Friday, October 14, 2011

Playing Pretend, Grownup Style

This was written shortly before Oprah's show ended.

When my children don’t know I’m watching, they pretend to fight mythical creatures, perform to sold-out auditoriums, save the planet from hostile alien invasions, use the force to defeat Darth Vader (or whiny little Luke, depending on their mood), film the prize-winning America’s Funniest Home Video and flush marbles down the toilet, although that last one has nothing to do with this particular post.

One of my most embarrassing moments came when my father walked in on a similar dreamscape: I was 13-ish and singing the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” into a hairbrush while performing some fantastical dance moves.  He tried to back out of the living room, but not before I caught a glimpse of him, bewildered and amused, behind me in the mirror.

I’d like to say that as a grown woman I’m above that sort of Extreme Pretending, but I’d be lying.  And unfortunately I’m not much of a do-gooder in my imaginary escapades; I’m not establishing world peace, eliminating poverty and hunger or curing cancer—the truth is I’m generally engrossed in a deep and touching interview with Oprah Winfrey.  Sadly, this particular dream has a shelf-life of about 30 days seeing as how Oprah’s final episode airs in one month.  I’m a little bummed.

In the interview she’s laughing raucously at my witty and spontaneous humor.  But then she gets serious, leaning forward to grab my hand and ask how my life has changed since becoming a best-selling novelist.  I won’t bore you with the details of my imaginary interview, except to say that it’s the highest-rated pretend Oprah episode to date.

Just a few weeks ago, I told my BFF that I regularly engage in pretend Oprah interviews--in fact, just that morning Oprah had asked about my first extravagant purchase after becoming filthy rich.  I had laughed, modestly, and told her that while my lifestyle hadn’t changed much, I did splurge and buy one of everything pictured in Pottery Barn’s Spring Catalog. 

It was then that I realized I’m not the only adult lost in the haze of an intoxicating day dream.  My BFF informed me that she regularly imagines her Sunday service interrupted by rebel forces which she single-handedly disarms and incapacitates with a series of round-house kicks, much to the surprise of the entire congregation that, awestruck, applauds her efforts, albeit reverently.  No wonder my kids liked playing at her house so much.

So I guess that everyone plays pretend, some of us more rigorously than others.  And although Oprah may be retiring, I may just have a pretend future in fighting mythical creatures.  My BFF could always teach me a thing or two, in her dreams.

How about you?

No comments: