My Awards Speech (Just in Case)

I really like watching awards shows. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what kind of awards they are. They could be movie awards. They could be TV show awards. They could be awards for written works such as plays or books. They could be music awards. Well, actually, I might have to split some hairs there. There are WAY too many music awards shows. These include but are not limited to the following: American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and MTV Video Music Awards (which is audacious given that they haven’t played any music in at least 10 years). I have even been known to watch award shows for commercials (which is challenging because it’s hard to tell when you can go to the bathroom).

Awards shows have some historic moments. I have made no bones about the fact that I am not a huge fan of soap operas. Nonetheless, it was beyond cool to watch the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999. Shemar Moore stood at the microphone and opened the envelope and yelled “THE STREAK IS OVER! SUSAN LUCCI!” Susan Lucci had been nominated 19 consecutive times and had finally won. I enjoyed watching Michael Bolton accept his Emmy. That was a very noteworthy moment. Michael Bolton has recorded numerous cover songs. These covers range from a soulful recording of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” to an insulting interpretation of “Georgia on My Mind”. But on that night, Bolton got an Emmy award for a song HE WROTE. It’s a shame he never got the hint. Mind you, Mr. Bolton has won other awards since then. I doubt my opinion will cause him to lose any sleep (or royalties).

Then, of course, there are the speeches. We have cherished the moment when Sally Field enjoyed the fact that we really, really, really liked her (which is actually a legendary misquote). I was ecstatic to watch Cuba Gooding, Jr. literally do acrobatic stunts and tell everyone within the sound of his voice: “I LOVE YOU!” Then there was that poignant Grammy Speech by Bob Dylan when he said…actually I have never been able to make out a blessed thing he has EVER said.

Now is the time for me to be honest with myself. Sometimes, I would like to have the experience of making an acceptance speech. I guess it is just a fascination with the idea of such public acceptance (because a handpicked committee of judges has told the public that my work is acceptable). The reality is that my writing is not intended to set the world on fire. I will probably never even be present at an awards show for my writing unless I happen to be the guy printing up the tickets that year. But, just in case, I have included below my award acceptance speech. Give me a second please to find that napkin I had in my coat pocket. AH, there it is.

My Award Speech (Just in Case)

Thank you all very much for that warm (pre-recorded) round of applause. It is truly an honor to be, not just nominated, but standing here today accepting the award for Best Use of Parenthetically Enclosed Phrases (and Bulleted Lists). There are many people for me to acknowledge and thank. I wish to apologize, in advance, for anyone I unintentionally omitted. For anyone I have intentionally omitted, if I went on any further you would not be omitted (DUH!).

  • I’d like to thank my dearly departed mother — Norma Jean McAfee. You are the greatest steel magnolia to bloom from God’s garden. While my writing did not truly kick into motion before you passed, your influence is in every piece I have written. Thanks for not becoming a nun all those years ago.
  • I’d like to thank my father — Lawrence Hugh McAfee. Thank you for all your encouragement over the years. Your gift of warped humor and sideline sarcasm has clearly been inherited (by my four children).
  • I’d like to thank my wife Renee and my kids: Thomas, Shayna, Brianna, and Caleb — Thank you for all the times you told me you liked my writing (and all the times you told me you didn’t). Thank you also for all the times you pointed out typographical and spelling errors (often after I have already posted it on the Web).
  • To my former English teachers: Sandra Bath and Mary Thomas Arbee; and to the great guru of grammar Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) — Thanks to all three of you for introducing me to a world of great writers and proper writing. I’d also like to apologize to all three of you for giving the appearance that I’ve apparently not learned a thing from any of you.
  • To everyone has followed my blog and continues to do so: Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to share my work with people who obviously have exhausted any other form of possible entertainment.
  • To a person I consider to be a mentor and a friend: Kevin Cummings………..

Oh, I am SO sorry they are asking me to wrap it up and I can barely hear myself over this infernal orchestra. Oh but I have to be sure and thank [segues immediately to a commercial].

