|Oprah, moments before she introduced me.|
I was on Oprah for a few moments yesterday as part of a show about innovators and inventors. Oprah interviewed me regarding my part in the creation of the new Starbucks logo. She introduced me from an armchair on stage.
OPRAH: We have with us today the man who designed the new Starbucks logo! Come on out, Eric!
The audience applauded and cheered as I walked out onto the stage toward the armchair across from Oprah's.
ME (to Oprah): I'm sorry. I'm not here to talk about the Starbucks logo. My people very specifically told your producers not to even mention the logo or Starbucks.
OPRAH: I'm not sure...
ME: I was led to believe that this interview was about the play I wrote. I feel really betrayed.
I looked around, incensed.
OPRAH: Please have a seat.
ME (still angry): Gayle... where the hell are you?
OPRAH: Sit down. Please. Let's just talk. It's fine. You can tell us about your play.
I sat down across Oprah.
ME: I'm sorry, Oprah. It's not you. It's just that I had an agreement. I can't believe how unprofessional this whole show is. Anyway, I'm sorry about those nasty things I told Gayle backstage. Gayle, I'm sorry. That was truly revolting. I should be ashamed. And I would be right now if I didn't want to rip this entire set apart.
OPRAH: Eric... Eric... just tell us what this play is about?
ME: The play stars myself as myself as I explore every year of my life. It's a one-man show and it's sixteen hours.
OPRAH: And it ends with you creating the new Starbucks logo and becoming a success?
ME: No, it ends at the end of my life. It ends with me dying.
ME: That scene lasts for two hours. It's just me on my deathbed. No movement, no sound.
OPRAH: But you haven't died in real life yet.
ME: There's lots in the play that hasn't happened yet. Trust me, as the scenes unfold on stage, they are as much of a revelation to me as they are to you all.
OPRAH: Where is this play playing?
ME: Well, right now, it's playing in the basement of a building. I was just walking down this alley one day, chasing a cat I wanted to be friends with...
OPRAH: You mean a person when you say a cat, right?
ME: No, I mean a kitty. Like with fleas. Anyway, I was trying out all these doors, seeing if they were locked or not.
ME: I don't know. Just to see if they're locked or not. Anyway, one door opened and it was a stairway to an empty basement with garbage and stuff. For all I know, that door's still opened so that's where we'll have the play. Anyway, I've set up a stage with some wood and tarp and I'll just sell tickets at the door.
OPRAH: When are you doing all this?
ME: The play is running indefinitely as long as people don't mind garbage falling from chutes around them. It doesn't bother me none.
OPRAH: What is your play called?
ME: Yes, my name is Oprah on my birth certificate. You're not the only person in the world named Oprah, you know. I know lots of Oprahs. My play is called Oprah, but the full name is The Oprah Winfrey Show.
OPRAH: Eric… thank you…. for being here today to tell us about your play.
ME: Winfrey is my middle name.
OPRAH: Thank you, Eric.
ME: You can call me O.
The camera began moving away from my face as I swiped some crumpled loose leaf paper from under my shirt.
ME: Oprah, I have your next book pick from your book club. I know you're going to love it because I wrote it. I only have one paragraph but that's only because I couldn't come up with anything more.
OPRAH: We'll have to talk about that another time.
ME: Let me read you the first sentence.
I read my handwriting from the sheet of paper.
ME (reading): The year I become lovers with Oprah is the year she shot a man in cold blood. I could tell she had murdered before. Why? Because she told me she planned to kill more people, and would have taken out Mother Theresa if she were still alive…
OPRAH (to the camera): We'll be right back after these messages…
ME (still reading): I told Oprah, "Please stop this killing spree. I think you should at least stop stalking that family from Little People, Big World." That's when Oprah broke up with me because I didn't have room to stash two hundred and seventy-six "free" cars.