A Schmuck with a Bag of Chips

VCR TapesWith a demo tape tucked under one arm, I walked across the campus of the city college where the PBS station was located. The Food Network hadn’t returned my calls so I figured our local PBS station would be my best shot. I’d heard about shows earning all kinds of money from grants and underwriters and figured I could be part of that gravy train.

The station manager’s secretary greeted me with all the warmth of someone who’d learned to tolerate every wanna-be public television producer in the region. “He’s in a meeting.” she said. “You are welcome to wait for him.” She pointed to a row of plastic molded chairs.

I opted to wait outside and found a seat in the fresh air. After poking my head back inside a few dozen times, the receptionist finally nodded toward the office door. “Go ahead.”

Behind the desk sat a distinguised looking man engulfed in a green-bar computer report. “Mr. Lewis?” I asked, knocking on the door jamb. “We spoke briefly yesterday?”

He looked at me as if I were the Fed Ex guy.

“I’m Jeff Baker. I produce and host Man in the Kitchen

The perplexed look remained frozen on his face. I wanted to offer my hand to greet him, but my arms were full. “I prepared salsa in this demo tape, so I thought I’d bring you the real thing…and these tortilla chips.” I spotted a small table near his desk. “May I set these here?” He reluctantly nodded. The bag of tortillas crinkled loudly in the silence of the room.

He stood up and shook my hand. “Wil Lewis.” he said with a strained grin. I handed him the tape which he studied from the hands of his outstretched arms. “Man in the Kitchen?”

“Yes – a cooking show for guys – simple recipes – I get them out of the garage and into the kitchen. . .”

“Got it.” he interjected. “You know, most viewers of cooking shows are women.”

“Yes. We get a lot of e-mails from women. They claim our show has encouraged their husbands and boyfriends to cook.”

“Hmmmm.” His tone was not encouraging. He seemed more interested in getting back to his report than discussing my show.

The entire ordeal suddenly became too awkward for me. “I’ll let you get back to your day. Nice meeting you Mr. Lewis.” I waved and walked back toward the door.

“I’ll give your tape to my program director.” He said, sitting back down. “He’ll contact you if he’s interested.”

I couldn’t get away from that building quick enough. As I walked back through the campus I could practically hear my tape being dropped onto a giant pile of other lost dreams. I put on my sunglasses to hide the tears forming in my eyes.

NEXT: Three Years Later

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