July 30th, 2002


Feel the Love.

Last time I was in a funk my brother reminded me to think about the things in the world that make me happy. When Leanne posted a pic of El Vez to help cheer me up, reminding me how much the Rey loves me, I thought of all the people I have never met who love me and my thoughts immediately went to Richard.

I remember when I was first working in Raleigh at the Crabtree Valley Mall, the mall was swept in a buzz and filled with people wearing hats with rainbows all over them chattering about how some fellow named Jeff Gordon was in the mall signing stuff. When I asked my co-workers who that was, they told me that he was accomplished at some activity I had never heard of that they called "Nascar". Apparently that summer, the mall was running a series of appearances by celebrities to press flesh and plug whatever they were hocking at the time, and that the one celebrity I'd even be remotely interested in seeing in person was going to appear the week after I returned to college. "I don't know about this Jeff Gordon guy," I said to my coworker, "but I would love to see Richard Simmons."

My co-worker, a 5-foot-nuthin strawberry blonde Alpha Xi Pi (or something) from Appalachian State said the absolute last thing I expected to come out of her nineteen-year-old mouth: "HA! I'd kick that faggot's ass if I saw him. I can't believe he's coming to *our* mall."

I felt almost personally hurt by this. The situation didn't even call for a hey-what-did-he-do-to-you; I was so confused. How can anyone be so hostile against Richard? It's not just that he's never done anything *against* you, it's that he's never done anything that wasn't *for* you. Richard doesn't care if you're a man or a woman. Richard doesn't care if you're rich or poor. Richard doesn't care what color your skin is. Richard doesn't even care if you are fat or thin. Richard wants you to be the best you possibly can be. And not in that cheesy insincere military way. Richard loves you for whoever you are, however you are, and whatever you need to do to be wherever you can be.

Sweating yourself thin and dealing meals is just an easy way of dispensing this love. It's an easy formula: he can offer these things and people can use them to better themselves. But if Richard could think of a way to bottle anything that would make every single one of us feel better, he would.

Granted, you're reading testimony from the girl who buys (literally) almost everything she sees on infomercials. I am a proud owner of an Egg-Wave, the Chuck Norris/Christy Brinkley gym, and I can't tell you how close I am to getting a Showtime Rotisserie. But when I see Richard sit and have a good cry with some woman who changed her life because Richard loves her so much, I can't help myself but feel as though he loves me too. So remember, when your chips are down and the world looks like a big pile of shit, Richard loves you too.
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