Few of these columns indelibly elicit as much response as those that deal with my love life. People enjoy gawking at car wrecks after all. Thus it wasn't much of a surprise that last week's effort (and I use that term loosely) generated more of a murmur than usual. Thanks to all who sent their condolences after reading of my broken engagement with TV newscaster Harris Faulkner.
Not that I've ever been called "skanky" before but if you read between the lines you realized that despite the heartache of another broken relationship I already had another in mind. I wasn't exactly cheating on Harris. Our vows to each other had as much distance as the bandwidth between UHF and VHF stations. And I, like millions of others who are hooked on our nation's number one TV show, have fallen under the wily charms of the most recent one who got the boot out of the Outback, young Elisabeth Filarski.
Not that I'm weak minded, more like weak kneed or weak hearted, but I could hardly help myself. "Bessy" wore a homemade headdress to Tribal Council for Peter's sake. And those who know me know a woman in a hat always catches my eye. Doesn't matter if it's a Copenhagen baseball cap or a fancy French beret, my head tends to turn to those who have enough style sense to wear a middle finger like chapeau atop their noggin.
There were other considerations also. First of all you all must read my novel to understand the romantic symbolic stature Australia has in my dreams (both those long gone by and those that won't quite ever leave me alone and die). I once gave the first person I knew who was on her way to that mysterious land the Australian flag that hung proudly in my college dorm room. She was kind enough to bring back for me a personally selected rock from her last day on the beach that I still cling to as a reminder that there once was another day.
And yes I'm sure millions of geeky men with Internet access are smitten with Elisabeth Filarski because of her appearance (it was almost a blessing she got voted off last week because due to malnutrition her hair was coming off in clumps... ewww). Yet she struck in me something almost Sandra Bullockish. She just seemed like a darn nice gal, and her friendship with the old codger Rodger was truly sweet and genuine in a genre that by its very nature stifles such traits and turns them into something icky all in the name of another buck and rating point.
Elisabeth also played softball in college. You gotta love that. It reminded me of one of my all time favorite moments in life when I convinced the World's Greatest Soccer Player to join my softball team despite the fact that she had never played real ball ever in her young existence. I remember the first day she came out to the ball field with me and I pitched her batting practice and she tried her gosh darn best. She was consistent in making contact though the ball didn't go very far. She laughed and tried harder and we had the bestest most funnest time ever. I know Elisabeth Filarski would be that type of gal too.
Thursday nights of course are the nights we lay out the award winning Session Weekly. For that past twelve weeks the ritual of late night working has been slightly modified. Before I leave in the morning I check and double check with great paranoia to make sure my VCR is set to tape Survivor. As we roll past 7 p.m. and then 8 p.m. I make sure to take no phone calls, make sure not to go online. I don't want anything or anyone to spoil the surprise of who got the boot off the show. I race home as soon as I can making sure not to turn on the radio. I plop myself down on the couch and take in the most anticipated hour of my week. And believe it or not I'm seldom let down.
Many of the most respected TV watchers I know refuse to watch Survivor. Thus sadly they don't quite understand what they out of snobbish foolery have been missing: quite simply one of the most intriguing TV shows that has come along in a long time. Yes it's about a bunch of people sitting and whining about each other for an hour but the show is masterfully put together to tell a familiar story about what it is like to live in this country in the year 2001. A fine soul like Elisabeth Filarski doesn't stand a chance but somehow charms her way far past what could have been expected. Maybe not all hope needs to be snuffed out like that symbolic flame from the commercial Tiki torch.