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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm now writing for the same type of women's magazine that as a kid I hid under dog food at the grocery store (damn you, Connie Selleca!)
My new Wellbella cover-story interview with Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner.
I know what you're thinking: I've seen enough of the Kardashians at the grocery store. I'd hide their magazines under dog food, too.

If only my preteen dilemma were that simple.
As I look at Khloe Kardashian's sexy cover image (on the October issue of Wellbella, available at GNC stores nationwide, in case your wonderin'), I'm reminded of the first time I ever noticed Good Housekeeping magazine. Picture it: Tulsa, August 1982. My ten-year-old self is tooting along with a soon-to-be-ripped-from-its-package Star Wars action figure and an already-ripped-from-its-package Whatchamacallit in Skaggs Alpa Beta when I see the Most Beautiful Woman Ever in the History of the Whole World, At Least According to My Limited Knowledge of History, Geography and Beauty.

Priscilla Barnes, that luscious new blonde on the TV show that ruled every moment of my waking life, Three's Company, was lookin' all vixen-like on the cover of a magazine that I'd theretofore viewed as a guide to cookin', cleanin' and knittin'. Suddenly, "good housekeeping" now meant "come-hither nurse lady calling out all-siren-like so that you force your mother to buy you a magazine whose mere coffee-table presence will make your house look totally kept."

My mom wasn't having it. And since I didn't have enough money for my Han Solo in Hoth Outfit action figure, my half-eaten candy bar and this gorgeous women's magazine, Miss Barnes would have to wait at the supermarket checkout till next week.

Which was all good and fine till we returned to the store a week later to find that Connie friekin' Selleca had hijacked nurse Terri Alden's well-earned cover. September 1982 had not yet arrived, but that month's Good Housekeeping had. (Connie friekin' Selleca was so not getting my Good Housekeeping seal of approval.)

Anywho, I was devastated. Ebay was a good 15 years in the future, and back in the day if you missed a periodical, you had little choice than to suck it up and embrace the future Mrs. John Tesh.

So a year later, in fall 1983, I would be damned if I let another Priscilla Barnes cover slip through my Whatchamacallit-covered fingers. I'm hanging out at the magazine stand in Tulsa's finest Skaggs, when I come across what would become the holy grail of magazines: TV's most aesthetically-pleasing, slapstick-worthy blonde on the cover of Weight Watchers magazine. (What, was she two pounds overweight? I didn't give a crap why she was on the cover. All I knew is my life would not be complete without this piece of television history.)

Problem was, I was 11 and broke. So I begged my dad and my sister to buy the magazine for me. But they wouldn't have it. "Shouldn't have spent all of your allowance on your Return of the Jedi Jabba the Hut playset," they taunted me. "Maybe Jabba will be on the next cover of Weight Watchers."


I had no choice but to hide this golden piece of pop culture iconography somewhere in Skaggs where nobody would screw with it until I returned as soon as I could get my grubby mitts on $1.50. This Weight Watchers magazine not only stood on its own as high art, it would be a symbol of my redemption. I could not suffer another Good Housekeeping loss.

Where could I hide it? Not behind other magazines--I was certain the new Connie Selleca issues of Creem and Field and Stream would soon hit the stands and expose that hiding place. Few other products were big enough to conceal a magazine. Except ... for dog food. Giant, hulk-size bags of dog food--the mammoth ones that require Dolph Lundgen, some guy named Bubba Joe or other Masters of the Universe to hoist said bags over his shoulders while we all wait to hear his hernia tear like the sad, weak limbs of a paper doll.

So with the Power of Greyskull and a soothsaying hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi I summoned the force to lift three giant bags of this Purina Dog Chow just enough to slip the Weight Watchers magazine underneath them. No edges or corners were sticking out, so I was sure I had this one, um, in the bag. I was certain there weren't three people strong enough in Eastern Oklahoma to lift these gargantuan sacks of crap.

Four days later I returned with my hard-earned booty only to discover that the cast of Conan the Barbarian apparently had a dog-food shopping spree at my Tulsa-area Skaggs. The magazine was GONE! WTF?! Apparently, the last giant person who bought the last giant bag of Dog Chow did not appreciate the irony of seeing a Weight Watchers magazine stare back at him (her?). Go figure.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. Again. Miss Barnes' send-your-heart-aflutterin' visage had eluded me once more.

The moral of this story: If your kid goes ape over some Kardashian chick at the grocery store, buy the damn magazine. Or Connie Selleca's ass is gonna resurface and somebody's gonna get hurt. And unlike Priscilla Barnes on the cover of the August 1982 Good Housekeeping, it ain't gonna be pretty.


AJ said...

what a fantastic story, how easy it is to forget what a simple life we had before internet and ebay!

CHRIS MANN said...

Thanks for your comment! Ahhh, yes ... those were the days : )