What I know for sure

Lessons Oprah taught me and how she gave me the ultimate grad present.

by Adam Daniels

For those of us who just graduated, it was exceptionally tough to, like, decide on the perfect graduation gift.

Some get a fat check, some get breast implants. I thought a new MacBook Pro would help me commemorate my B.A. in journalism, but little did I know that Ms. Oprah Winfrey would swoop in and exceed my wildest dreams.

Two weeks ago I scored tickets to the May 17 taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show. To say I was thrilled would be the biggest understatement since the captain of the Titanic said, âÄúIâÄôve been told thereâÄôs a little ice ahead of us.âÄù

Throughout her farewell season, I feverishly attempted to get my butt into an Oprah Show seat. I put my name in for the Octomom interview, submitted a video explaining what IâÄôve learned from watching the show and entered a contest to road trip from Detroit to Chicago âÄî all to no avail.

What ultimately landed me a seat is my willingness to uninhibitedly shout and dance in the presence of others. IâÄôm serious. This is part of the email I got:

âÄúWe are contacting you because you wrote into our website as being a fabulous, energetic Oprah Fan! As a part of The Farewell Season: OprahâÄôs Surprise Spectacular taping at the United Center, we could have interactive moments and need someone like you to be an enthusiastic leader and get those around you excited and ready to participate if necessary.âÄù

Harpo Productions reportedly received more than 154,000 ticket requests for the event. I imagine the team picked me because they thought people would be so inspired by my enthusiasm that theyâÄôd just follow my lead âĦ

If you happened to catch part two of Favorite Things this year, you will recall the gentleman who went into full-blown prayer mode and frenetically threw himself to-and-fro. I wasnâÄôt as bad as that, but I was definitely in the neighborhood.

What my best friend, Erika Berg, and I probably looked like was a combination of tweenage Justin Bieber fans and drug addicts jonesing for a fix. But come on, you canâÄôt blame us for going bonkers over Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and, yes, even Dakota Fanning, just to shamelessly namedrop a few.

Unfortunately, we didnâÄôt get a car or trip to Australia, however we did get to witness the most spectacular surprise party in the history of ever. And if you watched the episodes earlier this week, you know precisely what IâÄôm talking about.

To be perfectly honest, the experience was surreal from start to finish.

Like most upper-middle class suburban kids, I grew up watching the Oprah Show every day. As she ends the show today, itâÄôs truly the end of an era.

Look, the big OâÄôs influence on our lives is irrefutable. (I would be willing to cage fight anyone who thinks otherwise). From what books we read to what color Ugg boots we buy our mothers for Christmas, we all pretty much just do whatever Oprah tells us.

SheâÄôs been there to comfort victims of abuse and even had the bravery to explain what healthy stool looks like âÄî for the record, itâÄôs supposed to be in an âÄúsâÄù shape.

IâÄôm not sure what IâÄôm going to do now at four oâÄôclock, but what I know for sure is that nothing will fill the void. (IâÄôm thinking IâÄôll just start taking naps).

Having the opportunity to go to one of the last Oprah Show tapings ever is indescribable, but if I had to I guess, it would be like when Joey âÄúJawsâÄù Chestnut ate 68 hot dogs during the NathanâÄôs Hot Dog Eating Contest and broke the world record âĦ you know, it was the thrill of victory.

When the taping concluded, Oprah turned to the audience and said, âÄúIâÄôve never experienced anything like this. And I say once again thank you for taking me to a place thatâÄôs beyond joyous.

No. Thank you, Oprah Winfrey.