Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Cameo Gift

The scene: I have just finished my workout at the gym and have taken a fake-shower. (In which I do not wash my hair and instead use lots of body spray on top of my head.) I am in front of the mirror with my makeup bag on the counter and my lotion poised above my hand, ready to moisturize. A woman in her mid-thirties enters the locker room. She looks at me. I say hi. She says:

"Oh, to be nineteen again."

What? What does this even mean? Does she think I am a teenager or is she commiserating on the skin-drying disadvantages of age? At the end of this month I will be exactly ten years older than 19. I am definitely closer in age to her than to a recent high school grad. Because I can't tell what she means, I decide to say something entirely stupid.

"Ah, tell me about it!"

What is wrong with me? I certainly do not mind looking younger than I am, but apparently the thought of being 19 again compels me to act like an old person. Or what I imagine an old person would say to something equally inane.

Another old-person tendency I have adopted lately is calling the Olympic games "Olympics." I know, you are thinking, "that's what they are." But think about it: when you talk about watching them, you say, "THE Olympics." Yet for the past two weeks, I have been inexplicably and consistently saying things like:

"I was watching Olympics last night."

Like an old person. It could be worse. I could impersonate Morgan Freeman and say:

"I was watching THE O-lympic Winter Games last night."

(Although if I could talk like Morgan Freeman, that would make all my stupid responses sound way cooler.) I love Morgan Freeman's voice and I am so happy that he was chosen as the disembodied spirit of Visa Vancouver Olympics. (Seriously - they can't at least fly him to Canada? I would have loved to see his reaction to the McTwisty Death-on-a-Board trick. Plus then we would have seen at least one person of color in the audience.) Mr. Freeman's voice is extremely distinctive and I'm sure 90 percent of Americans knew it was him the first time they saw the very first Olympics-related Visa plug. But he is hardly the first celebrity voice-over in commercial-land. I happen to be extremely good at picking out voices. Anyway, here are some of the voices I picked out while watching the final women's free skate last week:

Jon Hamm = Xfinity

Ed Helms =

Patrick Dempsey = Mazda AND State Farm Insurance

Thomas Hayden Church = DirecTV

Michael Douglas = The NBC Nightly News (ok, not a commercial, but weird that he's the voice-over, right?)

John Krasinski = Carnival Cruise lines

Kevin Spacey = Honda

(You may have noticed that all of these voices are male, which may be because I do not pay attention to women. Or because clearly people buy more things when they are told to by a trusted male voice. Or because I place a higher attractiveness value on men with cool voices. Don Draper? Meh. Don Draper's voice? Mmm.)

Also, I may be good with voices, but I am terrible with names. Before some intensive Wikipedia-ing, the first half of my list looked like this:

Don Draper

Guy from The Hangover


Thomas ?? (Sideways?)

Anyway, speaking of Kevin Spacey...(see, Honda, above)...he is great. This is an inside joke in my family. For a while, Kevin Spacey was in every movie that we liked, every funny cameo appearance, every profound commercial voice-over. So, when playing the "Who is that" game for voices or guest-starring roles, the unknown answer was always Kevin Spacey. The "he's great" part came about when someone mentioned him, and my dad and I said, "Oh, he's great" at the same time. Which then obviously had to be repeated every time his name was mentioned thereafter.

For no other reason than it was funny, or possibly my dad's birthday, I called him and left a message. At the end of which I said "Kevin Spacey...he's great." Not a traditional gift, but a little gift. A cameo gift. A voice-over gift.

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