Oprah Wrote, Then Lost, Her Michelle Obama ‘Time 100’ Essay on Her BlackBerry

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

In Oprah Winfrey's lovingly written tribute to Michelle Obama in "The Time 100," Time magazine's issue about the world's most influential people, she talks about going to the Obamas' house for dinner after the 2004 DNC speech and expecting takeout, but getting home-cooked linguine with shrimp and vegetables. It's a sweet anecdote about people taking the time to do things right, the old-fashioned way — which is not quite the way Oprah herself prepared her Time essay. See, the talk-show host doesn't have time for computers. Woman is busy. And if she's going to bang out a 200-word tribute to the second-most-powerful woman in the free world, she's got to use a mobile device. "I was doing it on a BlackBerry," Oprah confessed. "No!" we gasped. "Yes!" she howled. She went on, a small group of eavesdroppers gathering 'round at Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear how this nail-biter would unfold.

"I'd been saving little notes on my BlackBerry. You know, I'd think of something and I'd put it on BlackBerry in the memo section," she explained. "And then I went to hit the wrong button and the whole thing deleted! I went to hit 'Save' and instead I hit ... 'Oh my God! Oh my God! It's gone!' That ever happened to you? And then you can't remember — not one sentence you wrote." Did Oprah panic? No. Did Oprah call in some underpaid freelance joke writers? No. Did Oprah have the Obamas declare a state of national emergency because, you know, she's Oprah and she can? No. But she did have to start over. "I couldn't even think for two days," she said, sighing, weary at the memory. "I couldn't even, like, think of a sentence. I stared at the BlackBerry, then I hit every button trying to make it come back. I hit 'Options.' I did everything!" Luckily, Oprah has a fine, fine man by her side. "Stedman was like, 'Well, the reason that happened is obviously you're going to write something better.'" Oprah was not convinced. "And I go, 'I don't know the reason why that happened. I can't think of a word I said.'" Fortunately for us, Oprah does not give up. Read the fruits of her hard-fought struggle with a rebellious BlackBerry over at Time.


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