Monday, March 20, 2006

People Who Love People

Waldo - What is the allure, exactly, of People magazine? Why will I let a mile-high pile of laundry block the entrance to our kitchen in order to read the rag its entirety?

Why do I care that Nick Lachey is "Single & Loving It"? That Keira Knightley said of her Oscar gown, "I'm strapped in. It keeps me upright!" What? The reporter who quoted her on that should have asked, "What the hell does that mean?" But I'm sure his follow up was instead something like, "Are your boobs real?"

Why do I also tsk, tsk Prince when I read that Three 6 Mafia, after their Oscar win for the song "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" was denied entrance to The-Artist-Who-Should-Be-Known-As-Professor Plum's party? I'm sorry, but if somebody thanks Jesus and mama up there on the stage, and not just "all the wonderful staff at universal" or whatever, I think they should get a free pass to all the parties in Hollywood. And I think somebody (Prince) is jealous.

No, I shouldn't waste my time on this drivel. And yet, after three hours of herding my children at the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Friday, I collapsed on our couch and said, "Mama needs some one-on-one time with People Magazine, so quiet time is for real today, all right?"

And I perused the magazine as though I was reading a long letter about my friends. Like Rachel, or Jennifer Aniston, as they call her in the biz. She steered clear of the cameras on Oscar night to allow the best costume design winner her moment to shine. That's Rachel for you. So humble. So selfless. Brad Pitt is a dirty dog, as far as I'm concerned. Now Vince Vaughan, there's a keeper. And don't even get me started on that clown Ross.

I know I'm not alone in my love of People magazine. One of my friends waits on her front porch for the mailman the day it is to arrive. I know a lawyer who shares a subscription with her lawyer friend and they pounce on it the day it comes like a defendant who keeps forgetting he has the right to remain silent.

I'm too cheap to buy a subscription, but I read my mom's old copies like it is my job.

Perhaps we're interested in the celebs because we like their characters on T.V. and in movies. We expect that they have the same sense of humor, zest for life, and I'm-going-to-follow-my-heart-come-what-may-when-I-think-of-a-day-that's-gray-and-cloudy-I-just-pick-up-my-chin-and-grin-and-say-hey attitude. Most celebrities fall short of that expectation. Who wouldn't?

I also mistakenly expect stars to be like my friends and family, only more glamorous. But it's a different world out there, apparently. For instance, on Oscar night, most stars in the crowd refused to laugh at themselves during host Jon Stewart's monologue. He'd poke fun at Hollywood for judging women on their looks and paying men more, doing the exact thing the movies they make decry, and no one laughed. That was a clever observation, I thought. And yet, total silence. I mean, even kings allowed jesters to poke fun at the royal family. Even my five year old laughs at himself when you give him a hard time. Most people think being roasted is a form of flattery. Not Hollywood, apparently. When Jon Stewart said "Ring of Fire" was a remake of "Ray" only starring a white guy, lead actor Joaquin Phoenix looked serious enough to shoot a man in Reno. Just to watch him die.

And yet, I read the caption to his after party photo. "Nominees Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix shared a laugh." Now he laughs. They must have been making fun of someone else. Joaquin, love him or hate him, he keeps you on your toes. Shoot. I'm thinking of them as friends again.

The thing is, I have no desire to actually be friends with the stars. Sorry, Rachel, Monica and Joaquin. No thanks. I have plans that day. I like my own friends, thank you.

And yet, I read about their elegant updos. I note that diamonds are now a guy's best friend, too. Maybe it's that I want to be a star like them. And I like to think that if I were a star, everything from dirty laundry to broken-down cars to sleet and drizzle would disappear. When I read People it does disappear for an hour. It's like watching a movie. Of course stars have their own problems. Like that stinking Papa Ratsi, who gets blamed for everything from marriages breaking up to Britney Spears not putting her baby in a carseat. Shame on him. And he's a father, for God sakes.

It was so bad on St. Patrick's Day that I even read the article about a day in the life of Ryan Seacrest, an E! reporter. I'm sorry, but just because you interview a star doesn't mean you are a star. If that's the logic, then everyone who interviews the president is the president. They'd have to call in a new White House press core to interview the new presidents. But then the new journalists would be presidents. Eventually, they'd run out of real reporters and call in the entertainment reporters. And then Ryan Seacrest would be president. But he can't be president because he's a hollywood star and hollywood stars can't be president. Oh wait a second. I guess that logic does work.

Regardless of whether or not Seacrest is a star, I read the whole article, and it's a good thing I did. Under a photo of Seacrest getting a manicure, he is quoted as saying: "There's nothing worse than a dangling piece of skin."

Well, that's a relief. I used to worry about kidnappings and money and deadly meteor showers. Now come to find out there is nothing worse than a hangnail. All I have to do is schedule a manicure at You Hit the Nail on the Head or some such pun-named salon and everything will be okay.

So that's why I read this magazine. It's an escape from reality. Not that reality is bad. Reality is great. On Friday, I had just gotten back from a parade with my dad and kids and brother. We are all happy and healthy. We have a big family and good friends. For all I know, our lives are better than the stars' lives. They might suffer from depression or be getting a divorce or even have a dangling peice of skin.

But sometimes you need a vacation to the land of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, where all the world appears to be one long and beautiful movie. Unfortunately, the director is Papa Ratsi.

In another matter, the service I bought from Go Daddy worked. This blog is now on and You can search "greetings from waldo" on either site and come up with the blog. I think the Waldo dateline at the beginning will help that happen. We'll see. I thought it would be easier to remember how to google the site then type in the whole address. And maybe some strangers out there will be bored at work and google themselves and and then say, "Oh, what the heck, let's see what 'greetings from waldo' turns up."


Anonymous mom said...

I don't know where to start! I know I'm your mother, but it can't be just that because I hear it daily from people. You are funny, clever, catchy and I think you get better and better! Today's blog had me laughing several times! The title was clever! Professor Plum, clown Ross the defendant line - I couldn't pick a favorite line today! By the way - I read it word for word also , so I knew what you were describing, but in much more enjoyable words that the article!! Your faithful Mom

11:18 AM  
Anonymous alexis said...

of course, my mom also says things like "i know i'm your mother..." and i always half-heartedly listen. but she's right. you are witty and clever as hell and i think you're headed for fame. you know, when i would dogsit for your aunt beth, i would devour her old copies of people, 2-4 issues at a time. stay up late and read them all bleary-eyed, drunk with gossip. kinda like i am now with this blog. keep up the great work!

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of my favorite entries funny! i noticed that about the oscars and almost started to feel bad for jon stuart for a second until he just didn't give a sh!# lib:)

11:17 PM  

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