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Guilty Pleasure

     I have a secret fascination. Well, actually I probably have more than one, but for our purposes I’m just delving into one here. I like to look at the unsavory entertainment news on the internet. The worldwide web. There you have it.
     If any of the Jackson family cousins are staying at Michael’s old Neverland Ranch, I’ll follow that story. When Khloe Kardashian talks about her marriage to Lamar, I’m all over it. Somebody unearths some dirt on Jack Nicholson, I knew it yesterday. How long has Jeff Bridges been married to his wife Susan? Wait for it…coming up on 40 years.
     I’m not proud of this, but it is a fact.
     I know I’m a semi-educated 55-year-old woman who should be worried about the way people in Burma are treated, but instead I know a whole lot more about Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
     I’m hoping to God that I’m not the only one who checks Yahoo before I butter my flax seed toast. And if I am, what a loser. I blame technology. I don’t remember caring at all what gowns the actresses at awards shows wore before the internet.
     I do remember hearing about Elvis’ demise with my sister in the middle of Schnuck’s in Arnold, Missouri. It didn’t go well. When Jim Croce died in 1973, I was about to turn 13. You can imagine my heartache when I heard it on the radio. Remember those?
     I used to have posters taped to the walls of my teenaged bedroom with that Scotch tape that always turned yellow. Al Pacino in Serpico. Dan Fogelberg with some kind of feather in his hand. And Joe Morgan sliding into third. Did you know Dan Fogelberg died in 2007? That one hit me hard.
     I’ll never get over the fact that Johnny Cash died on my birthday. September 12, 2003. I was a mere 42 and my father had died not long before, so Johnny’s death left me a complete mess. I was a little shook up when Jackie Gleason died back in the 1980s. Johnny Cash and Jackie Gleason always remind me of my dad. And Johnny Carson. When me and my daughter Cate landed in Manhattan a year ago when we went to see my son James, I saw that statue of Ralph Kramden outside the Port Authority and I fell to pieces. Cate didn’t know what to do. I don’t think she was completely surprised though. I reacted the same way a year earlier at the Johnny Cash museum in Nashville. This is a woman who tears up at the grocery store when I see a bottle of Wishbone Italian salad dressing because it’s what we always used when I was a kid.
     I know it doesn’t make sense. I don’t even know these people. It must be what they represent, the memories I have of them all. Sitting in the living room watching Jackie Gleason on that big old console television in the living room and watching my dad laugh at him. When I was in high school I’d stay up late and watch The Johnny Carson Show with my dad, a nod to my new-found maturity. It was dark in the house and my mom and little brother were in bed. That show was something we had together.
     This does not explain why I check Yahoo now, I know. Maybe it’s my memories that compel me to click on the Yahoo site on my highfalutin’ laptop. I have no emotional connection to Michael Jackson or Khloe Kardashian, and yet I know way too much about them. Maybe I should start thinking about New Year’s resolutions now.


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