Wisdom Through Humor
Burning Your Fifteen Minutes at Both Ends

Viki Reed

Next Caller, Please?

Comedian Denis Leary puts forth a great scenario for radio-shrinks:

"Hi, this is Dr. Leary, how can I help you?"

"Doc, my life sucks, I can't stop drinking..."

"SHUT THE $%$#!-UP! Thank you, next caller, please?"

A plea for empathy from a stranger never mattered less than at judgement time arrives. By the time some dubious instant celebrity has seen their fifteen minutes, they're no more attractive than the average mookie Judge Judy plaintiff. When you become famous for marrying a millionaire on TV for fame and fortune you can't complain that people aren't seeing the real you. As Judy would caustically assess, "Don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining!"

Darva Conger's plaintive cries of humility in the earliest days of her "Millionaire" marriage fiasco turned into verbal turnips as she appeared at Oscar parties and stripped for Playboy. Before losing her job at a Tarzana, CA, hospital, Conger made it known that 'she wouldn't mind hosting a health-oriented television-show... If offered Kathy Lee Gifford's job she would certainly consider it...' Now she's forever captured a legacy that'll stick; high-glossed-'o'-shaped lips, her giant-nose airbrushed, and her fatless bod stretching wide for mankind and critics alike.

To hear Darva's 'Dear Abby' rationalization, you'd think she was biting the bullet. On "NBC's Dateline" (broadcast in conjunction with her Playboy cover, which hit magazine stands in July of 2000) she thought she was taking control of the situation by saying,

"Since when did 'opportunist' become a bad word?"

According to any dictionary, it always was a bad word:

op -por -tun -ists) noun unprincipled resourceful person: somebody who takes advantage of something, especially somebody who does so in a devious, unscrupulous, or unprincipled way.

This is why people were prosecuted after WWII for profiteering, why Publisher's Clearinghouse was taken to court for shaking down old folks, and why Michael Milken was federally incarcerated. I guess Darva's talking about those 'good opportunists', like: Princess Di, who exposed the centipedes under the Royal Family's rock, so her bulimic, shop-a-holic, philandering, Hollywood, ways would seem like the actions of a crucified angel.

Maybe Darva is thinking of John Wayne Bobbitt (who was left with a funky looking penis after surgery broke what his abused wife 'corrected'); who had no choice but to launch a career in stand-up comedy and porn. Perhaps the newly nude nurse is confusing herself with Linda Tripp, a miserable older woman who knew how to manipulate a twenty-something girl from a dysfunctional family and and the worldliness of a 14-year old.

So Darva plays her sob-story to the electronic hilt, I had no choice, I lost my job, there was a mortgage and my mother to care for... I made a good business deal... I'm okay with artful nudity; my dad was an artist... I had total control... I will always be okay with this decision... My old life was gone anyway and I had to take the situation and make the best of it.

Many women in such a critical position have used said type of 'opportunity' to: write books, pose on magazine covers fully clothed, sell their movie rights to the highest bidder and biggest star, open a business, move out of the limelight and start over with a different name in a field where their word is as good as their work. Darva Conger is working backwards. Posing for Playboy is the domain of anonymous babes who want to translate their fuzzy love-box images into co-starring roles on "Baywatch: Hawaii". Last time we all checked Darva Conger was never a famous actress in need of a career boost either.

Darva's nearest contemporary is Jessica Hahn, a slob from the Tri-State area who preached God and blew her corrupt megalomaniac Minister. She cried abuse then found that the only way she could pick-up the pieces was by doing a Playboy expose (not to mention screwing Sam Kineson, then appearing virtually nude in a mail order only Howard Stern video).

Conger and Hahn can't say that they represent what women should be when pushed-up against the wall. Water-coolers everywhere are clearly Anti-Darva territory because most average women who had behaved manipulatively, done the easiest thing, or made excuses, have paid dearly for their mistakes. Embittered women all over the world can't stop saying, "You had the power of a celebrity, why use your ass?"

It doesn't seem much of a leap to watch Darva , Hahn, or even a Kato Kaelin rip at any available teat, not having faith or ability to latch on again via true accomplishments. No one's disappointed or disgusted when Divine Brown exploited getting busted while blowing a movie star; she's got nothing to look forward to except HIV-tests, porno flicks, and more street-walking. Even on a basic scandal-scale, Conger 'gave it-up' for something that won't stick around with her when she finds herself old, alone, and with her conscience: the public.

Rick Rockwell didn't have that option, he's milking his fifteen metric minutes for every road gig he can get. The average American buying a ticket to his "Divorce Tour" can't tell the difference between his improved recollections of what he calls "The First Big Event of The New Millenium"; and the more calculated and passable jokes that written by journeyman joke-writers. It's possible he could get a Movie Of the Week made, starring himself for road-kill' value. But no one would pay him to write his book, a screenplay, or pose nude. That's not to say he wouldn't wax every curly twine on his back if Playgirl asked.

There's no way ABC/Disney Mega Corp is going to sit her pastel-ass in a chair next to Regis Philbin for the morning crowd. Conger blew-it. A respectable medical cabler couldn't command informational authority with a Playboy Centerfold hosting any program. E! Entertainment would hire her (they are the folks who pay professional party-dude A.J. Benza to act like a grizzled correspondent and produce "Search Party", a soft-core beach party game show). She could get her story made into a MOV and she could still write her book. But she can't leap-frog much higher unless she wants to compete with Tawny Kittaen or Shannon Tweed.

The ex-Mrs. Rockwell should know better of the trappings of whoredom. Her own mom, Susan Harrison, co-starred in the 1957 potboiler, "The Sweet Smell of Success". Almost the final word on Darva's very situation, the film features a disgusted J.J. Hunsecker (played by a snarling Burt Lancaster) spitting at slimy Sidney Falco (to a desperate Tony Curtis), "You're dead, son, get yourself buried."


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