Occasionally a reader will e-mail me to ask, “Are you famous?” What I want to respond is, “If I were famous, wouldn’t you know?” But of course, being polite, this is what I answer instead: “I am not famous, and even if I won the Nobel Prize for Literature someday, I still would not be the most famous person from my hometown of 15,000 people, because of this guy.”
That’s right: Terrell Owens, recently named by Forbes as one of the 10 most disliked people in sports, is from my hometown in Alabama. He was 4 years behind me, so we were never at the same school, but I have always looked up to him as a model for how to have a successful career in the entertainment industry. By following his career, in the past I have ascertained that I need
1. A much, much worse attitude
2. A clothing line
3. A rap song
4. A tendency to start dancing in professional situations...WAIT, that I have!!! At the Harlequin party at the recent Romance Writers of America convention, I won the dance contest with my rendition of the Robot, and I taught a senior editor to do the Electric Slide. I’m a dancing machine. Cross that one off.
Anyway, I’ve had enough trouble trying to keep up with Terrell, and NOW it appears that on top of all this, I also need
5. A naked publicity photo
6. My own reality show set in our hometown
Watching this was a very strange experience for me. My high school is on VH1. The Horseshoe Bend Motel is on VH1. And oooh--if you watch all the way to 9:32, you get a glimpse of Carlisle Drug Co. with an authentic old-fashioned soda fountain, where everybody in my junior high went after school to drink fresh limeades and subject each other to psychological bullying. Ah, memories.
Someone else from our hometown said of this episode, “Wow, he should embark on an acting career too, because he sure can turn those waterworks on and off!” But, all kidding aside, I really was moved by watching this. Like Terrell, I have made clover necklaces during recess at school, and my mother used to tell me the same thing about dogwoods that Terrell’s grandmother told him. My family did not have the money troubles his family had, but this story is familiar to me because the town is a working class textile mill town, and you can see that reflected in my novel Major Crush. His experience as expressed on this episode rang true to me.
Maybe it’s because I also know from talking to other people from our town that Terrell actually comes home fairly often to visit his relatives, and that he bought class rings for everyone on our high school football team when they won the state championship. But even though I understand this reality show was created specifically to revamp his image, I for one want to be a believer.
Wow, if reality shows have made it to my hometown, surely they’ve made it to yours. Have you had a weird experience watching a reality show set in your backyard, or even being in one? Please share.
But don’t expect me to respond right away, because I have an appointment to get my naked publicity photos taken.