The Prettiest Woman on Earth

When I was a kid I believed Vanna White was the Prettiest Woman on Earth. I didn’t believe it because I looked at her with a critical eye and drew my own conclusions. I was in basic agreement that she was a pretty lady, but I was mostly unmoved. She was no Daphne from Scooby Doo. And I had better things to worry about, like the tilt of my bicycle’s handlebars. How did Chad stand to have his so far forward? I didn’t know anything about ergonomics then, but I knew that setup, cool as it looked, wasn’t going to do me any favors.

I believed Vanna White was the Prettiest Woman on Earth like it was a job title, similar to Poet Laureate, in which she would be expected to show up and perform her gifts on special, or trying occasions in the country’s history. “We are going to war with Greece, and Billy Collins has prepared something. Someone call Vanna and see if she can come out and turn the pages for him.” I was a kid, and I didn’t understand how objectifying that picture was. Now I understand that professionally beautiful people do more than just stand there. They are also great for raising awareness of causes on which homelier folks are struggling to keep people focused.

I must have heard an adult say it at some point, that Vanna White was the Prettiest Woman on Earth, and just accepted it. Most adults I knew seemed to grasp the complicated things of life firmly and easily, like how the government, or the church worked, and that just about everyone was doing both of those things terribly wrong. If they were right about that stuff, surely I could trust them to keep me up to date on the planet’s currently Prettiest Woman. Why would I question it?

Besides, I had to figure out if I wanted to look like a jerk on my bike, or be cool and uncomfortable. I opted to look like a jerk, but I still ended up uncomfortable, generally speaking.