The models were getting recognized everywhere they went, and my business card was being received with an, “Oh, I’ve heard of this book!” While we were enjoying our celebrity status, albeit on the local level only, we began yearning for bigger audiences. We knew where to go. It was time for a field trip to the City of Angels (aka the City of TV Land.)
The Bonnie Hunt Show had just started production, and I had been watching since day one. The more I watched, the more I enjoyed the show and thought we would be a great fit on it. Bonnie is a very fun and charming talk show host, and I could just envision our bunch of hunks helping her conduct a fun and sexy baking segment. We decided this would be our first stop.
Photographer Tammy and I loaded into my MomMobile and drove out to the Culver City Studios. We brought one of the books wrapped as a gift for Bonnie, along with a note describing our desire to be guests on her show. It was left at the security table, but not until the female guard took a quick peek and gave it an appreciative giggle. Now all we could do was hope she would like the book and our pitch.
I also brought along some extra copies which were passed around (thanks to Tammy’s fearless promotion) to all the ladies waiting in line outside the studio. The response was very positive, and I was starting to feel good about the very real possibility of being invited on a national talk show.
We were eventually led into the studio and seated in the back row. I was hoping to be closer—I’m not sure why I thought that would be better; as if I thought Bonnie would see us in the crowd and stop the show and call out, “There they are! The creators of that amazing new cookbook! Come on down and I’ll interview you right now!” I do know how irrational that sounded, as she would not have even had the chance to see the book we left for her, but it was a nice dream, just the same.
The show started with Bonnie Hunt coming out with her beloved dog, Charlie. Both were adorable, for obviously different reasons. She is a big animal lover and public advocate of shelter pet adoptions, and for that fact alone she has me as a devoted fan. (If you’ve been reading all my blogs, you’ll remember that I used to work at a Humane Society and had to euthanize animals. By far the saddest thing I’ve ever had to do.) Her guests that day were Milos Ventimiglia from “Heroes”, TV icon Cheryl Ladd, who looked amazingly stunning, and a fun fashion show for pets. Throughout the show, we got a whole bunch of free stuff, from hot dogs to an iPod docking station. It was a great time.
Then the show ended. We started getting ready to go, but unbeknownst to us, Bonnie took the time to walk through the audience and thank everyone for coming (classy move!) As she started up our aisle first, I knew this was our chance to meet her and introduce her to the book in person. With each step she took toward us, I knew she was on a beeline path to fulfilling our destiny.
Tammy nudged me to get an extra copy of the book out of my bag and have it ready. Bonnie took a few more steps up the aisle, and my heart started pounding and my mind started reeling. “Tell her about the adorable models,” I told myself. She came closer. “Tell her that we could conduct a killer baking segment, full of fun and double entendres,” I mentally noted. She was now two rows away. “Oh, and tell her that we can provide free books for the studio audience,” I reminded myself.
And then she walked up to me. First, I have to say that the camera doesn’t do her enough justice. She’s a beautiful woman, and she has a warm, genuine smile. It’s no wonder that she a well-loved celebrity.
Now there was this movie star that I had seen and admired most of my adult life on the big screen standing directly in front of me. She was in 3-D as she shook my hand and looked me straight in the eye. My moment had come. I took a deep breath, ready to impress and intrigue her with the wonderfulness that is Stud Muffins, and then the unthinkable happened: I froze.
It’s hard to write this, even after time has passed and I should have forgiven myself by now, but I still can’t believe I said nothing. My brain completely emptied of all the clever things I was going to say. I didn’t even pick up the book from my lap and hold it up like a Kindergartener on show-and-tell day. I just shook her hand and possibly grunted something in her general direction.
And then she was gone.
I remember sitting there in stunned silence for a few moments. Then I turned to Tammy, who was looking back at me in complete shock. “What just happened?” I said in an almost inaudible gasp. But I knew what happened—I let an opportunity of a lifetime slip from my hands, literally.
By now, Bonnie had wound her way to the far side of the audience, and then, like the fading last scene of one of her movies, she was gone. The audience was quickly whisked out of the studio and herded toward the parking lot. I kept looking around, hoping against all hope that maybe she would be at the gate to give us a final goodbye hug, and I would have a chance to redeem myself. But sadly, the only thing at the gate was the exit sign. The trip home was a subdued one.
The only good thing that happened that day was that I had an epiphany--I would never, ever let a chance like that get away from me again. And as luck (or fate) had it, it wasn’t long before another amazing opportunity presented itself. This time, I vowed not to repeat The Bonnie Hunt Debacle. All it took was some speed baking, a battle against 70 mph winds, and a hundred yard dash through a Bass Pro Shop…
WINTER OLYMPICS UPDATE FROM 1998 - Twenty years ago in Nagano, I attempted curling. Incredibly, I did not medal.
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