I was on TV on Tuesday, no thanks to Lindsay Lohan. Drama like this could only happen in Los Angeles. You see, I wrote an amazing book called The Dead Janitors Club a little while back; I know it was amazing because one reviewer called me "a real life character out of a Chuck Palahniuk novel" and another reviewer said I was "the new Mark Twain." That does make the book sound pretty damn amazing, right? Well, like you probably would if it was your book, I bought right into the hype and happily accepted the compliments (at least I think the first one was a compliment...). I was on top of the world (in the metaphorical sense only, I hate to travel). I'd just completed a radio interview with Canada (yup, the whole country) in which, amongst other things, I'd taught a Canadian lady how to get fox piss out of a Winnebago (you really should have been listening). Even mighty KTLA and their television morning show wanted a piece of me.
I really was feeling a bit like the new Mark Twain, Twain 2.0 (say "Twain 2.0" in a funky robot voice and you'll get just a taste of what I was feeling). And then came Lindsay.
Lindsay has held dominion over the tabloids for the past couple of years so you'd think that there was nothing else she could do that would be deemed "newsworthy." Well, that's what I thought at least. I arrived at the TV studio early in the morning toting a box full of props and a certain bleary charm manufactured by a long night of sleepless angst. I'd never really been on television before, much less for doing something interesting and laudable and it hadn't helped that my publicist had informed me the night before that I would no longer be a "talking head," I was going to have to put on a full demonstration--How the Crime Scene Cleaner turned Author Cleans Things. I'd gone to the store for the requisite items only hours before I was to arrive in Los Angeles and teach the 2nd largest TV market in the nation (curse you, New York!) how to get blood, vomit, and pee (no, you're thinking of either Blood Sweat & Tears, or, if you're black, Earth, Wind & Fire) out of household items.
As I sat in the Green Room making small talk with one of the guys from the show "The Bachelor", and being ignored by some actor from some TV show I'd never heard of (Okay, I had heard of it, I was just bitter that he ignored me), I began to grow nervous. Lindsay had surrendered, she was on her way into the hoosegow, and a little picture-in-picture box at the corner of the TV was monitoring her trip. As the hour wiled away, and the others went on the air, I sat, nervous, and definitely not feeling very Twain 2.0 (here, say "Twain 2.0" like you're a dying Walkman to experience how I was feeling). This had been my chance to do my little monkey dance for the world and I was ready! Little sleep, little preparation, and lots of Green Room fruit had pushed me to the brink and it was MY moment. Besides, I'd had to beg my boss to let me off for the day to come in for the live performance, and as such it was also a "now or never" moment.
I stood on the stage ready for MY moment, awaiting the return from commercial that would signal ascension to my rightful place as "temporary prince of daytime news in the 2nd biggest TV market" (yes, it's a real title-- it's only slightly less respected than a spot as the "before guy" in a Noxzema commercial). And then, Lindsay reached the jail.
KTLA returned from commercial not focused on me, beaming beside a copy of my book, but full-screen on Lindsay. One of the show runners said in my direction "I'm sorry, but we gotta bump you... it's Lindsay!" Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay! My one day off... my one shot at fame, GONE. My book was crap and I knew it, my sweet Twain 2.0 moniker was a house of cards in a hurricane. I was just some loser not even destined to follow the guy from The Bachelor. In Los Angeles terms, I was "finito" (Jesus, my high's are high and my lows are LOW). It all seemed so damn bleak. And then:
Sweet miracle of miracles, the car ferrying Lindsay to jail drove into an access tunnel and there was only empty asphalt left for the helicopters to film. This might have passed for interesting television in the 3rd largest market, Chicago, but it certainly didn't fly in Los Angeles. "We've got three minutes," the show runner yelled pointing at me. Automatically, I began my little performance and didn't stop till the host cut me off to say we were out of time. But by that point, it didn't matter. I was back-- Twain 2.0: Bigger and faster. My book sales on Amazon.com marginally increased that day. Suck on that, temporary prince of Chicago.