At Houlihan's Corinne and I used to watch television and share breakfast together before the shift started. Egg and cheese on a roll from the deli downstairs. The same deli where I met Carol Channing. We saw that the talk show was looking for guests for a "My Co-worker Needs a Makeover" episode. Corinna and I hatched up a plan. We would submit her for a makeover because she wanted new clothes and I wanted to be on television. I called the show and left our story on their answering machine:
Ricki, my friend Corinne needs a makeover so bad. She always wears the same thing and she never wears make up or brushes her hair. She's a pretty girl, but she needs help. Ricki, whenever we go out after work, she wears her uniform and it's all covered with food and stains but she doesn't care. Ricki, my friend needs a makeover. Help!
We hung up and thought "whatever." A few days later a producer called us. This was in the days before cell phones so I dunno how they got in touch with me. I had an answering service back then or maybe a pager. It was so long ago they might have sent the message via Pony Express. But they wanted to meet us! That day. Could they come to the restaurant right then and interview us? Oh shit! I ran over to Corinne and told her that the Ricki Lake people were on the way and we needed her to look like she needed a makeover stat. Truth be told, Corinne is a very pretty girl. In no way did she need a makeover and she would never have gone out after work wearing her uniform, but this was The Ricki Lake Show. If the truth had to be bent a little, then we would bend it. We forgo seeing to our customers as we set out to get prepared for our interview. Corinne wiped off her makeup and wrinkled her uniform. She put her hair up in some ratty ass pile on top of her head and I think we put some honey mustard and other condiments on her clothes. They showed up about twenty minutes later. The producer was some chick who was about 25 years old and she had a big old Polaroid camera hanging around her neck. She interviewed us for about ten minutes as we continued to ignore the customers who were dying of thirst and starvation in our stations. This was television. Priorities, people. They snapped a picture of Corinne and said they would be getting back to us.
They never did. It must have been crystal clear that Corinne just wanted a new outfit from Chico's or TJ Max and I just wanted to be on television. She probably saw right away that Corinne didn't need a makeover and they moved on to the next batch of potential guests. We were crushed. As the week ended and we realized that our dream of meeting Ricki Lake was not going to happen, our lives slowly went back to normal. We kept watching The Ricki Lake Show each morning and sharing our egg and cheese on a roll, but it never quite tasted the same as it did before Ricki Lake reached out and dangled a brighter future in front of us. It's okay. Corinne and I will always have Houlihan's.
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