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Amy Page

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 23:26:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Amy
To: justin
Subject: you asked for it

Julia, whose social seasoning includes the notion that you don't exist until you're on tv, obtained free tickets to see the jerry springer show, and since I was visiting ellen and needed a ride back to chicago from milwaukee, I thought, what the hell. exactly.

enter julia's bob saget lookalike boyfriend, mark "Im a dj" somehting or other, and everyone's favorite playmate johnsin, who suggested we take these microdots that one of us happened to have, on the way to the show. that way it would kick in by the time we got to chicago.

traffic defeated our carefree post-adolescent whimsy, and johnsin, ellen, and I found ourselves trapped in the back seat on 2 hits of acid while sober julia and mark sang along to slow booty jams in the front. the ride was long. I clutched the handle of the door next to me, ellen had to shit in the middle of it, and charming mark refused to stop until she threatened to let it rip in the car.

after parking and regaining the feeling in my legs, we waited in line. the line was long. we had to show id to prove we were over 18, and that made us paranoid. the boys were wearing massive magazine t-shirts, and the rule was no logos, so mark wore my mustard colored cardigan, and we called him mr rogers. he seemed very gay to me.

they put us in the back, claiming johnsin "has nice long legs". everything they expose on satirical parodies of these tv shows is true. There's a guy who stands off to the side who trains the audience to respond to his different hand motions with the proper vocal emotion. when he claps, we're supposed to clap, when he pulls his hands palm up away from gravity, we are supposed to become vaguely riled. when he laughs... you get it. at every commercial break we were supposed to stand up and scream and yell and cheer. JOhnsin was skilled at this. every time we were solicited he'd thrust his torso in the air and wave his arms, screaming "woo!". ellen and I mostly stood up slowly, cupping our hearts with both of our hands.

They waited a long time to show us what the topic was. the wait was long. and to this day I am still rather confused. here's what I think it was: guests from former shows, who, having watched the show religiously, wanted to confront other guests from other shows. talk about trippy postmodern chaos, the first pair was a large gay man from alabama wearing overalls who wanted to confront a large black drag queen. I guess his problem was that he disapproved of gay men who dressed like women. it wasn't quite clear to me, but they had to be pried apart every 30 seconds. at one break of confrontation, the queen yelled to someone in the audience, "I used to fuck little boys like you in the penitentiary!"

another guest, a pseudo black power revolutionary who looked alot like the crying game queen, wanted to condemn an interracial couple, and a neo nazi who wanted to do the same. at one point an audience member asked the revolutionary, "are you a man or a woman?" (s)he responded, "let it be a mystery. all that matters is I'm black. i'm black and I'm proud."

there was for the most part no talking, mostly indecipherable screaming and thick moments in which secuirty would have to jump up and keep opposing parties apart. ellen kept whispering, "this cannot be real" and julia kept whispering back, "no, this is real. this is so real." I have to admit, all I could think was, is this real?

at the end of the show the guests get a chance to shake jerry's sweaty hand on camera. the girls declined, and the boys yelled something promotional about their rave zine, massive, at their moment with the guru. I went back to hyde park, crawled into tim's little bed on the floor, and pulled the sheets over my head, and cried, listening to his roommate mo in the next room furiously typing away, chatting on phishnet irc.