From the time I was little, I wanted to be the center of attention. When I was in second grade, the university in my hometown sent some people to our school. They wanted a few youngsters to come and be interviewed for a show they were filming and I nearly peed my pants in my haste to volunteer. I can’t remember anything about the project they were working on – for all I know, they could have been looking for the most annoying seven-year-olds – or those who obviously had deep psychological problems. But I was convinced that this was my chance for stardom – because the show was going to air on the local PBS station, for my entire hometown to see!
The day the show was taped, I wore my most glamorous dress, a little pink velvet number with ruffles at the neckline and down the front. The day I took this picture with my sister, I wasn’t wearing undies – but on the day of the taping, I was the epitome of properness, with coordinating pink, ruffled panties in place.
They sat the five of us in a semi-circle, facing the camera – I made sure I had the middle seat. The interviewer was off to one side and as she would ask us questions, I made it a point to demonstrate my excellent listening skills – by cocking my head slightly and furrowing my brow as I pondered the query. I probably nodded knowledgeably from time to time. As my classmates would answer, I would turn my head to gaze at them, coquettishly resting my chin on my shoulder as I did so. I may have batted my eyes occasionally as well – because, let’s face it – I was super adorable!
When the interviewer turned her attention to me, it was my time to really shine! I smiled, I giggled, I batted my eyes some more. I’m sure I had no problem spouting off answers – if you look at the teacher’s comments on my report cards from that time period they invariably state things like: “Jana has excellent reading skills, but often disturbs her classmates with her incessant chattering.” Yeah – I’ve never had a problem when it comes to opening my mouth and letting my thoughts spew forth.
When the show aired, I was sure I would become the incredibly popular girl I always wanted to be. However, it turns out that my family was probably the only one in town that actually watched the local PBS station on a consistent basis – everyone else actually had a television antenna so they could watch network television.
I didn’t let my lack of instant celebrity deter me from pursuing fame and fortune. I went on screw up perform in elementary school musicals, create chaos as the editor of my high school newspaper, be on a television game show, and ultimately ended up as a beloved (by prison inmates) radio station disc jockey for over sixteen years. Yet, the paparazzi have never camped outside my doorstep, I’m not living in a mansion, and I’ve never been featured on Entertainment Tonight. Whatever am I doing wrong?