‘Survivor mom’ gains extra 15 minutes of fame

Categorized as 03/16/09 Goshen News column

They say everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. If that’s all we get, then I guess I’m done. I didn’t realize when I won the Reno County spelling bee in the eighth grade and competed at state that I had peaked too early. Now all I’ve got left are daydreams.

I can’t imagine what I could possibly do to earn myself a spot on a celebrity’s couch for a high-powered interview watched by millions. I guess there’s always the notoriety that comes with reckless criminality, such as infanticide, but my self-restraint thus far has kept me off Oprah’s couch. Besides, who wants to appear on national television in prison orange? Not me. It washes me out.

In some of my more imaginative daydreams, I have come up with a plot that I believe could get me an extra 15 minutes and save CBS Evening News. If the network would tap into that whole “Survivor” phenomenon by having Katie Couric do a series called “Survivor Moms,” I think they could right their sinking ship and send ratings through the roof. Here’s how my interview with Katie might go.

Katie: “Good evening. Tonight we continue our series on ‘Survivor Moms,’ our ongoing look at women who are raising large families and, so far, have lived to tell about it. Our next guest is an enterprising young woman who, with her husband, is raising four sons. She has a full-time career in addition to doing a bit of writing, and last year even announced a run for the presidency. Rhonda, you look remarkably normal given your circumstances.”

Me: “Thank you, Katie. It’s an honor to be here.”

Katie: “Is that grape jelly on your shirt?”

Me: “Doggone it. I thought I got that spot. Actually, Katie, I personally think that’s why my presidential bid failed. In the end, I think the constituents were afraid that the White House wouldn’t stay white if we moved in, so they voted for the other guy.”

Katie: “So tell me your secret for surviving as the only female in a houseful of men.”

Me: “I’d have to say it’s the ABC’s that hold me together.”

Katie: “The ABC’s?”

Me: “You know. Ambien, Benadryl, caffeine, duct tape, and so on all the way to Valium, Xanax, and all the Zzz’s I can get. You follow this regimen, you can pretty much survive anything.”

Katie: “As you know, I have two daughters. I’m curious – living in a male-dominated household, are there any mood swings or emotive displays?”

Me: “Oh, sure. We can go from abject despair to elation inside of 30 seconds. There’s lots of giggling, some excited shouting, and the occasional crying jag.”

Katie: “Your boys are certainly emotional.”

Me: “Oh, no. That’s just me.”

Katie: “I see. Now tell me what a family of six does for entertainment.”

Me: “Well, when five of you think that the highest forms of entertainment are belching, whoopee cushions, and blowing things up, it can leave the one with the ovaries feeling a little desperate. That’s where my good friends at the coffee shop come in. There’s just something about that padded room there, and the IV…”

Katie: “Say no more. Now, with a crowd this size, you must have a system, a way to keep order. Can you explain to us what that is?”

Me: “You’re right, Katie. This is a crowd, and it’s very important to maintain control. When you’re outnumbered two to one, you have to really come out with a show of force initially, get the little people marching in line or you’ll have anarchy. And it’s absolutely essential that you stick together, or the little buggers will pick you off one at a time, and then the inmates…”

Katie: “…Are running the asylum?”

Me: “Absolutely.”

Katie: “One last question before we let you go. What are your fears as a mother?”

Me: “Two words, Katie. Drivers ed. I mean white knuckles, some whimpering and praying…”

Katie: “Is it really that bad?”

Me: “Think about it. Have you let your oldest daughter take your limo through NYC at rush hour with no extra steering wheel or second set of brakes back where you normally sit?”

Katie (blanching): “Um, no, I guess not.”

Me: “That’s how it feels. I’m just saying.”

Katie: “Well, that wraps it up. Thank you for stopping by this evening and sharing your survivor story with us.”

Katie, off camera: “Someone bring me some Xanax – now!”

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