Well, there you have it folks. Thanks for indulging me. This way, if the napkin winds up in the laundry, I won’t feel so bad.



And Now, A Word From (insert product here)

    I have written about media entertainment (in one form or another) on occasion. I have spoken about reality shows, soap operas, and classic songs. I have rattled on about my dependence upon my laptop (which is currently in the shop). I have spoken about how my portable media player acts as my own soundtrack. Even as I type this, “Green Onions” is playing in the background. I have sometimes even silently wondered how my life would sound as a movie trailer. You know, those cool trailers where Don LaFontaine describes something really cool and it ends in some kind of O. Henry ironic twist: “In a world where a man is seated at the table by his beautiful wife. She stands in a beautiful red dress and serves him the best homemade lasagna known to mankind. She kisses him lovingly on the lips. Life SEEMS wonderful. Sadly, [sound of vinyl record abruptly skipping], he can’t get the seal off the romano cheese. [man screams] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Anyway, I digress.

    It is no big secret to anyone that knows me that I love classic television and radio shows. I have enjoyed many shows that take me into an alternate reality (“Alien Nation”), allow me to witness a top-notch cop solving a case (“Dragnet”), or make me laugh and cry at the same time (the 6 O’ Clock news). However, there is a sub-genre of entertainment in television in radio that people tend to dismiss, ignore, or tune out. That’s right, folks. I am talking about commercials. 
    I have heard many people go on and on about how much they despise commercials. My wife typically holds the television remote in her hands with her right thumb literally hovering over the buttons. If it is a show that was recorded on our DVR, she fast forwards through the commercials with the speed and execution of an Olympic fencer. If it is a live show, she will switch to another channel. There have been many nights throughout our marriage where I have missed 10 minutes of three different shows due to her incessant commercial dodging. I admit to savage amusement when she changes to several different channels and they are all airing a commercial. It’s even better for me if more than one of them is airing the SAME commercial.
    For the most part, I am on the other side of the fence from my wife. I love watching commercials. I think part of it is due to one fact that is as old as television and radio themselves. Television and radio shows would not exist without corporate sponsorship. No commercial, no show. In the early years of television, this was very transparent. Most TV and radio legends such as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Abbott and Costello starred in shows that were named after their shows sponsor. Commercials were incorporated into the script. To a point, such product placement still exists. 
    Nonetheless, commercials for me have the same effect sometimes as full length shows. Commercials have shown how we have changed (for better or for worse) as a nation. Personally, I am grateful for the fact that we no longer see celebrities advertise tobacco products. On the other hand, we still see people describe embarrassing medical conditions to their friends in a public restaurant. Personally, if I go out to eat with a friend and he happens to have anti-diarrheal medication handy, I question his taste in restaurants. Some commercials entertain me due to their placement. I personally think a conspiracy is afoot whenever I see a commercial for diamonds during a sporting event. Sometimes, I get to see an advertisement for prescription medication followed by an advertisement for a lawyer willing to take your case if you actually take this medication.
    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the icons commercials give us that we all take for granted. People are prompted to buy car insurance because a) a caveman tells us NOT to buy it or b) a hyper-caffeinated woman wearing too much makeup is willing to guide us through the process. Exotic animals urge us to buy breakfast cereals, snack foods, and the same car insurance provoking a caveman hissy fit. We even, on occasion, see a diaphanous, scantily clad model advertising a triple bacon cheeseburger (I don’t know about you, but I am hungry all of a sudden).
    Today, on the day of this writing, we get to witness the event that brings the best commercials have to offer: the Super Bowl. My wife is not even allowed to hold the remote during the Super Bowl. Man, there have been some great ones to debut during the Super Bowl.I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think of the commercial with “Mean” Joe Green throwing a kid his jersey. The kid got the thrill of his life during that moment and you can see it in his eyes. These days, that same kid would auction the uniform to the highest web bidder. But hey, that’s free enterprise. He could probably get that stock trading baby to help him invest the proceeds of the sale.