Arnold

notorious GoDaddy spot of Super Bowl 2005.

The spot airs. (A second scheduled airing is cancelled!) It makes semi-history. GoDaddy’s business goes through the roof, and 60 Minutes does a piece on it. It gains a measured $11.6 million in nonpaid media coverage. Candice goes on The Howard Stern Show—and holds her own. And then Playboy calls the agency and says they’re interested in her. I make the introduction and forget about it.

A weeklong adventure in la-la land. Shoot all day. OK, watch a shoot all day—for the first time in years. Do The Ivy at night.

And then I coast-to-coast home and lose it. Literally, I have what the ER doctors at Westchester County Medical Center call transient global amnesia, and I’m in a complete fog for 24 hours. They say it can be brought on by exhaustion and stress, exacerbated by drinking, all-night partying—and frenzied sex.

Exactly. I’m thinking it’s no doubt the result of unrequited Candice fantasies and what I’ll call … blowing my brains out. At least that’s what I told the doctors, in my stupor, over and over, looking for laughs even in my suspended state of whatever. (Note to file: There are no residual effects from this transient shit; nothing at all that would affect an ad guy’s ability to perform brilliantly in any work environment—except maybe a glaring rash of honesty—which I recover from instantly.)

Dissolve to this past March. I’m passing through Grand Central for my nightly New York Post and commute home and, holy shit, there she is: Candice Michelle on the cover of Playboy, the April 2006 issue! And for the first time in my entire still emerging life—gathered first in rabid teen angst, stewed in hormonal young adulthood, whipped through frat boy wannabe studness, propelled through early semi-adman promiscuity, born along the horns of prematurity and finally settled into missed-opportunity adult resignation—I actually pay for a Playboy.

In support of our girl, you know.

I settle into a seat on the train, strap on my iPod and randomly, serendipitously, turn instantly to page 110. And, oh my. There she is, Miss Everything. Candice. Our GoDaddy Girl, in all her glory. And suddenly I’m Ping-Ponging 40 years, between youth and truth, between then and now, in total flashcut.

And you know what? It may be that I’ve finally had my peek behind the curtain and seen the real Wizard of Id. Whatever, I’ll take now. Here’s a semi-perfect example of one of those elusive fantasy babes, pancaked, blow-dried and wind-swept, cosmetically enhanced and de-pantsed. Leaving nothing to the imagination. And the fact is, for my money, I think she’s sexier with a few clothes on. Maybe all women are. Yeah, they are.

And suddenly, I’m thinking what truly makes a woman attractive: imagination, intelligence, energy, a zest for life and a thirst for adventure, a rowdy sense of humor, independence, experiences, toughness, softness, loyalty to people and a passion for ideas and a willingness to break a few rules once in awhile. And the ability to drive a stick shift. These things are sexy. Near as I can tell, Candice has all these qualities, too. So does my wife of 23 years. They’re more limited in most younger women. And men. And not bad attributes for ad people to have.

Either that, or I’m suffering from something akin to mental masturbation.