I have already established in an earlier post that I am a devoted fan and follower of TIME columnist Joel Stein. Given that, imagine my delight when Joel recently offered the exciting opportunity to be his intern for a day! I mean, naturally, my interest was piqued. Of course, there was a catch. This opportunity was being offered through Charitybuzz, an auction site that offers experiences people can bid on, with the proceeds going to worthy causes. In this case, the charity was Miss a Meal, a Houston-based nonprofit that meets the needs of the hungry. Basically, I was looking at a chance to pay to work; this was taking volunteering to a whole new level.
Here is the description of the prize:
“A one-day internship with TIME journalist and humor columnist Joel Stein. Spend this Sunday, June 9, 2013, working for Joel! He will buy you a mid-priced lunch and eat it with you. (He will also buy his own lunch; you won’t have to share yours.) You can work from his house in Los Angeles with him or work via Skype from your own home. There are decent odds he will yell at you and even greater odds that you’ll witness his 4-year-old son or wife yell at him.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-ish until maybe 3 p.m. or so. You’ll work on this week’s TIME column which will be about YOU (featuring YOUR NAME) and this internship, as well as the auction Beyoncé and Tina Knowles are hosting to benefit Miss A Meal.”
This would be huge for me. I’ve already met Joel Stein, but this would be a chance to meet him again. Sober. I live in Florida and Joel lives in Los Angeles, and as you can see he’s made provisions for that in the fine print of the auction: winners who aren’t able to fulfill their “internship” can commute via Skype, but fuck that noise. If I were to win, I would absolutely cash in all of my husband’s frequent flyer miles and show up on the Steins’ doorstep. (At that point, luck is on my side because I doubted a restraining order could be processed within just a week.)
The other awesome thing about all of this? Did you read the part about the winner getting their name in TIME magazine? That kicks ass. This is where I let my inner dork flag fly high. I’ve been reading TIME since I was in high school. (That is, when I wasn’t already occupied with reading the dictionary or traveling with the debate team. I wish I were kidding.) Until I can convince Joel that tweeting my blog to his legion of followers is a smart career move (it probably isn’t), getting my name in his column is the next best way to get a wider audience to discover the delicious snark that is Tina Steele. Right?
The bidding started at $500. I certainly don’t have money to throw around on things like this. Let’s be honest here. I don’t have a job that pays me, so I don’t imagine my husband would look too kindly on my taking the next step and paying other people to let me work. I figured I would watch the auction for a little bit and see how things went. On the one hand, I couldn’t stand the thought of my favorite journalist being undervalued; on the other…I was kind of hoping his offering would languish until the zero hour so I could snatch it up at a bargain. Then I could tell my better half it was an investment in our future or some such nonsense. I would cross that bridge when I came to it.
Explanations to my husband and the availability of last-minute travel soon became a moot point as the bids to Joel’s internship started trickling in. The winner was somebody using the handle “Loaded Questions” who repeatedly outbid every other person who attempted a bid. Interesting. I have the game Loaded Questions. Was the owner of a board game company really trying to win this auction?
Fast forward to this week when my TIME magazine came in the mail, and I immediately flipped to the second to the last page to check Joel’s column. There it was: Interning with the Stars. I did a quick scan before actually reading it. I wanted to confirm my suspicion: Did the Loaded Questions guy really get to advertise his company in the column? Yes, he did. Something else immediately jumped out at me though: my name! It’s hard to miss your own name and “Tina” caught my eye pretty quickly. WTF? It only took a second to realize what I was reading. Of course. The article is about Beyoncé and her mother’s name is Tina, and she is referred to as Miss Tina in the column. So, the joke’s on you Loaded Questions* guy! I got my name in the magazine for free.
What surprised me most when I read this article is that Joel actually made his temporary intern do real work. He made phone calls, answered emails, and interviewed Miss Tina. When I was contemplating bidding on the auction, I really didn’t take that part of the deal seriously. I thought if I won, Joel and I would sit around, braid each other’s hair and maybe argue about who is funnier. “You are!” “No, you are!” All things considered, I still have all of my money, I didn’t have to do any work, and I got half of my name in TIME magazine.
I can live with that.
*Despite the fact that I kind of slammed the Loaded Questions guy, let me digress just a little bit to tell you that Loaded Questions is in fact, an awesome fucking game. (And clearly Eric Poses is a genius because not only did he win that auction and get his game advertised in a national magazine for a mere $2,550, he’s gotten me to mention his game a half dozen times here as well.) Anytime I get a group of friends together, this game comes out. Usually, people start out answering fairly honestly, but things eventually regress into inside jokes, sexual innuendos, and outright debauchery. My husband’s friend, Corey Bishop, holds our all-time record for the most memorable answer ever. The question was: “What is the furthest place you can think of?” His answer? “The tip of my cock.” That, my friends, is Loaded Questions.