Saturday, November 21, 2009
Don't Do It For Me, Oprah
Now I feel bad. My previous confessional post about my Oprah regrets appears to have prompted her to throw in the towel completely. I knew as a big-hearted person that she would feel terrible about the circumstances behind my decision to decline an invitation to appear on her show, but O, taking it off the air? Entirely uncalled for. I'm fine. Really. It all worked out. In retrospect -- and at this point in my life I am all about retrospect -- not going on the Oprah show was one of the best moves I ever made.
Had I appeared on Oprah that spring of 1996 the book I'd just released might well have taken off and become something. Maybe not, but let's say for argument it did. That would have prompted publishers to line up with large cash offers for another book I didn't have in me, but would have committed to because I would have gotten all wrapped-up in the money and attention. Guaranteed. The resulting book deal would have demanded a fast-track turnaround to capitalize on all the buzz and would have derailed my life for a solid year. The book would have sucked and so would my standing as a father, husband and friend. I would have spent the money on a better boat and a larger woodshop I wouldn't have had time to use. Panned by the press, resented by my family, and distanced from my friends I would have bobbed in the bay alone on my better boat and wished I'd simply said no to Oprah. Which in fact I did.
So there, O. Happy ending. You like those, right? You know how and when to leave a stage and I -- in my little dim rim of the limelight -- did too. So, I won't feel bad about you canceling your show for me if you won't feel bad about me canceling your show for me.