Don't get me wrong, Budd Rugg is eternally grateful to my friends at City Pages for this wonderful opportunity, but we're still getting to know each other and there are going to be some little bumps and some misunderstandings along the road. In so many ways, of course, this opportunity to share my love with the readers of City Pages is an answer to my prayers, and the people here have been nothing if not remarkably generous. It's nice to be wanted, of course, but I'll admit to feeling a little bit overwhelmed by all the attention. And I'm sorry, but the people here at City Pages are going to have to get used to the fact that Budd Rugg has almost zero interest in athletes or political figures. If I want to be date-raped or beaten up or lied to, I'll take out a personal ad, thank you very much. Two weeks on the job and I'm afraid that I've already had to be a bit of a brat. I desperately don't want to be a prima donna, but I know that I have to put my foot down now before things get out of hand. I cannot, and will not, go out on the "campaign trail" with someone named Tim Penny. That's like asking Ernest Borgnine to perform Lasik surgery.
And I refuse to dash right out to track down some football player just because he has run over a woman with his car. I am interested in this Randy Moss character if --and only if--Esme Murphy is shoving a microphone in his face. I am insanely interested in seeing Esme Murphy shove a microphone in anyone's face. This is an important distinction, and my employers need to understand this if we are to have a workable relationship.
I never tire of Esme Murphy, even though I must admit she is the easiest of all the local media stars to track down. It's like driving around looking for cars and seeing a Honda. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been tooling around town and have encountered her standing on a corner somewhere in a raincoat, looking forlorn but dogged as she waits to report live from the scene of a crime that occurred hours or sometimes days earlier. She's a tragic and irresistibly romantic figure, and I just want to wrestle her! (I'll never forget the time I approached old uncle Dave Moore at the State Fair and asked for a hug. "Not now!" he barked. I was trembling for hours it was so delicious!) I still wish like the dickens I could convince Esme to play the role of the Mistress at the Gates of Death in my proposed Halloween charity event, Budd Rugg's Haunted Hot Tub, but I can't get her to return my calls.
Rest assured that Budd Rugg is not one of those people whose sad lack of self-awareness allows them to sausage themselves into a Speedo even though the resulting spectacle approaches almost any reasonable definition of obscenity. I won't even wear a tank top anymore. It hurts, but nobody wants to see Budd Rugg's flabby man-breasts. I don't have the money or patience for litigation, but if I did, rest assured that I'd sue Mike Lynch, Dark Star, and even the hunky Paul Allen for hoodwinking Budd Rugg into passionately believing in a product so patently ineffectual as Body Solutions. Every one of those radio personalities who hawked Body Solutions should be forced to perform the grotesque public service and penance of walking shirtless up and down Nicollet Mall for a week.
That said, Budd Rugg is always looking for ways to celebrate, collaborate with his heroes, and help those less fortunate. Festivity with a big heart is what I'm all about, and if I thought my idea of a Halloween fundraiser for unhappy children would really fly, I'd throw my modesty to the wind and take the plunge in a heartbeat. I'd even wear a Speedo with "Hot Stuff" emblazoned across the crotch. Here's what I was thinking: I would enlist the help of any number of local media personalities, and we would all take turns sitting in a hot tub in, say, the Rosedale mall. Each of us would wear costumes appropriate to the season and the event's theme (Budd Rugg will be the man in the terrifying handmade papier-mâché Candy Crowley mask), and parents could bring their youngsters by to receive candy and bob for apples and marshmallow pumpkin Peeps--in the hot tub! For a reasonable donation, interested parties could spend a designated amount of time basking in the bubbler with such local luminaries as Doug Westerman, Barbara Carlson, Rusty Gatenby, Lou Gelfand, Julie Borgen, Nelson Garcia, and Rick Shefchik. And those are just some of the possibilities. I've already left messages for dozens of folks in newsrooms all over the Twin Cities, but every day finds me waiting by a phone that never seems to ring. Have a heart, people! Budd Rugg is all about helping people and having fun!
Heaven knows, crippling codependence can take a terrible toll. It's so difficult to keep Budd Rugg's 10-ton iron dream zeppelin aloft in the face of such stern indifference and the occasional blast of sobering reality. You invest so much hope and desire in these fantasies and then you see C.J. in a tennis outfit, or Tom Barnard anywhere on earth, and your whole world just collapses around you. The horror! I'll admit that it's easier sometimes to just imagine. For years I've kept scrapbooks on just about every media figure who's ever made an appearance in these towns, and as I so often have no face to go with the bylines and anonymous pilots of the airwaves, I'll clip photographs of beautiful people from advertisements and paste them in my scrapbooks. I've never actually seen the man, but Budd Rugg's private Dominic Papatola looks positively fetching in a pair of Jockey briefs.