Monday, July 27, 2009

Nobody's Asking Me -- by Sybil Adelman Sage

As it appeared on wowowow:

Larry King interviewed Michael Jackson’s father for an entire hour and found out nothing I couldn’t have told him. It’s not that I was intimate with the King of Pop. I’d never been to Neverland, hadn’t gone mall shopping with Michael or, in fact, ever met him. But I did read an issue of his dermatologist’s Daily Variety while waiting to see Arnold Klein’s partner, David Rish, who was treating my eczema. I thought it strange that a skin doctor, even in Beverly Hills, subscribed to a show-business trade paper. As the story has unfolded, that may not be the dermatologist’s only quirk. And though mine is not a name associated with Michael Jackson, I had no less information than Joe Jackson, who told Larry King he’d learned about his son’s death from fans. I couldn’t have answered when Larry asked where Michael was being buried, but neither could Joe. Given that Michael never forgave his father for slapping him around, I’m sure he’d have preferred to have me, or perhaps almost anyone else, discuss him on national television. Larry King slipped up big time.

Similarly, I was watching 40 years ago when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, but was I asked to talk about that memory? All the interviews were with NASA people, though I was prepared to talk about this event in a way none of them could. Having been single for 38 years, I’m well acquainted with what it feels like to have men walking all over you. It took years to get the footprints off my face. For me, it was a refreshing change to have a man walk on the moon. Even then, I wanted to warn the moon, "Sure, right now he’s having his picture taken with you, but don’t be fooled. Once he’s done tromping on you, you’ll never see this guy again!"

I was also overlooked during the public mourning for Walter Cronkite, though I’d been a loyal viewer, fixated on the TV during all of Cronkite’s coverage of the JFK assassination, Watergate, the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Beatles’ first appearance on American television. I was not approached by CBS or any news stations to share my feelings about one of my favorite anchors. Like so many, I considered him "the most trusted man in America," though given my history with men, the bar had been set rather low. My personal connection with Walter Cronkite was, admittedly, not intimate, but not everyone they interviewed was necessarily closer to him than I’d been. I once lived in an apartment building with a woman he dated after the death of his wife, though this wasn’t while they were involved.

Since I have not been overexposed, I’m keeping the phones free as my turn must be coming. I go to doctors and deal with co-pays, so am a natural to comment on Obama’s health-care reform speech. If not that, many friends know I got locked out of my house the night I was nominated for an Emmy and had to crawl in the window when I returned home (after not winning), which makes me a logical choice to discuss the incident with Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates being arrested after getting into his own house. At the very least, I’ve had both good and bad cuts, so I expect I’ll be brought in to discuss Michelle Obama’s recent hairstyle change.


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