by Chuck Farnsworth, Host of the syndicated radio program,Totally Real Exposé

Last week, I had a chance to sit down with a big-time internet celebrity. Her name is Melissa Sander, and she was once an up-and-coming fluff-piece reporter for a local TV station called MyFox Atlanta. Then ‘it’ happened, and she was christened the ‘Grape Lady‘.

Alas, history does not record whether the impending disaster was signaled by an ill omen or augury. What we do know is that she was on a job that seemed like any other. Semblances, it would seem, were in this case misleading.

On that fateful day, she was on location at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort to report on a grape-stomping competition. A simple interview on live TV with one of the competition’s vacuous representatives was all that was called for.

However, in one of those off-hand decisions that can redirect the course of history, the producers of the show thought it would be a good idea for her to stand on a platform and conduct the interview while competing with her interviewee in a grape stomping match. The result was a performance that no one, least of all Ms. Sander, would ever forget.

The incident in question serves as a startling reminder that hubris, no matter how mind-buggeringly boring its context, is an open invitation to God for a bitch slap.

And to think, had the hapless Ms. Sander accepted defeat graciously, she would probably still be toiling happily in relative TV obscurity. Instead, her indomitable spirit compelled her to cheat at grape stomping. This decision unleashed a harrying series of events that would ultimately lead her to my studio for an interview.

And so two weeks ago she sat before me as compellingly risible as could be. Here is what she had to say…

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (Live Radio Broadcast, April 14th, 2008)

Chuck Farnsworth (CF): Hello, Ms Sanders! How’s the colonel?

Melissa Sander (MS): It’s Sander.

CF: *laughter* my mistake. Ms Sander then.

MS: Please, call me Melissa.

CF: Can I call you Grape Lady?

MS: I’d rather you call me Melissa.

CF: How about *dramatic pause* cheater?

MS: I think it is pretty clear in the video that I was being playful when I supposedly cheated. I mean, I even mugged to the camera while I was doing it. Also, it wasn’t even a real competition!

CF: To paraphrase my colleague John Stossel, “give me a moment of respite!” If what you say is true, then why did your competitor feel compelled to start stomping as well? Why did YOU stomp so vigorously?

MS: Are you for real?

CF: The TOTALLY REAL Exposé team is very real, I’m afraid. We’re just trying to make sense of what happened here.

Unfortunately, I keep getting sidetracked by various paradoxes and other circuitous lines of reasoning. For instance, I came to consider whether you would have turned out to be such a goddamn cheater had you taken highschool gym class and acquired a sense of fairplay. But then I realized that taking gym would have made you less of a spazz, and you therefore would not have fallen in the first place. Frankly, shit like that boggles my mind. Thoughts?

MS: Pardon me, but I did take gym in highschool and I did fine. I had a lot to think about that day on the platform. I was on live TV conducting an interview. To keep things entertaining, I tried improvising a little and lost my balance.

Am I embarrassed that I fell? Of course. I also broke a couple ribs, thanks for asking. I had to spend a few weeks in the hospital under observation. I suffered quite a bit for an honest mistake, a momentary lapse in concentration, and now I’m trying to move on.

CF: Are you implying that you didn’t deserve what happened to you? Your attitude really surprises me, but I guess it shouldn’t. You didn’t exactly take God’s punishment very well at the time. *hilarious imitation of MS’s cries of pain; uh, uh, uh, etc…*

I mean, even your colleagues in the studio had to suppress their laughter. They must have really hated you.

MS: I thought I was going to die! I was in so much pain…of course I yelled and made noises. Those comments I read on the internet make me sick. Some people are just inhuman. Anybody would have reacted the same way I did! Even you.

CF: Yeah, I don’t think so. For one thing, I’m not a retard.

Do you have any idea just how stupid you sounded? It was like a Mongoloid dog with a surgically implanted voice-box would sound if it were taught to speak by Helen Keller and Sue Thomas F.B. Eye over speaker phone…only half as cool as that and about twice as funny.

Of course, even a Mongoloid dog would know that if you can talk, you can breathe. You were talking when you said “I can’t breathe”, weren’t you? That makes you a liar as well as a cheat. How do you respond to that?

MS: I’m a real person with real feelings, Mr. Farnsworth. It felt like I couldn’t breathe, ok.

CF: Fine, fine. You just have one of those faces, you know? If it makes you feel any better, watching you fall off that platform was very satisfying. Kind of like watching a bratty kid get hit in the head with a basketball; You sort of look like an annoying bitch is what I am saying.

MS: Why are you attacking me this way? I only did this interview as a personal favor to your producer!

CF: Ok, I hear what you’re saying.

I’d like to change gears for a moment, if I could, and talk a bit about your life post-faceplant. I noticed that you changed jobs several times following the incident.

MS: Yeah, I have jumped around a bit, working for a number of different TV stations. This thing has made it hard for me to stay in one place. Sooner or later it poisons how the public in a given market perceives me and I have to move on. I have learned to live with it.

CF: Frankly, I’m surprised any station would hire you. I mean, you look like such a toolbox in that video. Do you put it on your resume? If I was the local grocer, I wouldn’t let you sweep my floor or anywhere near the ‘on sale’ inserts, and they’re putting you on TV!

On a related note, our research shows that your employment record runs cold after 2006. What have you been doing with yourself?

MS: I’ve taken a break from the workforce to spend time with my kids. They need me right now, so I am grateful to have the opportunity to do that. I’ve never been more content and my husband has been very supportive.

CF: Any chance I could get an interview with him? The fact that he can see past your goofy screams is very impressive. I mean, if you make those sounds when you are in intense pain, what do you sound like when he’s pounding you? You know, “sanding down” the “Sander sandwich”? There isn’t enough Viagra in the world to overcome that boner-neutralizing love song.

MS: Uh…

CF: Then again, you look like the type who would probably just lie there motionless anyway. Am I right?

I’m right.

Look, I’m just saying. It’s that, or you would stop moving momentarily only to start humping again real fast before losing your balance and falling off the bed.

MS: How does that even make sense?

CF: How did falling off the platform make sense?

Anyway, I can appreciate that topping your performance in the Grape Lady video would be pretty difficult, but it isn’t impossible. No reason to give up. Let’s brainstorm, shall we?

Humm. I think you’d have to murder somebody to top this. Not just anybody either, because otherwise the media would be all “Grape Lady accused of Murder, LOL”.

If you want to avoid that, you have to do something so great or so terrible that it makes people forget about the internet thing or a least makes mentioning it seem trivial or in bad taste. Killing somebody very important might do the trick, or curing a disease or something.

That or you could slaughter a lot of nobodies, like a serial killer would. It wouldn’t have to be all at once.

Which reminds me, do you have a manager?

MS: *Stunned Silence*

CF: I only ask because I saw this music video online, and I think that your voice has a special quality that would play well in the clubs…where are you going?


She never did answer that question. I had to go to commercial when she got up and left.

Well, there you have it. The Grape Lady, depressed at having peaked in her mid-thirties, is desperately trying to top herself to this day. We at the Totally Real Exposé can’t help but wish her well as she trudges on, befuddling passersby along the way with her severe vertigo, lumpy frame, and guttural yelps.