Bugs apparently are not confined to the Outback menu.
"Where do you live?" bugs a frosty-headed lady sweatsuit standing in my way, preempting my almost-celebrity interview.
"Crittenden, Kentucky," gentlemans Regular Guy Rodger Bingham, the elder statesman of "Survivor: The Australian Outback." "Only about 2,000 people there."
Too bad there are only about 20 here. Imagine for a moment the toilet bowl that I'm swimming in. The big poops who market Metamucil have invaded the lower court of Orlando Fashion Square, and Regular Guy Rodger, to whom I'm trying to speak, is the bait used to lure out that strange legion of seniors known as "mall walkers."
Like these people.
"That's like anti-oxidants," continues the sweatsuit, after Rodger's rehearsed pitch on behalf of powders that pull stools. "When he [her husband, who is standing right next to her] didn't take them, he'd get up out of his chair like this ... ", at which point the husband simulates a stiff-legged wobble on cue. "And he's only 44 years old."
"That's no fun," diplomats a bored Bingham.
"It was like the Tim Conway walk," she Carol Burnetts, adding a touch of television-fed science talk.
Anyway, they're calling this event the "Fiber Fit Challenge" and, naturally, I'm scouring the floors for bedpans and waiting for the whistle to blow on the race. I've had three cups of coffee, a gallon of orange juice and 16 bran muffins. I think I'm gonna win. I've just purchased Volume 16 in my "Bowels of Steel" collection and know exactly the leg-up technique that I'm going to employ.
So does Channel 6's Candace Coleman. The blond newscaster is taking her sweet time holding me off while she corners the Regular Guy with lean-in TV flirtation and a playful rasp in her voice. Wonder what she ate.
OK. Ready? Go!
"Rodger Bingham, nice to meet you," says mister regular.
"Why are you here?" I constipate.
"Well, to tell you the truth," he lies, "when I usually thought of Metamucil, I usually thought of something that a doctor would prescribe."
Somebody doesn't watch enough daytime television.
"Reading up on it, I found that the amount of fiber that a person consumes on an average basis is about half what they should. So, these Metamucil wafers that they've got are good, and I've been asked to come down here and talk about some of that."
Dammit! I should have tried the wafers. I bet Candace did.
Sooooo, what did you eat when you were roughing it in Australia ... like, for a million dollars?
"We definitely were not getting enough fiber in Australia," he laxatives. "The normal meal consisted of two thirds of a cup of rice all day. We'd eat two meals a day: a third of a cup in the morning, a third of a cup later in the day. And we would catch a few fish. So our fiber intake was virtually nonexistent."
"There's fiber in bugs, right?" I burp.
"Well, now, we did have the challenge where we had the wheel there, and some of them had to eat bugs," he spins (while I burp again). "I lucked out and got to eat a little piece of candy bar. So, I was lucky on that one."
Noting that the promo paraphanelia has officially deemed Rodger as America's "regular guy," and realizing how dubious an honor it must be to have your colon exploited in kooky Flintstones fonts, I opt for the obvious question.
"Define a 'regular guy,"' I hiccup.
"A regular guy, hmmm," he clenches. "I'm really no different than any of these people that have come down here today. I'm just an average guy -- a regular guy."
Answer the question. How regular are you?
"I live on a farm, live a very simple life. Very happy with my life, to tell you the truth," he evades. "I was just picked to be on a very unusual show."
About this time, Candace cleverly walks by and kicks over my orange juice without so much as an apology. She's winning. Soiled again!
"Who peed on the floor?" interrupts a big-bellied old-man fan with a cookie-baking wife in tow.
"It was an orange-juice spill," I simper.
"What?" he deafs.
"It was me! I peed on the floor!" I fess up. (Which is better than throwing up.)
"Where in the hell is Crittenden?" rattles the pee-shy Bubba, again interrupting me with a direct line to Rodger.
And could it be worse than this hell? I mumble to my spilt juice.
"Twenty-eight miles from Cincinnatti, right off the Interstate 75," prides Bingham, before switching his attention to the accompanying blue-rinse grandma with a "How are you doin' ma'am?"
"She's from Central City, Kentucky," chimes the speaker of his house.
"Y'all were probably rooting for me then!" Rodger roto-roots.
"We wanted you to win!" she starry eyes, before getting down to the business of digestion. "You fattened up a little!" she pudges with a home-cooking smile of no malicious intent. I love grandmas.
Realizing that my interview is over out of deference to regular people who actually care about regular people, I sneak off, full-bellying to the bathroom.
I'll never be a regular person.