Monthly Archives: November 2009

Ken Ober, Adam Sandler and me

Connie, Carla and me standing behind Ken Ober in 1989.

As editor of a college newspaper, you work hard, learn a lot about the industry (as it was at the time) and discover what it’s like to be accountable to your reading public.

You also get to have a little fun.

I was editor of the Northwest Missourian at Northwest Missouri State University for two consecutive years. During those two years the college brought in several celebrities – speakers, bands, comedians – and in many cases I was the one who would show them around campus. I met the likes of Brit Hume (ABC White House correspondent at the time) and members of the Hooters and Ramones.

None was quite as memorable, though, as the day the crew from MTV’s “Remote Control” came to campus.

It was 1989 and Ken Ober, Colin Quinn and a still relatively unknown Adam Sandler brought their game show – kind of a laid back and funny version of “Jeopardy” in which contestants sat in recliners and controlled the board with a remote – to campus. There was an autograph session after the show and my roommates Connie and Carla and I got our picture taken with Ken Ober.

After the autographs my chief photographer Joann and I got to take the three guys out and introduce them to Maryville. Ken found a group of guys he wanted to play pool with and Colin was the life of the party darned near everywhere we went.

Adam, Joann and I sat down to have a drink and Joann and I started talking about our living arrangements: she was a 40-something mother of three daughters, wife of the ROTC instructor who went back to college. Their oldest daughter was in college and they had a room/suite to rent, so they offered it to me and I took it for my last semester.

Adam asked to see it so we got into Joann’s car and drove to the house. Joann’s husband Jerry was there and we all poured a drink then showed Adam around the house.

When we all got to my suite, he looked inside, yelled, “Waterbed!” and ran and started jumping on the bed.

It’s a story I continue to tell 20 years later, and one that became more relevant this week. Ken Ober, the host of the game show who would go on to become a comedic writer for various television shows, died at the age of 52 last weekend. His death hit the social media sites and was initially thought to be a hoax until family members confirmed it.

Godspeed, Ken. Thanks for being part of a great story in my life.

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Being tall is not a disease

I’ve recently made a wardrobe change, one that didn’t require moving summer clothes to storage and bringing out the sweaters or shopping in angst while my waist started moving the wrong way.

I started wearing heels.

To any other woman, you might say, “So what?” But in my bare feet I stand just a smidge under six feet. Trust me — heels are a big deal.

My attitude about my height has ebbed and flowed with the tide: sometimes I think it’s absolutely awesome, other times it’s the worst thing in the world. I’ve joked about my “freakish tall-ness” so much that one friend has ever an elbow ready to jab me in the ribs (well, just below the ribs — she’s only 5’6″).

I love the way heels make a woman look, filled with confidence and strength. So why can’t I wear them?

I couldn’t find an answer. So, embracing my “freakish tall-ness” I bought my first pair of three-inch heels. And love them.

I’m not the only one with issues about everyone else’s issues over height. I found this great column on earlier today.

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Keeping its value

quartersEvery now and again something will stand out to me and create in my mind a burst of philosophical thought. Sometimes I act on it — use it to teach myself or my kids something — but most times it just disappears and never resurfaces.

 Today I had one of those thoughts.

I’ve just recovered from a bout of H1N1, which isn’t important other than while I was sick the last thing I wanted to drink was dark soda. Also not necessarily an issue here, except that my favorite drink in the world is Diet Coke. I’ve been healthy for three weeks now but dark soda still doesn’t hold much appeal, so when I get tired of water I go to the vending machines and get a can of Diet Sierra Mist.

My Diet Coke comes in a $1 20-ounce bottle; the Diet Sierra Mist comes in a 50-cent can. (We’re getting to the point, I promise.)

Today I took my dollar bill back to the vending area, bought my can of soda and brought the change back with me, two not-so-shiny quarters.

Just a bit ago I happened to glance over at the quarters, still sitting on my desk, and saw the top quarter was dingy, dirty, banged up and looking pretty worn. The ridges on the rim had been stripped, and Ol’ George was beginning to show his age.

Then I saw the date on the quarter: 1967. The same year I was born.

Am I looking that rough and worn? When people look at me, do they see someone who looks like she’s seen her fair share of tough times?

Then I had another thought: That quarter is still a quarter. It may look a little less shiny than the one it was sitting next to, but it’s no less valuable. Without that dingy quarter, the shiny one is nearly useless; together I could get another can of soda, a small bag of pretzels or an hour in a downtown parking space.

Sometimes I think we do the same thing to people we know, and those we don’t. We look only at the surface and dismiss them as being too old, too worn, too dingy. We forget the value we all still hold.


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