There was a time when I was addicted to Oprah Winfrey.
And not just Oprah.
The year was 1989 and I was living in Springfield, Mo., with my new bride and working at the News-Leader. As a copy editor I worked an odd night shift, usually going in around 4 and getting out at midnight.
This meant I was home during the day. Since we were young and poor — or maybe just cheap — we didn’t bother with cable and there was no satellite or U-Verse in those ancient days. Or internet. And The Wife worked days so she was never around. So I was stuck with network daytime television.
I wasn’t keen on game shows or soap operas, so I started watching talk shows. And 1989 was the Golden Age of talk shows. The day started at 9 a.m. with Phil Donahue, then Sally, then Geraldo, then in the afternoon right before work was Oprah. They were all quite addictive, I’m ashamed to admit.
It was a sad life, 1989.
Eventually I got a day job and left talk shows behind. It was an easy addiction to break, to be honest. Still, it’s impossible to live in this modern world and not be aware that Oprah Winfrey is finally shutting down her show. Oprah was never my favorite — that would be Phil — and I really lost interest when she turned the show into some kind of uplifting, empowerment hour. Not my thing.
The last time I watched Oprah — and this was when I decided she’d gone off the deep end — was when Tom Cruise was on to promote the movie “Interview With a Vampire.” Oprah was visibly shaken by the film and just couldn’t get over how dark it was and how devoid of any life-affirming message and she kept hammering Tom about “how can you play such a dark character?” and you could tell Tom was totally befuddled by this line of inquiry. “I’m an actor?” he would say, but Oprah wasn’t buying it. I think she really thought there were vampires and he had become one to play this role.
Still, I figure out of respect for all she did for me in 1989, I should tune in to her finale. At 4 p.m. I turn to Channel 5 only to discover that the Newschannel 5 Weather Commando Team Six has taken over the network. It was raining, you see, and windy, and well, we’re all a little paranoid around here given what just happened to Joplin.
I didn’t think anything was more powerful than Oprah Winfrey. I guess I was wrong.
Channel 5 indicated that I could watch the Oprah Finale in its entirety at 3 a.m. Thursday (Are you serious? This is not the Royal Wedding.) or next Thursday at the regular time. But I will have lost interest by then. I wasn’t all that interested to begin with.
So, farewell Oprah. Good luck with your future endeavors. I’m sure you’ll be just fine.