Being on Larry King can be an addiction

MIKE ROYKO

October 05, 1992|By MIKE ROYKO

This is a new experience for me, doctor. Should I sit in the chair or lie down on the couch?"

"Whatever makes you feel comfortable."

"I'll take the couch."

"Fine. Now, what seems to be the problem?"

"Where shall I begin?"

"Wherever you wish."

"Well, I have this thing. I don't know what you call it. A compulsion? An addiction? A disorder?"

"Don't worry about labels. Just tell me about it in your own words."

"OK. I have this overwhelming urge to be on the Larry King show. I can't control it."

"Hmmmm. When did it begin?"

"Oh, it was earlier this year. I was sitting in my office in Texas counting some money and checking into a rumor that one of my employees cheated on his wife. I do things like that. Usually makes me feel good, but I felt bored, restless."

"Hmmmm, restless."

"Yeah, so I turned on my TV and there was Larry King interviewing somebody. And I watched it awhile and I thought, 'Doggone, that looks like fun.'"

"Hmmmm, fun."

"Yeah. So I had a flunky make a few phone calls. I do that, you know. And just like that, zoom, I was on the Larry King show live."

"Hmmmm, live. As in alive?"

"Yeah, alive."

"You felt alive?"

"Yeah, I really felt alive."

"Hmmmm, go on."

"See, he asks nice questions. He doesn't ask dirty questions. And even if they're not nice, he asks them in a nice way so they seem nice, you know what I mean?"

"Hmmmm, nice."

"Yeah, and the people call in. Ordinary folks. And they ask nice questions. I mean, most of them do. And they say nice things. And it made me feel great."

"Hmmmm, great?"

"Yeah, great."

"Hmmmm. Great as in greatness?"

"Yeah, I suppose so."

"Hmmmm."

"So one thing led to another, and the next thing you know, I was sort of saying that I'd run for president of the United States."

"Hmmmm, run."

"Yeah, if the people wanted me to."

"Hmmmm, run, want."

"Yeah. So the next thing you know, I'm running for president of the United States. And I'm going on all these other TV shows. But they're not as nice as Larry King's show. They don't always ask nice questions. And they don't all let people call in and say nice things. And there are reporters who don't even have TV shows and the questions they ask aren't nice."

"Hmmmm, not nice."

"Yeah. So after a while, I got tired of it. It was taking up so much of my time, I couldn't count my money or check to see if my employees were faithful to their wives. So I went back on the Larry King show."

"Hmmmm, back."

"Yeah. I had this overwhelming urge to go there again. And I sort of said I wasn't going to run for president of the United States after all. I was sort of withdrawing."

"Hmmmm, withdrawing. As in withdrawal?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Hmmmm, withdrawal."

"Does that mean something?"

"Hmmmm, go on."

"OK. So I went back to Texas and counted my money, and there was still lots of it, and I checked on employees who might be unfaithful to their wives, and none of them were, and if they were, I didn't care anymore. So I'd turn on my TV and watch the Larry King show."

"Hmmmm, turn on."

"Yeah. And there were all these other people on his show. Movie stars and book writers and fashion models and politicians. Even Zsa Zsa Gabor, and she never even said she'd run for president. And he asked them nice questions and they all looked like they felt good and I wanted to feel good too."

"Hmmmm, feel good."

"Yeah, so I couldn't help myself. I tried, I resisted. But the craving got too big. So I did it again."

"Hmmmm, did again."

"Yeah. I went back on the Larry King show. And I said I might and I might not. And I would or I wouldn't. And it depended on this or on that. One way or the other. Or the other way or one way."

"Hmmmm, one way, other way."

"Yeah, about running for president. You know, of the United States."

"Hmmmm, president."

"Yeah. But I don't know if I want to run for president. It's such a hassle. And you can't imagine how much it costs. And the questions you have to answer aren't nice. And you can't even fire people who are unfaithful to their wives. And a lot of people work for you, but they don't do what they're told. So I just don't know what to do."

"Hmmmm, don't know."

"Yeah, that's my problem. See, the only way I can go on his show is if I talk about running for president or not running for president. But I don't know if I want to be president. Or if I do, but I'm not sure if I will tomorrow. But I do know that I have this craving to go on the Larry King show. And the only way I can get on that show is if I talk about running for president. So what can I do?"

"Hmmmm, do."

"Yeah, do what?"

"You must go on the show. And if you go, the people will watch."

"Back to Larry King?"

"No. 'Saturday Night Live.' "

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