Of course you can trust what celebrities say
There it was, as plain as the nose on my face - a personal email from Hollywood starlet Jessica Alba, asking little old me if I wanted to join her in losing weight this year.
Obviously, I would have loved to, Jessica, I replied post haste, if I'd been given a little more notice.
However, I'd already committed myself to another Hollywood pal who'd asked the same question two weeks ago and there was little point being on two diets.
I signed off with three Xs, as I knew Jessica's disappointment would be ragged and intense. I'm told by my 15-year-old daughter that three kisses denote sincere apologies. Woe betide if I went for one less or one more, but that's another story.
If truth be known, I've been pretty sought after by the glitterati so far this year. First, A-grade actress Jennifer Aniston asked me if I was happy with the size of my partner's "meat and two vege" and whether I wanted to "take matters into my own hands to enhance the enjoyment", to quote her email message.
I'm still not 100 per cent sure what she was getting at, but I replied that even though I didn't boast a Brad Pitt at home, neither it seemed did she any more, and I was happy with my lot - relatively, at this juncture.
Then Salma Hayek poked her nose in where it wasn't wanted. How was I going on my New Year's resolutions? the Mexican actress asked in an email, and did I need help in overcoming my shyness and/or inability to climb the ladder at work?
You can call me lots of things, but shy isn't one of them.
And, as I said to her in a long email reply, I was very happy where I was with my career, although obviously I would liked to have earned annually something approaching her weekly acting fee.
The next email was from someone called Rachael Ray, who I didn't recognise at first. I had to google her and now know she's a syndicated television star in the United States, with her own lifestyle magazine and founder of the Yum- O organisation.
She sounded like someone I would probably get on with like a house on fire, with a friendship fanned by her ownership of a little villa in Tuscany and her penchant for creamy desserts. Imagine popping in during the European summer for a couple of days, I thought, to enjoy the sunshine and creme brulee. What fun!
However, I was bemused to note that she wanted to know all about my commitment to organic food.
"Would you like me to help you become 'green-oriented?'," she asked. Frankly, I'm a little over all that stuff, so I politely said no.
Then on Saturday came a real doozy. "Kathryn," said an email originating from Indonesia, "how would you like to make $1 million this year just by sitting on your fanny?" Sounded good, I thought, and clicked in.
There she was, Madonna herself. "I'll tell you just how I did it," she promised.
My hand hovered over the keyboard and, if diligent watchdog Quiet Middle Child hadn't been leaning impatiently over my shoulder at the time, I would have done it. I would have looked.
"You are so gullible, Mum!" he exclaimed. "Never ever EVER open these emails. They are bad news, and will make the computer sick. Repeat after me: 'I don't want my computer to get a virus, so I won't ever EVER open emails from Hollywood stars'."
I had to repeat it twice before he was happy it had sunk into my psyche. Isn't it funny that we seem to react to endorsements from celebrities so quickly and passionately?
I mean, would Jennifer Aniston really know anything about penile dysfunction (which is what I presume her email was dealing with)? Does Salma Hayek really have a problem with opening her mouth in public? Would Jessica Alba honestly look better having lost a kilogram or two?
Of course not, but we all assume they have the same problems as us. Teen heart-throb Justin Bieber has no more had a pimple problem as the Pope has had a second date with Barbra Streisand.
Yet looking at his earnest zit- free face endorsing the use of acne skin regime on morning television, you'd think his nickname at school would have been pizza face.
"That's exactly what I want," my 15-year-old daughter, previously known as Little Weenie, said at the weekend after seeing the ad. "Justin says it works."
When I pointed out she didn't have a blemish on her entire face, she looked at me vacantly.
"Didn't you hear Justin, Mum. He says to use it BEFORE they arrive. And he would know."
Now would he? Does Brad Pitt really understand the nuances of top-shelf perfume? Is Jane Fonda really a user of Revlon face cream? Can Harvey Keitel really tell the difference between Steinlager Pure and any number of other beers?
Of course, there are Hollywood celebrities you can totally trust. My pal Ellen DeGeneres is a case in point. Just a few weeks ago, the talk show star emailed me to say she'd be thrilled if I'd join her in a new revolutionary diet that not only promised amazing weight loss, but an increase in vivaciousness, sexiness and irresistibility.
Sounded pretty good, I thought, until Quiet Middle Child pointed out her name was spelt wrong and the picture looked more like the lady behind the counter at our local Four Square store than my favourite Hollywood comedian.
Oh well, perhaps there's time to change my mind and take Jessica Alba up on her offer. Now, was that two Xs or four?
Taranaki Daily News