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Still exaggerating after all these years

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Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This event happened in the 1890’s when Twain was travelling abroad. Some folks noticed his absence and leaped to the conclusion that he was dead (seriously?). Well, actress Tanya Roberts is one person who can feel Twain’s pain. Or, more accurately, could have felt it.

A few days ago, I was very sad to read an announcement that Tanya Roberts had died. I remember her from 1980s television, when she was brought on as a new addition to the stable of Angels on the TV series “Charlie’s Angels.” Each of the Angels was tougher, more clever, more agile and prettier than the next. Roberts fit right in with Charlie’s other wonder women. Her death was sad, but I would remember her fondly. The next day, though,

there was a follow-up story that Tanya Roberts’ death announcement was a little premature. Her husband apparently mistook her act of suddenly falling asleep as being a final death gasp. Distraught, he left the room abruptly. But as he was grieving, Roberts was breathing. Would you expect anything less from an Angel? Tanya was continuing to cling to life. Unfortunately, in what can only be considered a hasty move, the hubby started to spread the news of his wife’s death and make plans for final arrangements. He was probably wondering if he could get Kate Jackson to actually attend the funeral.

Tanya’s doctors, upon learning that the hubby was preparing to spread the “Angel dust,” quickly reached out to him to say “Hey, dude, your wife is, you know, still here. Ixnay with the ed-day.” To which the hubby likely responded something like “Oops, my bad. This sort of thing happens all the time, right?”

So, on to the next day, when the “real” announcement of Tanya Roberts’ death was released. Although it was still sad, this time I was much more prepared to hear it. However, I think her “second” death was a lucky break for her husband. Can you imagine if Tanya had survived and made a complete recovery? The conversations that would have begun with “You did what?!?” She probably would not have been swayed by his “oops, my bad” defense. No, the man really dodged a bullet.

Tanya Roberts was not the first of the Charlie’s Angels gaggle to die. Farrah Fawcett died in 2009. And, like Tanya Roberts, Farrah was also robbed of her moment in the sun when she died. The announcement of her death came along somewhere around noon and it created somewhat of a buzz, as you might expect.

But literally minutes after the news that Farrah had passed away, another news story was unfolding – that pop singer Michael Jackson had been taken by ambulance to a local hospital in LA in serious condition. Was Michael Jackson okay? Was the “King of Pop” dead? Surely not. Every TV station, pop radio station and internet news agency was atwitter, carrying live coverage across the country.

Then, finally, came the word: yes, Michael Jackson had died – on the same day as Farrah. And the news of the King’s death overwhelmed that of the Angel’s death. It really is good to be the King.

Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.