LETTER TO OPRAH

By Catie Lazarus

Published February 24, 2006, issue of May 19, 2006.
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SELMA KATZ

c/o Larry and Sheryl Katz

17-82.5 Parsons Boulevard

Flushing, NY 11432

Oprah Winfrey

Harpo Productions

One South Wacker Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Facsimile 312.987.5637

Dear Opie,

As I meditate on my screensaver, which is, of course, you, I want to thank you for being my only friend, if not best friend. Honestly, my fictionesque story, “Liar,” will put you back on the map as America’s Leading Lady of Literature.

It must be mind boggling to pick “America’s choice” among Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” Paula Abdul’s “The Unauthorized Biography of Paula Abdul” and Dick Cheney’s “Shooting the Hand That Feeds You.” That’s what interns are for! James Frey’s “Million Little Feces” and JT LeRoy’s gender bender were just lemons. Who could have known that people writing about being self-absorbed and irresponsible could be self-absorbed and irresponsible? It seemed safe to pick a Nobel Peace Prize winner, until Mel Gibson and the Shah of Iran questioned “El Weasel” and his shtick about a one-night stand at summer camp.

My uplifting but harrowing, down-to-earth but spiritual tale reveals how the Kennedy clan shunned me when I bravely came forward as Rosemary Kennedy’s unknown Jewish daughter. Ms. Kennedy had had an affair with a psychiatric resident. Despite my memories of fastening Mama’s helmet and Grandpa giving me horn muffs one Christmas, my Kennedy cousins shunned me. (Their publicist did not return my IMs.) It was as if my story needed alcohol poisoning, date rape or a lacrosse puck thrown in. It was not enough to be Rosemary’s Baby.

Four years after 9/11, I came clean. It took being stuck in airport security for three hours (I didn’t even have a plane to catch) and waiting for my feet to be fondled for explosive activity. As I witnessed three-piece suits, moms skinnier than I was at age 8 and airport employees speed through the velvet rope fast lane, a quiet rage crept over me. Sure, I became moody once a month when I received my phone bill with “other charges,” but never had I wanted to force-feed a chatty 16-year-old her cell phone.

Without the financial backing of my Kennedy family, I was stuck in coach. Knowing I was all alone, and with courage also seen in Richard Wright and Maya Angelou, I bailed. In the cab back to the home of my adoptive parents, Larry and Sheryl Katz, I smiled as the driver blasted 1010 WINS loud enough for all of Burma to tune in.

Also, I included a scientific lie detector quiz. (Most people are underpaid and overworked pushing paper around, but not me! Okay, I am a liar. Another person’s might scan: I had no idea people in business lie! Liar! Media Moguls are people, too! Liar! Consumers need more talk radio channels! Liar!)

You always pick the scribe most deserving of a trust fund. While Jonathan Franzen may not have factored the cost of raising offspring into his business model, I have. As Dr. Phil instructs, I pray you will do what is just.

Selma Katz

Selma@ugogirl.com






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