My mother, god bless her, always taught me to do nice things for others whenever I can- that’s why I give homeless people “Kind” bars and donate to “Donation Boxes” at various places. Unfortunately, some ideas, like giving Grandma’s computer a “Makeover,” sound better in theory than in actuality. However, last Friday (Friday the 13th, no less!) I did something beautiful for another autism mom that she will never, ever forget.
There’s this website called “Cameo” where, if you pay enough money, you can get video messages from celebrities, or for slightly less money, talk with them directly. Sounds good, right? Well, as it turns out, you have to pay lots of money for these messages, and frankly, said “celebrities” tend to be has-beens or B-listers. So, if you want a message from, say, Liam Neeson, you’re shit out of luck. Seriously, Lindsay Lohan is probably the most famous person on that website, and you have to pay $54.00 just to talk with her. (Considering how washed-up she is, it’s amazing it’s that expensive.)
Earlier this year, I’ve gotten busted with my parents for buying messages through Cameo- particularly the memorial message from Morgan Fairchild in honor of Simon MacCorkindale for his widow, Susan George. My mom, being an economist and all, was NOT happy I decided to use $90 to buy a message, and made me write her a letter about “flushing money down the toilet,” so to speak. I’m honestly surprised that my punishment was this light.
My mom thinks that these purchases are too frivolous. “They’re just messages from celebrities; they’re not anything worthwhile,” she says. I don’t listen to her, though. I’m really adament on connecting with these celebrities, after all.
Looking back on my life, I understand more deeply my fixation with trying to impress movie stars. Growing up during the dawn of the millennium, I had difficulty connecting with the real world, so I often immensed myself in fictional worlds from computer games, books, movies, or cartoons. I loved them so much, I wanted to be, just like Ariel “part of your world.” I didn’t realize it however, until I was about 10 years old. I was in the bathroom after a particularly nasty fight in school, and so upset about my life that I thought about Phil Vischer, the guy from “VeggieTales” my favorite show at the time, adopting me into his family. Seriously. I didn’t tell anyone, so my mom didn’t lecture me about how impractical it was. I also didn’t talk about this dream in school, because you’re not supposed to promote religion there.
Now, I don’t watch the Real Housewives, because I don’t care for reality TV. I do, however, deeply appreciate Jacqueline Laurita for being a fantastic autism advocate for her son. And I’ve seen her Twitter page that she likes some videos my friend Olivia made with her musical therapist, Jammin Jenn. Olivia is severely disabled and struggles deeply, but music is a fantastic outlet for her. So, I decided that my mom’s friend would like a birthday message from her.
My first plan was to start reap money from some other autism moms I knew, so I tried finding their contact info online. Believe me, it sounded like a good idea at the time. Since I wanted my mom to be part of the fun, I asked her if it was okay.
“Jenny, I don’t think that would be practical,” she said. “They’re special needs moms; they have more important things to worry about.”
Okay, fine, Mom.
To be fair, I had screwed up before when trying to do something nice for another autism family. A couple of years ago, after seeing a girl I knew “like” a poster advertising a dance at my college, I figured she would be interested in going. Unfortunately, not only did I fail to realize it was only for high school seniors, but- get this-I used Mom’s Facebook to contact her mom. Long story short, the mom was extremely weirded out by this, and my parents were not happy when they found out. Seriously, Dad even thought I was delibrately screwing up.
However, all things considered, there’s always a Plan B When it comes to these things. So, I got onto Jacqueline Laurita’s website and decided to email her:
My name is Jennifer Rose, and I have a very special request for you. You see, my mom’s friend Kim Gordon, is turning 56 next month- you might remember her charming daughter Olivia from this “Jammin Jenn” video: https://twitter.com/JacLaurita/status/451018152584183808. Anyways, both her and her mom have been struggling quite a bit due to the COVID lockdown, and would really appreciate a birthday message from you. Would you be willing to do this? As much as we’d love to do something on Cameo, it’s just not practical right now- I hope you understand.
Later that week, I realized that this was basically a one-in-a-million chance for me, so I decided to call her musical therapist, Jammin Jenn, concerning the video. She was so eager about the idea, she decided to reach out to Ms. Laurita. Not that that would’ve been necessary, because later that day, I had finally discovered the email response from Jackie in my email, “golden arrow” (which means “Important.”) She said that yes, she would be happy to do the birthday message for her. I was over the moon.
That evening, my mom was calling her on the phone, telling her about the wonderful thing I did for her. I honestly thought I was in trouble for a minute- after all, how else would I have been able to contact a Real Housewife? However, while Mom was kind of shocked about what happened, she wasn’tt upset with me. Not one bit. In fact, she was actually quite impressed about what happened- I was, after all, able to get what I wanted without wasting a single cent, let alone asking anyone else for it.
Recently, Mom went to an event with some other autism moms from my area, and Miss Gordon couldn’t help but brag about my story. And of course, all these moms were equally impressed at what I did, and yes, they were happy that I didn’t ask money from them.
In life, you can’t always expect to get everything you want, but if you’re creative enough, you can definitely find ways to do so- never doubt the power of Plan B. And if anything, what I did was probably even more impressive that buying a video on Cameo. Anyone (given they have enough money and don’t have their parents monitoring them) can “buy” a message from someone on that website, but it takes a really special, creative person to reaching out to her directly. Small wonder my mom’s friend appreciated what I did for her.
Happy birthday, Kim. Glad you appreciate your video.