I’ve introduced a new segment on my CNN show called The Grill. It gives me licence to haul guests over the coals like a slab of T-bone steak on the barbecue.
Tonight, Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial former US Defence Secretary, took me to task over it. ‘Why do you call this The Grill?’
‘Because I like to grill people. We were going to be nice to you but I said, “No, let’s stick him on The Grill.”’
Rumsfeld pursed his lips. ‘That’s a little arrogant, isn’t it?’
I paused for full dramatic effect. ‘I don’t think I’ll take lectures on arrogance from you, Donald Rumsfeld!’ He slumped back in his chair, grilled into submission. counter to pay, the checkout lady stopped, looked me in the eye, and asked: ‘Are you over 55?’
I froze in horror. ‘Sorry? 55 what?’ I spat back indignantly, knowing full well the answer. ‘Years old,’ she confirmed, loudly. I don’t think I’ve ever been so offended in my entire 48-YEAR-OLD life. ‘No! I am most certainly not! I can’t even believe you’ve asked that question! And more to the point, WHY did you ask that question?’
‘ I only asked you the question,’ she replied, calmly, ‘because if you WERE over 55, you’d qualify for our special offer today of 10 per cent off all items.’
The customers behind me burst out laughing. ‘And now that you’ve informed me that you’re not, you get no discount.’
My outrage at even the suspicion I might be in the same age decade as Simon Cowell far outweighed any financial incentive.
I instantly asked myself: ‘ What would Simon do?’ in this situation — and booked an immediate facial.