As soon as I learned that Oprah Winfrey would be interviewing Michelle Obama at the Chicago stop of Obama's "Becoming" book tour at the United Center on Nov. 13, I pre-declared my ticket the best $166 (plus fees) I ever spent.
My friends and I bought tickets months ago, before we knew the Oprah angle, which was announced Oct. 30. Various celebrities – Tracee Ellis Ross, Reese Witherspoon, Valerie Jarrett – will interview the former first lady in different cities along the tour.
We just happen to live in the greatest city on Earth, which means Obama is not only kicking off her book tour here, she's kicking off her book tour here WITH OPRAH.
(A brief pause while we collect ourselves.)
On Twitter, where I voiced my best-$166-I-ever-spent declaration (and where all rational, measured discourse begins), skeptics pounced.
"So is Bruce Springsteen playing?" my Twitter pal Dennis tweeted. "Maybe Liz Phair at the minimum. $166??? Maybe you have the opportunity to win a car?"
"Watch it on YouTube for free the next day," a gentleman named Greg suggested.
Liz Phair? YouTube? The next day?
Guys. This is our Super Bowl.
This is the hometown team we've been watching all our lives (Oprah) going head-to-head with the G(FL)OAT (Greatest First Lady Of All Time).
They could sit onstage and swap recipes, and we'd hang, transfixed, on every word.
Obama could read aloud from her book for 90 minutes straight while Oprah nods majestically and shifts in her chair, not a word uttered, and we would feel blessed to have borne witness.
They could pull out a deck of Uno, and we would watch with bated breath to see if Oprah dared to give a Draw 4 to the G(FL)OAT.
It's that big.
Almost bigger than I can capture in words, really. There will be weeping. There will be hollering. There may be fainting.
YouTube for free the next day?
What would you pay top dollar for, my skeptic friends? What team, what band, what singer, what comedian would you put a premium on seeing live, in person, breathing the same air you're breathing, sitting under the same lights you're sitting under, surrounded by the energy surrounding you?
I can guarantee that, to a lot of us, Oprah + Michelle is an even bigger deal.
One hundred and sixty-six dollars per seat is not pocket change. I don't spend it lightly.
But it's also not an unheard of amount (or even on the high end) for plenty of seats in this town, on any given night: "Hamilton." Orchestra seats for "Hello Dolly." Good seats at the Bulls. Grandstand seats at The Bears. Postseason tickets to the Cubs.
For some of us, Oprah + Michelle blows them all away.
Join the Heidi Stevens' Balancing Act Facebook group, where she hosts live chats every Wednesday at noon. On Nov. 7 she'll be joined by Tania Richard, former co-host of the "Race Bait" podcast, to talk about engaging in uncomfortable conversations.
(Contact Heidi Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @heidistevens13.)