticking by, I shrugged it off, spraining my shoulder. I grabbed my imported Señor Microphone and bellowed to passers-by, "ATTENTION, ASSORTED AND SUNDRY PLEBES AND COMMONERS! I AM OFFICIALLY `HOT'! DO NOT BE ALARMED! PAY YOUR TRIBUTE AND THEN PROCEED ABOUT YOUR LUDICROUSLY INSIGNIFICANT BUSINESS!" After circumnavigating the town square six times at 175 MPH, it appeared my street cred had been sufficiently established - it was difficult to read the lips of the assembled slack-jawed bike couriers and pedestrian pedestrians, but I could make out words to the effect of "What a nice soul," accompanied by a jubilantly upraised half of the V-for-victory sign. My repute had gotten off to a smashing start.

3:47. I crawled from the wreckage to a pay phone, where I called in a pseudononymous tip to theWeekly Litigant about my six-month affair with the Ted Williams Tunnel, sweetening the account with a quick stop at the nearest Go Fax Yourself to send over a photograph of myself and the Empress of Sudan sunbathing on the beachhead at Normandy, clad only in matching thongs. (I hold fast in my belief that they worked better as shoes, but I suppose high fashion is worth a little swelling, discoloration, and what I will discreetly refer to as the "Retreating Tortoise Effect.")

3:49. I made my film debut as "Third Regurgitating Bystander" in the forthcoming driver's-ed tragicomedy, Oops! There Goes Joey's Head! Albeit a small role, my naturalistic projectile spewing is sure to put me in contention for the Jayne Mansfield Achievement in Simulated Vehicular Fatality Award at next year's Oscars (provided they make room for the category by foregoing those unnecessary technical awards like Best Actress).

3:51. I held a press conference at the Ritz-Triscuit Hotel announcing my conversion to Hey Judaism, a tiny sect based on the teachings of the "White Scriptures," which, if read backwards, state that "All you need is love and a suitcase filled with unmarked bearer bonds to be sent to me via Express Mail." This created quite a stir among the gathered members of the media, the two stringers from Modern Flossing who afterwards claimed they had only come because they mistook the conference room for the gift shop.

3:54. A backlash was in order, so I planted an item in Daily Uniformity quoting an unnamed source saying, "The boy peaked a good four minutes ago. I think America's grown tired of whatever it is he does. Truth is, he was just the flavor of the fraction of the month."

3:55. Unable to cope with the pressures of fame, I went on a thirty-second grenadine bender and checked into the Bettie Fjord Clinic for twenty seconds of rehab (which consisted of being slapped by an imposing Norwegian woman and being told to "Cut it out!").

3:56. I mounted my comeback with a critically-acclaimed appearance on the news standing behind a reporter doing a remote broadcast, waving and shouting, "Hi, Mom!" Before the minute was out, I did an in-depth interview with Barbara Walters, breaking down in tears as I confessed, "I can't stop peeling this onion."

3:57. Returned to the Ritz-Triscuit for a second press conference, announcing that I and the three other Hey Judaists had decided to break up and embark on four solo religions.

3:59. With my fame winding to a close, I went out in style with a no-star gala at the William Henry Harrison Pavilion, featuring the reading of congratulatory telegrams from the White House ("Cease and desist your harassment of the First Cat immediately or we will take legal action") and musical entertainment by Oates. I autographed copies of my unauthorized memoir, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Shave My Back, and announced my intentions of getting my own quark on the Walk of Has-beens between Joe Piscopo and Philip Michael Thomas. With emotion welling up in my voice, I thanked the public for their fleeting support and proclaimed, "I wouldn't trade a second of it for anything, although if someone out there has a second-hand juicer in good condition, I might consider it."

4:00. Exhausted and in dire need of a sponge bath, I skulked back home and fell into a deep, satisfied sleep on my couch. So worn out was I by my whirlwind stardom that I ignored the blinking light on my answering machine, figuring I'd bask in the afterglow of my well-wishers (or stalkers - same difference) later. I awoke fourteen hours later, my head awash in a lagoon of nightdrool, and blearily checked my message.

"This is the unnamed woman at the Consensus Bureau calling. I just wanted to check with you to make sure you realized that your fame starts at 3:45 Pacific time, not Eastern. Of course, I'm sure you're not stupid enough to make that mistake. You'd look quite the fool, wouldn't you? Oh, and we're going to need that car back, too."

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