If I had a dollar for every time I've been on TV, I'd have enough money to buy a case of beer.
OK, I might not have enough shekels for Stella Artois, but I don't think I'd have to settle for Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Anybody who knows me - knows that I really do crave attention, but at the same time, not so much that I have to embarrass myself to obtain it.
At the State Fair there are media people camped out at every Foot Long Hot Dog stand. It's almost impossible to go one block w/o seeing at least a couple guys toting around those huge cameras slung across their shoulders.
If they put that camera on their shoulder, and its little red light goes on, it can create a force strong enough that mountains will be moved.
Just think of some of the television shows that are popular and what their stars have to do to be on the program.........
On Bizarre Foods, which is hosted by the Twin Cities own Andrew Zimmern, the guy eats goat hoofs and pig testicles, not just to gross you out, but to get a contract extension as well.
Then there's Jersey Shore, let's face it - how many people would burn an entire summer living with Snooki just to get some global accolades tossed their way?
Sometimes when I stare at my plasma screen and shake my head in disbelief, I force myself to go back to the basics and start from ground zero.
As a kid, in Sunday school, they used to discuss the difference between angels.
According to Father Barr....both Arch Angel Michael and Lucifer guarded God's presence on the Mercy Seat.
Michael was said to be virtuous and loyal, where Lucifer wanted to push God off the throne and sit on it himself.
Even at the ripe age of 7, I knew I was in for trouble, because I understood Satan's dilemma.
I don't think that the Devil necessarily wanted to be ungrateful, but maybe he just got distracted and wanted some attention for himself.
People (and maybe angels too) are created to need love, but it's just that perception is a funny word, and different people associate love with popularity.
Nothing, and I mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g will raise a persons popularity quicker than television.
So it's last Thursday, and it's the hottest day of the Fair, my building is easily over 100 degrees inside, and wouldn't you know it?
Like a dumb a**, this happens to be the day I scheduled myself to do my borscht demo.
While the soup pot rested cozily in the simmer position, I went to the buildings entrance in hopes of finding a breeze that would show me compassion.
No such luck.
So w/o trying to look like a whiner, I leaned hard against a wall and let my mind drift while watching people walk by.
Within moments, I saw "That Guy", you know who I'm talking about, he goes to every event on the planet.
Dude walks right past me holding onto a walking staff that was easily 6 feet tall. Whenever I see this, the first thing I do is check to see if there is a limp, but there never is.
This guy just want's to either simulate a pleasureful jaunt through the Swiss Alps, or who knows? Maybe "That Guy" thinks he's Gandalf the Grey, and is on some mid life crisis quest.
If there's one certainty in this world you can bet on, its that any man who is healthy and walks in public with a staff is evidence enough that you can bet your bottom dollar that he's gonna be rocking some kind of unusual hat.
Don't ask me why, it's just the law of nature I guess.
The dude I was looking at had an Indiana Jones fedora on his head, and even though Klecko was hot, sweaty and irritable, he would be a liar if he didn't admit that this cracked him up.
But in the scope of things, this visual was merely the warm up band.
Just moments after the Urban Wizard faded into the ocean of Fair goers, Klecko saw something that caused him to do a double take.
How many times have I boasted that there is nothing in this world that you could throw at me that will knock me off balance?
Well, don't even bother to answer....I was wrong.
Just ahead, passing by my entrance, next to the life size horses that were constructed out of foliage, I spied a transgender couple.
Transgenders are not what makes this tandem unique however. The Minnesota State Fair has always been cool with the GLBTC, but these 2 peeps were pushing a baby stroller.
However, the strollers inhabitant wasn't an infant....it was a fossilized infant that had adult sized dentures shoved into the mouth area.
Theres no getting around it, I was officially creeped out.
So Klecko went back to his kitchen where a striking young woman named Tara introduced herself, and said she was from the Creative Activities marketing and she wanted to know if I would be interested in doing a 3 minute bit on TV the following day.
Now of course I wanted to say yes, but in the past....Klecko has given away his heart w/o discretion.
When ever a baker says "Yes" the next thing that they are going to hear is......
