Saturday, January 28, 2017

My Famous Mary Tyler Moore Story

You know what they say, "Timing is... is..." What is it again? Huh. For the life of me I can't... oh, wait, it's coming to me. It's right there on the tip of my what's-it. Okay, got it. "Everything." Thank you. Timing is everything, especially when it's freaky and disturbing. The other day, I was at the gym, telling my Famous Mary Tyler Moore Story to a few gals after spin class. I was telling this not-very-flattering MTM story for a reason I'll get to, if you ask nicely, and two seconds later, I went downstairs and saw on the workout room TV that Mary Tyler Moore, the gorgeous, the gifted, the comedy icon, the role model, the subject of my not-very-flattering story, had died. I immediately felt responsible, because I'd just dissed her two seconds before. This is how I roll, people. Is it healthy? No. Logical? Not at all. Remotely rational? Nope. Is there someone I can blame for this ridiculous defect? Absolutely. A few perpetrators come to mind, but I'm far too classy to name names, considering they're not around anymore to defend themselves. They meant well.

So, the Famous MTM Story. First, the setup. As we stretched our tired muscles post-spin, a woman who works at the gym entered, all huffy. "A client has reserved the room for 12:30," she said. It was only 12:26, but who's counting. "I'm turning on the fan. It smells in here." Well! We were collectively offended, the teacher most of all. She claimed she'd bathed in the past week, and we believed her. To make her feel better, I told my Famous MTM Story.

You want to hear it? Like you have a choice. In 1971, when the SJG was 13, I had just discovered modern dance. Every week, I took a class after school at a tiny studio on Westwood Boulevard with a group of teen gals. It was wonderful, one of the big high points of 9th grade. Another high point? Watching "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," then in its second season. Every teenage gal loved that show and above all, loved Mary. So you can just imagine the reaction at the tiny dance studio when we'd just finished class and in walked Mary Tyler Moore herself! It was subdued ecstasy, respectful hysteria, dialed-down glee. We didn't want to scare Mary. Sophisticated L.A. kids, we knew we had to play it cool. The fact that our idol had just walked in and didn't smile at us or even acknowledge us indicated how we should behave. It was obvious that Mary wasn't in the mood to deal with a bunch of gawking 13 year olds. She probably thought we'd be gone before she arrived. But there we were, trying not to stare at her. I remember thinking, "Wow, she's got freckles." It was a surprise. Another surprise? When she waved the air and said, "It smells in here." 

She probably didn't mean for us to hear it. But we did. I can't speak for the others, but personally, I was crushed. Still, MTM's diss didn't dampened my adoration. Yet that moment in the tiny dance studio stayed with me, a reminder that a celebrity's life has more darkness than you could ever realize. 

Oh, Mare! I'll love you forever. And I'm still wearing deodorant, thanks to you. 

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