I fondly recall Oprah's early years, and how her program got me through three lonely years in Japan. And that old theme song! Remember that? It reminded me of a mashup of Birdland and Rockit. It was my bell and I was Pavlov's dog, preparing myself for an hour of emotion and laughter whenever I heard it, not unlike Carlton on this old clip from Fresh Prince. I remember well where I was and what I was doing the moment Oprah wheeled the fat on stage. It was my generation's Where Were You When Kennedy Was Shot moment.
More recently I harbored a grudge toward her for blasting memoirist James Frey (authors are storytellers, after all and far be it from me to judge a writer who elaborates his story), and I grew tired of her fawning over self-important celebrity friends (and their reciprocal fawning over Oprah). I admit to enjoying my monthly O Magazine. Skimming through the quick-fix self-esteem and career articles makes me feel like I've accomplished a goal, even though after reading I am no closer to accomplishment. The recipes are pretty good, but the fashion and design spreads are Gwenyth Paltrow-esque (beautiful fantasies that are too expensive for mere mortals to obtain).
Oprah became a friend that I continue meeting for an occasional lunch, but that I really don't have much in common with anymore.
This afternoon is Oprah's departure. I attempted to watch one of the star-studded pre-farewell episodes, if only to show some respect for our history together. After a minute or two I felt sort of dirty and turned the channel. You are right Oprah, it is time to say goodbye. And you still owe me $20, but I will also accept a car or trip to Australia.
(A post from last year provides a few details about my relationship with Oprah: Why Oprah Owes Me $20.)