Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Who is Merv Griffin?"

In the category "'Zsa Zsa's Closeted Companions," the answer for $1,000 is: "Talk show host and creator of "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune," who died today of prostate cancer at the age of 82."

While living in Derry, NH in the late 70's, I would arrive home from school each day, let myself in (we were called "latch-key kids" then), fix an obscenely large bowl of cereal, squeeze my chubby pre-teen ass into my mother's faux-fur black beanbag chair and watch "The Merv Griffin Show." I remember a distinct preference for Merv Griffin over Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore, who had similar shows at the time.

I now realize that my instinctive draw to Merv and his fascination with pop culture, his clever version of cattiness and his impeccable taste in ties was actually my pre-pubescent gay gene in action. I received some of my earliest training in the fine art of being a gay male without realizing it. [Note: Griffin self-identified as "bi," by which I have to assume he meant,"Oh, bi the way, I'm 100% gay" because he so clearly was just that].

As we aged, Merv and I grew further apart. He bloated as I thinned. He became a mogul as I became impoverished. He began rubbing elbows with the Republican woman, as I started rubbing other parts of Democratic men.

I was, however, genuinely saddened to hear of his passing and remain grateful for his subtle schooling on getting in a good dig without sounding like a complete bitch; he was the master.

And I will, undoubtedly, continue to think of him every time I polish off a box of Cap'n Crunch in one sitting, which, on rare occasions, still happens.

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