Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

Bad Move: Calling Nancy O’Dell a “C-Word”

Favorite Posts, General StuffTeresa Strasser144 Comments


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Almost every idiotic thing I do can be traced back to one basic flaw: trying too hard. This explains how I ended up calling Nancy O’Dell a “stupid c-word.”

That’s right. I called America’s sweetheart a “c-word” on the Adam Carolla Podcast and I may have done it more than once, although it’s all a bit of a blur now, except on iTunes, where it screeches out at you with perfect clarity. I guess I got caught up in the moment, trying to be funny, trying to fit in with the guys, trying to be so bracingly honest that pregnant women everywhere would embrace me as their new truth-teller and anti-O’Dell.

I was doing Adam’s hugely successful daily podcast when I decided to discuss Nancy’s pregnancy book, “Full of Life.” Let’s face it, after three years of not cursing on FM radio I might have been a little “fuck,” and “asshole” happy, but there was no need to go “c-word” on Nancy and I was way, way out of line, trying to make a point and of course, as is always the case when I am trying too hard, saying something lame.

After recording the podcast, I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night, wracked with guilt. Nancy will probably never even hear the podcast and wouldn’t care if she did, because she has a life, but it doesn’t matter, because I know I said it and it came out all wrong, as only the “c-word” can. 

Nancy, if you happen to read this, I am so sorry.

I know you can’t relate, because according to your book your worst pregnancy symptom was frightfully lustrous hair, but I’m kind of unhinged right now.

And reading about your pregnancy skin (“I swear it actually glowed. It was luminous and smooth”) while I sat in a bathtub nauseated, eating a bowl of cereal to stave off throwing up, and covered with horrible cystic acne, made me lose my shit with jealousy.

“I’d read that an increase in hormones could sometimes cause the opposite reaction, aggravating skin and causing breakouts. Phew, I had dodged a bullet there!” writes Nancy. And guess what? That bullet you dodged hit me right in the face, and anywhere else one might find a sebaceous gland.

What’s more, the experience of pregnancy and childbirth was so richly rewarding that your husband diagnosed you with your one serious baby-related disorder: “postpartum elation.” You couldn’t stop crying because having a daughter made you think of your own beloved mother and the goddamn circle of goddamn life. Meanwhile, my mom got a job driving a public school bus through the smog-choked San Fernando Valley to avoid taking care of me when I was a baby. She hates babies and will leave a restaurant crossing her arms in a huff if one even makes a peep. I haven’t talked to her since I found out I was pregnant. And in some ways, I want my mommy, but in every fundamental way that you had and are a mother, I got nothing.

Whereas Nancy, you are perfect. You have everything. You scrapbook.

Both you and your newborn little girl are gorgeous. So you might not understand saying something you regret.

Let me just say that at the time it was really hot in Adam Carolla’s podcast studio in a garage in Glendale, and my bottled water was just out of reach and I was too self-conscious to break the mood and reach for it and one piece of my bangs kept getting in my eye and I couldn’t focus because Adam was making fun of Jenny McCarthy for her idiotic, high-maintenance hair-do while I agreed but couldn’t stop tucking my stupid hair back. I knew my tone was wrong, that while I was trying to make myself the butt of the joke, it misfired. When I tried to correct it, I went to that file in my brain labeled “how to fix it when you say something crappy about someone and you are really just trying to point out how bitter and jealous you are,” but the file was empty. Instead, there was just a post-it reading “peanut butter sounds nummy.”

Your little lime green and lavender dissertation on maternal euphoria shouldn’t try my patience with advice on how to laminate ultrasound photos and tips like “Pants with an elastic waistband are great for the first trimester.”

You are happy and productive and not broken. You had a kid and wrote a book, two things I have yet to do. You don’t second-guess every single thing you do, where as I am already second-guessing writing this sentence about second-guessing. So next time I call you a “c-word,” even if it’s completely in jest, it should be “content,” the best and most enviable c-word of all.