by Norma Bates
My April bookings were already hectic and I was on the road before Dump (my affectionate nick for the Trumpster since we dated briefly yet remain close chums in frequent contact because of certain videos in my lock-box) invited me out of the blue to Planet Hollywood in Vegas and the Miss USA Pageant as audience “color.” For $100K.
Yes he’s old enough to be my father. Why do you ask?
Little did I know Dump’s Miss USA Pageant would reward my LifeQuest for answers to 10,000 years of Human Civilization! Yes. My LifeQuest.
In retrospect, it had to be Intelligent Design.
I stepped out of the limo into my greatest spiritual adventure EVER! The sign alone shouted tonight would pretty much open the portals on the Meaning of it All for me and shizz.
“The whole planet! Worshipping Hollywood! In Las Vegas! At a nationalistic beauty pageant! Owned by Dump!” Heaven, Razorbabies.
From that second, every star-worshipping rhinestone and sequin fell into place and made perfect spiritual sense just like Swami Paramahansa Yogananda said it would.
And this is without drugs, Razorbabies, except for a smidgen of Vicodin for cramps (not pooh-poohing). The girls here know.
A spiritual high here at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Ancient Matriarchal Worshipping Mammary Rites of Spring re-enacted in this glittering pleasure palace in a miraculously water-fed USA desert kinda still run by Republicans who pretty much ignore the last eight Bush years and Vegas’ tanking occupancy and construction rates and act like Moe Dalitz and the Mob are still in charge. (Well, they are. But they’re all legal corporations now and “hits” are so fifties.)
I’m all, “This is like freaky! It’s CHURCH!” Every historical religious-philosophical meme is finally squeezed into Miss California's bikini in Vegas! Yes, this is she. All siliconed Christian and you can't get married but I can and shizz.
Vegas is the most religious city, honestly, in the world, Razorbabies. Everybody worships what they REALLY believe in.
24 / 7 prayer (“Please, God, let me win!”), money, sex, glitz, absolution from non-abstinence (“What Happens in Vegas STAYS in Vegas!”), recreational substances, sports and wagering – everything worth kissing a ring for.
Religion as Eternal Kitsch.
(What’s REALLY funny, Razorbabies, is Vegas has more churches per corner than anyplace in Arkansas; a FAR better educational system; more secure law enforcement; and no state taxes. God has smiled on “The Meadows.”)
Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart said, “Miss America is the girl next door. But Miss USA is the girl you wish lived next door.”
So right, Crystle. A little trashy (wouldn’t play in Chenal -- in fact the name "Crystle" is a little too Waffle House for Chenal, just so you know) – but you're so right overall. A tad T&A compared to Miss America. I couldn’t BE more excited to be here for Planet Hollywood "color" for $100K thanks to my Dump.
Miss Carolina, Kristen Dalton, wins Miss USA 2009 and she’s fabulous. 22 years old and an aspiring motivational speaker. Don’t think about that last sentence.
Think, instead, about you’ve never HEARD of Kristen Dalton even though she won because the runner-up, Miss California, Cash 'n' Carrie Prejean sucked all the oxygen and publicity from the moment ever since. And I LOVE her for it!
Say hello, and goodbye, to Miss USA 2009, Kristen Dalton. She’s reached the heights at 22 and it’s all downhill from here. Even now, two seconds later, you can't tell me her name without looking back. Life can be cruel.
Unless Lifetime decides to remake "Sheena - Queen of the Jungle." Like I say. Miss USA? A little trashy. Second tier. But who am I . . . ?
Where is Kristen GOING with the crown? A lifetime of rubber-chicken PETA banquets speaking on "Why I Prefer Prints to Pelts When Jungling?" This tramp in a tree? Spare us.
That train of thought is depressing so let's back up.
In a match that could ONLY have come from intelligent Design, Cash ‘n’ Carrie Prejean (Miss California) draws her question from the Queen of All Media, Perez Hilton.
She laughs, hearing Perez's name -- instantly dismissing him with a snort yet betraying her utter terror at what's to come from his question! (Oh, watch it on YouTube, Razorbabies!)
Perez's pageant-preapproved question? Equality for GLBT Americans. Why or why not?
I’m squirming in Planet Hollywood because it’s such a Transactional Analysis PARENT-ADULT-CHILD moment. Plus these Jimmy Choos are killing me.
Perez Hilton’s dispassionate question about THE issue of the day (Economy? War? Please.) was from his ADULT. You could hear a pin drop.
Cash ‘n’ Carrie answers from her CHILD. A child proud of her new knockers. “I think I believe in opposite marriage because that’s the way I was brought up. No offense to anybody.” (Oh, Google it.)
Pitiful. There’s no ADULT there.
The applause and boos start. The boos are louder than the applause (anybody there will tell you) -- but cleverly edited out of TV news reports so as not to offend, uh, the religious right.
Here is why all the boos. Here is what we're all thinking in our seats. Here's what TV doesn't want YOU to think about.
Cash ‘n’ Carrie might as well have answered, “I think I believe marriage is between same-race opposite-sex Christians because that’s how I was brought up. No offense.”
Let her “answer” ferment whilst considering ensuing revelations.
I text the limo to pick me up. I can't take any more.
Dump has funneled my $100K personal appearance fee through a line of credit at Luxor (don’t ask) so I flee there into the night.
That’s how I find myself inside a gigundous casino-hotel replica of an ancient Egyptian pyramid, on the Strip, fronted by an ersatz Sphinx outside, meeting friends from L.A. in the high-rollers slots pit and declaiming my spiritual epiphany at the Miss USA Pageant 10,500 years after the fact.
"God! So many slaves! So many centuries! And THIS is the answer?"
“Oh, Norma, you’ve always been a little bent about this stuff,” whispers one of my dearest and oldest friends who’s been between pictures for about four years now but stands completely with me in favor of gay marriage. Between us we’ve married three.
I wing home to Little Rock next day, enlightened, ecstatic and grateful.
Race into my Chenal closet, shut the door behind me, speak with God across the aeons . . . about religions and wars and bigotry and gays and beauty pageants and human equality . . . and my Vegas miracle.
“I just want to say, God, thank you for bringing me so far on my journey in my 29 years. And for keeping me real.”
There in the dark I hear the still small voice. “What have you learned, my child?”
“Well,” I begin, “I think that -- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.
“But anyway, I’m home. Home! And this is my closet and I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you and - oh, God - there's no place like home!”