THE CHALLENGE: To go to The Today Show and stand in the audience with a sign of Lindsay’s design.
THE RESULT: My alarm is set for 4:15 in the morning because my challenge is to be in the crowd on the Today Show, and I read on a website that “If you think you can arrive at 7 a.m. and get a good spot, you’re mistaken.” It should probably read “If you want to be on The Today Show at 7 a.m. you are mistaken,” but I can’t find an email address on the site for sending in editorial corrections. I get up at 4:15 in the morning and I do ten push ups because I’m Jack Fucking Palance, apparently. You know where I just read about sleep deprivation and push ups? In a New Yorker article about Abu Ghraib. I’m not saying this is as bad as Abu Ghraib, but I’m saying this is definitely like Abu Ghraib. Before I leave the house, I take three anti-diarrheal tablets to lock it down. Because the only thing that I can imagine worse than having to stand around in the cold in Rockefeller Center with high school kids on spring break, is having to stand around in the cold in Rockefeller Center with high school kids on spring break and shitting your pants.
Lindsay has made me a sign to hold up. It is bright pink, and covered in cat and American Flag stickers. Separate. Like, cat stickers, and American Flag stickers, although cats holding American Flags is not a terrible sticker idea, if anyone from the Sticker Industry is reading this. The sign is horrible. Lindsay claims it is art. “I thought this is what Andy Warhol must have felt like!” No, Lindsay. This is not at all what Andy Warhol felt like. He felt like someone coming down off a cocaine high in the arms of an underage male model on a velvet settee after too many eggs Benedict. This is probably what Sheri Lewis felt like, though. I had thought that I would be cool about this sign, but I’m feeling pretty uncool about it.
I get to Rockefeller Center, and following the instructions of the website that told me not to make any mistakes, I go to the corner of 49th and Rockefeller Plaza. I’m the first person here, but that’s fine. Maybe I’ll get close enough to punch Al Roker. I ask a cop if there’s somewhere specific I should stand, and she points me to the corner of 48th. Whoops, website! Who’s mistaken now? I’m not the first person at all. There are probably a hundred people ahead of me. I should point out, there are a hundred people ahead of me and it’s 5:45 in the morning. As more people arrive, a man is moving up and down the line, selling sign-making materials. “Let the world know who you are!” he is shouting. I am tempted to ask him if he has any guns, and single-serving bullets.
We’re finally let into the bullpen. Everyone is in high school, or the parent of someone in high school. The two girls standing to my left are from Ohio, with a large group of kids representing the Rams. They are having a conversation about their dinner from the night before. One girl had what she refers to as “peenay pasta,” and the other girl had a cheeseburger. “Why did you eat a cheeseburger?” the peenay pasta girl asks aggressively, and the other girl offers the following airproof argument: “Well, number one, I like cheeseburgers.” There is no “number two.” An official Today show photographer takes everyone’s picture, which will later be for sale at the NBC store.
You can also get it in sweatshirt.
People all around the corral are pointing at my sign and laughing at me. Seriously. Not just the high schoolers, but the parents of the high schoolers as well. If the parent notices it first, they will tap their child on the shoulder to get their attention, so that everyone can enjoy this. Hey, you know what, fuck you. I am here as a joke. What’s your excuse?
You know what, Matt Lauer looks great in his suit. Good for him.
When I was in high school, I worked at a catering company, and wherever I went, whether it was a hospital, or an office building, people would always make the exact same joke: “oh, that’s supposed to go in this office/hospital room.” That was their joke. Get it? Because the food wasn’t supposed to go in there. I think that must be how Ann Curry feels every morning when some SPRINGFIELD SPARTAN 08 yells “Katie!” at her. Get it? It’s because of Katie Couric. Hilarious.
The special guest stars this morning are the cast of the Broadway musical Go, Diego, Go! Kill Me, Diego, Please Kill Me! They play that funtimes suicide song “Hot Hot Hot.” The viewers at home only got to enjoy this wonderful song once, but those of us in the audience were also blessed (by God) with the dress rehearsals, so I got to enjoy “Hot Hot Hot” THREE TIMES! Nine seconds is all the human mind can take of this song before dissolving into a rancid gray puddle, so please enjoy exactly nine seconds:
I was LOVIN’ it:
MOTHERFUCKER, Al Roker isn’t here today. Some poor man’s Mayor Carcetti is here to take his place. In between saccharine weather reports, he walks the line, shaking people’s hands and asking them about their lives. He’s a genius at social mirroring and the smallest of talks, and he’s not even a regular actor in this farce. People are making lifelong friends with him, right before he moves on. When he gets to me he shakes my hand and asks me where I’m from. “I live in New York,” I tell him. One imagines that unshaven men who live in the city and appear to be alone don’t make regular appearances on the morning line, and you can see the well-lubricated wheels in his head grinding for the splittest of seconds. “That’s what’s so great about the city,” he says, “there’s so many exciting things to do.” I point down at my sign. “I’m here for my friend Lindsay,” I say. “She’s going to be in the hospital soon.”