Well...not Oprah Winfrey herself, but a representative from her show did.
This past weekend was the first Saturday in a long, long time where I had nothing to do and spent the day vegging out on the sofa and watching college football. After a couple of games, I took the time to check my email via cell phone to see if I had any replies from the plethora of resumes I have been sending out.
I had the usually list of spam and forwards, but one caught my attention. It was from someone with an email from harpo.com. Curious to see what fun things this organization was going to try and get me to buy, I read through it. A woman stated that she works "...at the Oprah Show.. " and was "...trying to get a hold.." of me. As a result, she left her phone number and complete contact information with the Oprah program.
I laughed and rolled my eyes with the thought that, "I better get my ass in gear, Oprah...the Queen of all media...needs my services!" Despite my urge to hop in the nearest phone booth, throw on my cape and fly to Chicago, I put my phone away and continued my deep, trance-like gazing of the wonderful world of NCAA Football.
About 20 minutes later, after it crossed my mind about a hundred times, I opened up that email and read it again.
Sure, it definitely sounded like a scam, or spam, with Oprah needing my assistance one way or another (because that happens ALL the time). Though, at the bottom of the message was this long legal disclaimer that made it sound legit.
It was wordy and included this paragraph, "Unsolicited ideas and/or creative materials sent to Harpo will not be kept confidential and may be shared with and used by the staff of Harpo and any of its affiliated companies or entities, as well as with any third parties as Harpo may elect. Harpo is neither obligated to use your ideas and/or materials nor to pay you for them."
The banner on the email with "Oprah. The Farewell Season" slapped on it perked my curiosity even more.
Since I was home alone and wasn't doing anything constructive, I called the number and received a voicemail greeting that indicated I did reach the name of the woman who had sent me the email and that she was working for the Oprah Winfrey program.
I left a message, but I am now in further amazement that I believe I did just call one of Oprah's employees. Not expecting a return call, I go back to football on the boob tube.
Ten minutes later, my phone rings from the very same number I had called. Ready to poke holes into this scam, I smile broadly and answer.
"Hi, Craig? This is Colleen from the Oprah Winfrey show," as the sound of people congregating, phones ringing and such roll in the background.
"Um.....yeeesssss?", I reply with skepticism abound.
Colleen goes on to say, "I'm sorry to bother you, but we are in search of someone and we aren't sure if that person is you or not?"
"No shit" is what what I really wanted to say, but realizing I was actually talking with an Oprah Winfrey show employee I kept myself entertained. "Okay, I'll do my best to help. Who is it that you need?"
"We are looking for the Craig Simpson who took some photographs of Barbra Streisand? Wouldn't happen to be you, would it?", she says.
This is the work of the Craig Simpson I was mistaken for...
Silent for second, then holding back laughter I tell Colleen that as much I want to say "Yes, I AM!", I was going to have to tell her that she did not reach the correct Craig Simpson. Through my answer she could hear the smile on my face and vice versa.
We both had a good chuckle and I thanked her for making my Saturday football frenzy that much more interesting. She agreed that she, too, would find it odd to receive a call from the Oprah program out of the blue.
While I had her on the phone I took advantage of the situation.
"Colleen?", I asked with a curious laughter,"your program wouldn't be in need of an unemployed communications professional, would it?" I have barely ever watched the show and would not call myself a fan, but if they want to hire me, I'll be damned if I say no.
Colleen said with a big smile and enthusiasm that as far as she knows, they do not need anyone with my background. After thanking her for the fun phone call, she thank me for my time and moved on.
Just to be sure and to follow up for the hell of it, I sent her an email reply as well thanking for her time and hoping they find the Craig Simpson they are looking for as well as the indication that I am in search of employment at this time. That is in case they happen to come across a vacant spot or two in the near future.
I figured I wouldn't get the chance a second time, so I took advantage. Nothing may come of it, but it makes for an awesome story.
As for the other Craig Simpsons out there..if you took some photos of Barbra Streisand sometime in the recent, or not so recent, past, Oprah needs you to contact her show.
FYI, just to prove I'm not making things up...I kept the email I received. I'm not sure that is stone cold proof, but it is something.