This came back to me while walking to pick up Thai food:
When I was 11, a friend of the family called and asked if I wanted to be on television. Of course I did! Didn’t everyone? (With no crystal ball at my disposal, I could not know that a) I would later appear on the pilot for a CBS kids show b) I would be captain of my high school’s It’s Academic team, appearing four times on local television c) I would be forced to sing in a television commercial for my then-employer, the San Antonio Light d) CBS’s Anthony Mason would feature me for a shockingly long period of time on the Sunday Morning show’s “Fine Print” feature e) I would be an extra on “Homicide” f) I would appear on local television so much that I would actually get to the point of completely forgetting an interview g) I would follow the farm report on a Madison, Wis., newscast. h) I would be forced to be the Sun’s official questioner in the 1998 gubernatorial debate because I was the least valuable member of our team, and the real political reporters needed to cover the event.)
The show in question was some sort of public affairs program and my job, as it turned out, was to show that adolescent girls went through a period of development in which they could not do the kind of sit-ups that involved thrashing violently forward and touching one’s toes, then falling back, boucing up again, etc. etc. (This sit-up was later discredited as a form of exercise, and the physical limits of adolescent girls had nothing to do with it.)
So there I was on local television, in a leotard. Was there a chroma-key reading “Can’t touch her toes”? No, that detail is too impossibly perfect to be true. The leotard was pale blue and not particularly flattering. I looked very hangdog, with my wire-rims and my straggly hair, the front ends pulled back with a barrette, in the style of the day. Well, it was the style at School #201 and I’ve got the photographs to prove it. I looked, in short, like an idiot.
But I was famous.
Please feel free to share your ealy tales of celebrity or humiliation here. And if anyone can link this back to Thai food, I’d be much obliged.