"Well you better bring food!"
And to be honest, that part isn't too big of a deal.
Sure its an added financial expense, and sure it's more prep time in an already busy day, and sure it means I'm gonna have to schlep across Fairgrounds, cutting one presentation a little short, and then I'll have to bust tail back so my 5 p.m. guest doesn't feel abandoned.
All of these sacrifices I'm willing to make, however in the past. I have pledged my oath to the media only to be contacted by producers who have told me that my spot was canceled due to technical difficulties.
But then one of the 5000 people you called to tell that you were going to be on TV calls you back laughing, sometimes hysterically while ribbing you that your cooking slot was replaced by a smoking chimpanzee or a dancing chihuahua.
It's part of the biz....but Klecko has been hurt in the past, so he proceeds with a prudent heart.
But my new friend Tara casts out a confidence that usually people twice her age lack. She told me that she was in control, that this wasn't gonna happen, and to basically shut up and tell her what would be on the the audiences menu.
I replied.....Vatican City / Roasted Mango / Coconut Macaroons.
Tara is a pro, the following day after reminding me that I was booked, she told me that a chauffeur would come to pick me up at 3:30.
I liked the thought of that.
When the time came, another young woman came to get me, helped me gather my wares, and proceeded to escort me outside to a golf cart that would have us across campus in the blink of an eye.
I was booked to do a slot at the KARE 11 barn at 4 p.m. on one of the live Fair broadcasts, on one of those local affiliates.
When I entered, there was already an established audience.
They saw that I was carrying food, and I could see their stares circling my maroons in a vulture like patterns.
The primary host of this program was Diana Pierce.
When I hit puberty she was a local anchor. The word on the street was that she was a pretty serious "Born Again" and that kinda worked for me.
I always digged virtuous women that had that "Marie Osmond - Amy Grant" thing going on.
But Klecko basically got shuffled between producers and interns. So basically I talked to, and was treated very nicely by everybody else on the set, and it's not that Diana was mean to me......she just was preoccupied with her show and didn't have time to talk to a tattooed lout with a platter full of Mango Maroons in one hand, and a bottle full of Drambuie and a Vatican City flag in the other.
If I'm 48.......I'm guessing that makes her 56-58.
She kinda looked like she might have had some work done, I don't know....maybe not, but as a God Squad member myself...I've been pushed into the corner by "brethren" who have chastised the high levels of ink in my flesh, so now I began to wonder what the churches stance was on cosmetic detailing.
"FLASH".....THE RED LIGHT GOES ON!
And the crowd went absolutely wild.
Diana was joined by some guy host and the 2 of them did some generic bantering and to be honest.....the people loved it.
At this point, I began to wonder if anybody on the planet would actually be watching KARE 11 at 4 in the afternoon.
I mean after all.....don't don't people have jobs?
But, I gotta tell you, the guy did a 3 minute dealio with me, and to be honest, it went by in such a blur, that all I remember saying was something about being a good Polish Catholic boy that brought some pastry that was commissioned by the Pope to only be made for him, but since Danny Klecko had mystical secrets....he was going to give Saint Paul the hook up.
The following morning my question concerning who watches these local afternoon television slots was answered at 7 a.m. sharp when I entered my neighborhood coffee shop.
Before Mikey even had time to pour my 2 espresso shots into my light roast...5 people came up and congratulated me on my stellar 3 minute performance.
Seriously....I wondered if it was just a coincidence, or did my neighborhood broadcast Klecko's most recent media blitz on Facebook?
Well.... when I got to the Snelling Avenue Fair Gate, the kind words I got at the coffee shop were echoed, and during my first demo of the day, the one where I went solo and discussed savory French quick breads,
I may have had the largest crowd I have ever seen in the Saint Agnes Kitchen,
Who knows? More than likely, just 24 hours after my appearance, most of the people who watched it, would probably have turned their focus back towards themselves, and rightfully so.
But maybe I can see why people eat pig testicles or spend a summer with Snooki to live on TV, I'm not saying that I'm ready to become that pathetic...but who knows?