Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coming Out about Oprah

   I have a confession to make. I like Oprah. I know. I know. Trust me, I know. I gave up daytime television many many years ago because it took me a long time to recover from my high school addiction to Days aka Days of our Lives. When I finally quit watching that particular soap thirty-some years ago, it was stupefying how long I was able to keep up with it simply by reading the weekly summary in the Sunday newspaper. Thus, I was justifiably leery of becoming too fond of any television show. I didn't want anything to take over my life (and she didn't!)
  In fact during the eighteen years I worked full-time, I rarely got home in time to watch Oprah's show but summers were different. I would catch her here and there so I knew about her dogs, her relationship with Stedman, her best-friend Gayle, her love for Michael Jackson, and more. I actually think I was "there" when Tom Cruise had that insane sofa jumping fit over Katie. Whew! That one wore me out and permanently cured me of my "crush" on Tom. (Thank you, Oprah.)
   When my husband and I could finally get the cable package that allowed us to DVR Oprah's show, I was not as interested as I had once been. I had heard all of the talk that her ratings were sliding, and the previews of her daily shows made it seem that she had degenerated into one of those "sensational" tabloid headline-grabbing talkshow hosts I so despise. Thus, I largely ignored her and only tuned in occasionally. But then....then Oprah announced that she was retiring and the once blurry picture came into sharp focus.
   As one of my friends said today, "I did not know how much I liked Oprah until she decided to leave us." Can I hear an amen?! I guess I thought that she would always be there. Not. So suddenly, she is like a rare vintage wine that tastes so good because you know that you are not gonna get to taste it again. Ever.
   With apologies to another talk show host whom I would not be sorry to see go -- here are my Top Ten Reasons Why I Will Miss Oprah Winfrey.
     10. The woman has a serious shoe fetish. I have never seen so many different shoes on one woman in my life. I learned about shoes just trying to figure out what she had on her feet.
       9.  The woman has tried every diet under the sun...and so have I. In the end, I like to think that she is embracing herself as she is, 'cause I, for one, am happy that she is not one of those slinky svelte Hollywood types that are literally starving themselves to death. I think Oprah likes to eat and so do I. And it shows. On both of us.
      8.  She is loyal. I am from the town where she made her television debut and where her father lives. She does not dish on her family, and she and her friend Gayle have hung together for many many years. I would not want to mess with Oprah if I messed with one of her friends. I know who would win. And it wouldn't be me.
     7. She has shared the wealth. I really have no idea what she is like on a personal level, but I used to love to watch her give-away shows, and who out there won't confess to shopping for at least one of her favorites. I know that she probably doesn't do the legwork, but just consider how many individuals and companies have benefited from her generosity.
     6. She has helped launch a few careers. I first met Dr. Phil, then Dr. Oz, and even Rachael Ray on none other than Oprah's show.
     5. She got everybody reading again. Book snob that I am, I assiduously avoided buying Oprah's Book Club choices for a while because I didn't want to jump on another Oprah bandwagon (I had already been on a few), but when she put one of my all-time favorite books on the reading list, I broke my vow and started looking at her online list before I picked up a new book. I can thank her for steering me to some fine literature. I also like to count the people I see reading books in airports or public places that are adorned with that tell-tale Oprah Book Club sticker.
     4. She is not afraid of the race issue. She has earned my respect and admiration on this issue for

Oprah in the The Color Purple
numerous reasons, not the least of which is the support that she has lent to films, productions, actors, and authors who have had messages that needed to be heard.
     3.  She does not run from trouble, nor does she shrink from the difficult. I think her show last week with the 200 abused and molested men was one of the most powerful shows EVER SEEN on television. I also believe her series on female body image that included plastic surgery and women who were addicted to it should be required viewing material for every teenage girl in America.
     2. She is going out with style, and she knows when to leave. Think how many talkshow hosts have overstayed their welcome, and we have been witness to their embarrassing attempts to resurrect a sinking ship. Folks, I think that this is incredibly hard to do, and I admire Oprah for knowing when to take that final bow.
    1. She has overcame hardship, failed relationships, her own story of abuse and much more to become a woman of substance. I am not talking about money or power or political influence here, I am talking about a woman who made me think, made me feel, and made me uncomfortable with myself at times. In my book, that is what a woman of substance does...she rattles you from time to time and forces you to confront things about yourself and others that you would probably like to ignore.
   For these ten things and probably a few more, I say thanks Oprah. I'll be tuning in these next few months and wishing that I had had that chance to sit in your audience just once!
     All photos except the shoes are from Oprah's own website.

1 comment :

  1. You are a great writer! This is so true. I will miss her, too....and her book list! :)


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