If you happened to spot me running down the street the other day, screaming, “The world is ending! The world is ending!” please don’t think I’m a fool. I was only reacting to all the news reports that carried a dire prediction: the world would soon be without Oprah.
Thankfully, I learned that Oprah herself isn’t disappearing. It’s her show that’s going off the air. Oprah will still grace the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, appear on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and have tea with Michelle and Barack. But the world will not be the same without The Oprah Winfrey Show, which has been on TV for 25 years and made such
a difference in my life, I just don’t know how my ancestors survived without it. How did great-grandma know what food to eat and which books to read? How did great-grandpa know what clothes to wear and which celebrities to gush over?
In fact, when I think about it, my life can be divided into two distinct periods: Before Oprah (B.O.) and After Oprah (A.O.).
B.O.: I ate whatever I wanted, without worrying about calories or nutrition.
A.O.: I ate whatever Oprah’s chef recommended –- and bought myself bigger clothes.
B.O.: I thought I was happy with my life.
A.O.: I took Oprah’s “happy quiz” and realized that I was quite miserable.
B.O.: I didn’t know how to say “I love you” to a woman.
A.O.: I screamed “I love you” many times to Meg Ryan when she appeared on Oprah.
B.O.: I didn’t do much reading at all.
A.O.: I read every cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, while standing in line at the supermarket.
B.O.: I thought that aging was inevitable.
A.O.: I watched Suzanne Somers on Oprah and learned that it’s possible for a 60-year-old, through regular hormone injections and vitamin therapy, to look barely a day older than 59.
B.O.: I didn’t know how to attract women.
A.O.: I attracted hordes of women by putting a sign outside my apartment that said: “Oprah’s on. Anyone want to watch with me?”
B.O.: I didn’t know how to exercise.
A.O.: I watched Oprah run a 26-mile marathon and was inspired to run 26 times around my couch.
B.O.: I didn’t know how to take care of my finances.
A.O.: Oprah taught me, in just one episode, how to save money for a rainy day, and in another episode, how to invest it all in designer underwear.
B.O.: I didn’t know how to dress well.
A.O.: I watched Aishwarya Rai on Oprah and learned the proper way to wear a sari.
B.O.: I didn’t know if I’d ever get married.
A.O.: I watched an episode called “The man who conned nine women into marriage” and realized that if he could con nine women, I could con at least one.
B.O.: I was happy with the size of my apartment.
A.O.: Oprah gave viewers a tour of her mansion and I realized that I’d be much happier if I lived in her closet.
B.O.: I was satisfied with my appearance.
A.O.: I watched an episode called “Does my butt look big?” and realized that there were other channels on the TV.
If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll love Melvin’s humourous novel “Bala Takes the Plunge,” available in North America through McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. Read the latest reviews here and an excerpt here.