OWN This Year 2011

Happy New Year, peeps! This will be a very exciting year, because, as you all know, it will be the final year of The Oprah Show. And, just like Oprah, I’m planning on some big changes, too.

No, I will not be ending this column, though I really should. But I will continue to plod on, telling you ridiculous, poorly-written tales of lesbian life, until (1) I find a rich patron who is willing to pay me millions for penning witty Facebook posts; or (2) I’m fired. So, you’re stuck with me. Sorry.

What will the big changes be? Oh, who the hell knows? But they’ll be big, I tell ya. Big! For example, I’m considering getting bangs, if my hair stylist will allow it.

But enough about me. Let’s get back to Oprah. Yesterday, while taking down the Christmas tree, my girlfriend and I tuned into the new Oprah Winfrey Network—charmingly-acronymed OWN, as if we needed it spelled out that Oprah owns the world—because we were curious about how bad it possibly could be. So, readers, I was stunned to discover that I loved it.

How could I not? Disgraced Duchess of York takes a spiritual journey—and invites us along for the ride. Tatum and Ryan O’Neal have their own reality show. Dr. Phil, who is either incredibly jaundiced, or has no self-control when it comes to the spray-tan bottle, is floating his big orange face into everyone’s shows like a rogue Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon cut from its moorings.

I’ve watched very little Oprah over the past 25 years. I lost interest when she got all high-minded, and gave up the fun shows with salacious topics.

I really don’t care about being the “best Jennifer that I can be.” Most days, I can get by with being the “high-functioning-but-deeply-dysfunctional Jennifer”—or, my favorite version, “manic, fully-caffeinated Jennifer, who works incredibly hard at meaningless projects until she crashes from a sugar high, and naps for two hours.”

But I’m not here to bash Oprah. I always have liked her. I admire her sass and her vast empire. I love that she takes herself so seriously.

Also endearing is that she speaks in that weird accent somewhere between imperious and bored—as if she can’t wait to get through a stupid, mind-numbing interview, so she can escape to her dressing room, and have a snack. I know exactly how she feels, because I can’t have a conversation these days without yearning for it to end, so I can free my mouth for food.

It’s impossible to live in the Midwest, and avoid Oprah. Everyone I know has an Oprah story. Most involve encountering her in an elevator or at a party, and the lengths she will go to avoid eye contact.

The stories always start out exciting—— “You’ll never guess who I ran into today at (fill in the blank)”—and end with Oprah artfully ignoring the presence of the storyteller.

I have my own Oprah story, but I’ll save it for another time, because it’s both unusual (she smiled and nodded at me!) and funny (it involves a brief encounter between our dogs—and her delight and outrage when one of my dogs unceremoniously lifted his leg, and peed on her dog’s head).

I have started writing my second novel, The Missing Bra, which follows my first novel, Dateland. The first is award-winning—but not an Oprah Book Club selection, so, therefore, it amounts to a terrible failure. Even so, it’s still available on Amazon. Please buy it! I look forward to offering you snippets of the new book in the coming year.

I wish you all great success, love, and spiritual journeys worthy of the former Duchess of York. I hope that everyone has an excellent 2011—and that no one pees on your head.

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