I eventually realized that I was not going to be tall enough, or slender enough - or pretty enough - to get within 50 feet of a beauty pageant. So my aspirational fantasy evolved: I wanted to win an Academy Award.
I held on to that dream well into adulthood. The problem is, you have to actually accomplish something awesome in movie production to even be nominated, and while I spent a lot of years thinking and outlining and starting screenplays, I never actually finished writing one.
So I downsized my goal to see how many Awards shows I could attend.
This was easier than it sounds. In the 1980s, I had the kind of jobs that gave me entree to the Grammys and People's Choice Awards as a journalist... and attended the Emmys three times as a guest of some nominees (an experience I've written about before).
But I never did make it to the event I think of as the Mother of All Awards Shows: The Oscars.
If the Superbowl is the ultimate viewing and bonding experience for the American male, the Academy Awards plays that part for the American female. And in Los Angeles, Oscar night is something of a municipal holiday. Even out here in the deepest, darkest region of the San Fernando Valley, everyone knows at least one person who's a nominee. When the ceremony was held on Mondays, people left work early so they could watch - and the evening traffic on Oscar night was terrible.
I'm sure that's not the reason why the Academy switched the event to Sundays... but it's certainly made it easier to throw Oscar viewing parties.
As it is, the Academy Awards is one of the few big televised events that West Coasters get to see in real time (unlike the Emmys - and the Vancouver Olympics - which were tape-delayed even though they originated in our time zone. DON'T GET ME STARTED...)
Okay, so you all know how I feel about this. Now you'll know why I didn't hesitate when a representative from Kodak (one of the program's big sponsors) asked me if I was interested in watching the red carpet arrivals from the bleachers.
I figure that unless my daughter realizes her dream of becoming a film director (which simultaneously warms and strikes fear into my heart), this is about as close as I'll ever get to the gold statuette.
And besides - it will be FUN.
So next Sunday, I'll be live tweeting (#KodakRedCarpet) and taking photos from (near) the Red Carpet as the megastars arrive, and I won't be alone: some of my favorite people in the blogosphere will be there, too. I've compiled a Twitter list of the people I know of who will be with me on the bleachers - follow us all here.