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Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue is always awaited with bated breath. It's a kick to find out which deserving person the Time editors would ignore and which they would select to capture the most sales.
Still, it's never been personal. Until this year.
Imagine finding out that Time decided that every single person who ever took a breath in the world this year should be memorialized. Everyone. Everyone but you. Gotta hurt, huh?
But in 2006, you were not forgotten. Only one person was. With apologies to Al Franken. Me.
Anyone who was anyone and everyone who wasn't: Time's Person of the Year.
George Bush. Check. Nancy Pelosi. Check. Donald Rumsfeld. Check. Mel Gibson. Check.
John Mark Carr. Check. Michael Richards. Check. Kim Jong Il. Check. Larry the Cable Guy. Check.
Dick Cheney. Check.
The guy Cheney shot. Check.
Every single member of the Duke lacrosse team, including the manager, who wasn't even at the party. Check.
Osama bin Laden, who hasn't even made as much as a threatening tape in months. Check.
O.J. Simpson, if he did it, even though he did, along with his unemployed editor. Check.
Bill O'Reilly, like he needed any help with promoting himself. Check.
Carrot Top, who's not even a good punchline for an industry joke anymore. Check.
Barack. Now in first name needed only class. Check.
Tom Delay who didn't have to redistrict Time's voting to get himself in. Check.
Ken Lay, and he didn't even have to live out the year to make it. Check.
My old friend Mel Kardos who really hasn't done much since sinking that basket to put us within 10 points of Carl Sandburg Junior High thirty years ago. Check.
Even Britney Spears made it. She alone might be palatable, but did they have to include Kevin Federline? Talk about turning the knife.
And, oh yeah. Whomever it is who decides that Federline's name or picture belongs in any entertainment rag. Check.
Yep. Everyone. 'Cept me.
Well Mr. Time Editor, you may have thought you were smart, now able to sell the issue to everyone. But there is one person who won't be buying your marketing gambit or magazine..
You might have thought that your deliberate sales effort as an ingenious, as well as insidious, move to put me over the edge. But in a somewhat neurotic twist of fame, you have singled out my import by withholding me from your near total roster.
First of all, you know some crack research group - conceivably the Iraq Study Group members, who I might remind you, were all chosen for the issue - would dig to find which person was not selected. One single person. Me.
What you missed was that "celebrity" is not only in the naming, but in the instance where everyone is named, in the unnaming. If I might borrow from Groucho, who wants to be a member of a group that would have me?
Of course, it would be lonely. But, then again, the top is lonely, especially when you're the only one. Of course, this year, you're not the only one. I am.
Take that Time. This year, the year that you thought you would push my fragile psyche over the edge, you only pointed out how much I stand out.
And you thought you were so smart. Well, you might be, but in 2006, not as smart as...
Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press) and "15 Minutes" (HarperCollins) and can be read every Sunday in the http://www2.dailynews.com/steveyoung">L.A. Daily News Opinon page.