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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Farewell, Anna Nicole


Friday, March 2, 2007 was a joyful day for everyone in Broward County, Florida. The DJ on the oldies station that wakes us up every morning at 5:30 announced that a hearse was en route to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office to pick up the body of Anna Nicole Smith to fly it back to the Bahamas. This is good news, because I live 3 miles from the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office, and for some time now, an unpleasant aroma has been wafting from that direction.

Naturally, my first reaction was to spring out of bed and tune in to one of three local news stations, all of which have become 24 Hour Anna Nicole Channels (“All Anna, All The Time! Your One Source For Anna Updates! The Anna Channa!”) Sure enough, there was an aerial shot of a hearse backed up to the loading dock.

We have gotten used to the hovering helicopters that hang out over our home. When Anna died at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Slogan: “Relax in your tastefully appointed room while the methadone kicks in,”) there was a helicopter flapping away noisily overhead for three hours. The camera was focused on Memorial Hospital, six blocks from our house, where she had been pronounced dead. We had to shut all our windows and doors just so the wind from the chopper blades wouldn’t blow litter inside. Why the helicopter stayed aloft for three hours is something I’ll never figure out. Maybe they were waiting for hospital officials to announce, “She Is Risen.”

Watching the pre-dawn news that morning, I was overjoyed to hear that I-95 southbound toward Miami, the road I take to work, would be closed. After all, you can’t be too careful. There were rumors that the Miami-Dade County medical examiner, in a jealous rage at the thunder-stealing Broward ME, was going to hijack the remains and park it in his freezer for three weeks in order to lure helicopters into hovering over his office.

What everyone wants to know, and when I say everyone, I mean me, is what in the hell did that body look like after being on ice for so long? It wasn’t until late in the game that she was embalmed, since sufficient DNA had to be removed to compensate any new flocks of gentleman callers claiming to be Danielynn’s dad. You know the embalmers did everything they could to make her look good, but after weeks in the freezer, how attractive could she look? How did they prevent freezer burn and discoloration? Wrap her in Seal-A-Meal? It’s a snap—with Anna Wrap! And it took a few hours to get her down to Miami-Dade and to load her onto the plane for the funeral that morning. Don’t tell me her coffin wasn’t packed with those blue plastic freezer blocks to keep her fresh. I guess none of this matters, since you know the one thing, rather two things, that anyone ever looked at still look good: her boobs, which are made out of, I don’t know—Formica? Each time they’ll exhume her to move her somewhere else, her breasts will still come out looking factory-fresh.

Let me interject here that I was a bit disappointed in the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel. You may recall that the place that provided Anna’s death room was also the kickoff showcase for the Blessed Virgin Mary on a Ten-Year-Old Grilled Cheese Sandwich International Tour in November of 2004. It was foolish of her post-mortem posse: Howard K. Stern, Virgie Arthur, and the semi-orgasmic cast of Entertainment Tonight, not to encourage Hard Rock to present The Corpse of Anna Nicole on Ice Capades. The proceeds from that show would have made Danielynn’s dowry look like parking meter change.

Ever since Anna died and her remains stayed in the county, the All-Anna Channas here have broken in to television shows with special reports. I remember as a kid always freezing in my tracks whenever there was a special report interruption, because I always thought another Kennedy had been shot. Now, thanks to Anna, my TV special report stress level has decreased, since interruptions are usually just updates on her.

“This just in: Virgie Arthur demands more airtime and fried pork rinds. Stay here for the latest at five. We now return you to Judge Judy, already in progress.”

“Dateline, Seattle. Bill Gates has just announced that he is the real father of Danielynn, the infant daughter of Anna Nicole Smith. At a press conference just minutes ago, Gates said, ‘I’m an unattractive billionaire. Her husband was an unattractive billionaire. The babe definitely had a type.’ We will update you with more on Nitwitness News at five. Now back to Dr. Phil.”

“The Broward Medical Examiner’s office is now reporting that the body of Anna Nicole Smith smells worse than it did yesterday. See it in hi-def at eleven right here. We now return you to a replay of last night’s American Idol.”

This morning there were reports of crowds on the interstate overpasses, ala The Great OJ Motorcade, waving good-bye to the, the—what?—reality TV show star is what most people call her. Former Playboy Playmate, if you prefer. I’m more fond of ironic title of “Personality,” since she displayed so very little of it. My second choice: Media Hawg.

I was still in my underwear, and there wasn’t time to get to an overpass. But as the pre-dawn darkness blossomed into daylight, I poked my head outside my front door, looked east and watched the three Anna Channa helicopters flying southward, and I waved good-bye to the fallen goddess who has occupied so much of my time since her passing. Good-bye, Anna Nicole. Ta-ta, noisy helicopters. Fare-thee-well, Howard K. Stern. Hasta maƱana, Zsa-Zsa Gabor’s husband. Cheers, Virgie Arthur. Toodle-loo, court-appointed advocate for Danielynn, Richard Milstein.

What’s that you say, Virgie Arthur? You’re now going to fight the Bahamian government to bring Anna back to Texas? You mean it’s not over yet? God bless you, girl.

Now as the warm westerly winds blow the stench and the news copters eastward, I realize that it’s time to book that cruise to Nassau for a trip to the cemetery. I’m just not ready to let go.

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