1) I talk like Tom Brokaw. I believe this. I believe this with the same conviction that a crazy person might believe that the Fornits are talking to him or that there is a pink unicorn in my garage controlling his destiny. (the Fornits don’t talk to anyone but themselves, the unicorn is green and mostly it just shits on the hood of my car). I know that I talk like Tom Brokaw. I know this because evidence was made clear to me 20 years ago!
We went to Florida. When we got to the place we were staying we turned on the television to find the local news to find a weather report so we could decide if we should go swimming. When the news came on I was stunned silent by the awful southern accents that all of the newscasters sported. These weren’t just the funny joke southern accents, these were real. Very real. It was as though their teeth were made of biscuit dough and their saliva was pure molasses. At 15 I’d hardly ever left the state of Minnesota before, I’d never experienced something so peculiar. Why on earth had the tv stations allowed this to happen? WHY?
20 minutes later the national news came on the air and there was Tom Brokaw and there he was, talking without an accent. No accent. he sounded JUST LIKE ME! Me and him! Diction buddies. That was it. The doors opened and I knew the world would be okay.
G) During the decision making process for every major decision of my adult life includes a scenario that goes like this: Should this play out to its worst possible conclusion, how would my interview play out on Dateline NBC?. I always imagine Stone Philips asking me questions. “Weren’t you suspicious? Didn’t it seem too good to be true? Come on now, free potatoes from a man in an alley? Didn’t you think there might be something wrong with that scenario?”. I imagine myself being admonished by Stone Philips for my poor decision making skills. It’s never anyone else, it’s never Barbara Walters or Montell Williams or even Jesus, it’s always Stone Philips.
For a brief period in my early to mid twenties I was completely in love with those ‘news magazine’ type programs where they invent scandal and present shoddy facts in exchange for ratings. Oh those TV shows that fire up middle America with indignant righteousness, “Did you hear that kids as young as fetuses are doing coke and pimping? I heard it on NBC! Hell in a handbasket, that’s what I always say. No one listens to me.” I loved those shows! For an hour I could live in middle America with my no accent and my solid middle class sensibilities offended by the big city. Of course, afterwards, I would be forced to accept that this wasn’t really news. It was sensationalism at its worst, throw everything out there, scandalize the viewer! Freak them out! immorality is RIGHT OVER THE NEXT HILL!!!
And no one got a free ride, there was Stone Philips every week commanding the future from the flight deck. Even the meekest of victims did not escape his inquisitive gaze! Old people scammed by roof tar contractors! Quiet, lonely business men financing deposed Nigerian princes! Ladies looking for love and finding only the back end of a rohypnal orgy and herpes!
SO! whenever someone says, “you need to talk to my friend, he can totally set you up!” I always think about Stone Philips and I wonder what he would ask of me.