by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
March 8, 2001
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Well, 1975 was an impressionable year for me. That was the year I saw the classic shark movie, "Jaws." And thanks to the giant animatronic shark and Hollywood's portrayal of why you should never swim in anything bigger than a kid's wading pool, hundreds of thousands of Americans refuse to set foot in the ocean. And I, for one, don't blame them.
Oh sure, there was that one time I tried it when I was in Florida, but I created my own shark repellent, and increased the surrounding temperature by a few degrees. That little adventure lasted for all of five minutes before I raced out of the ocean, worried that each step would be my last.
And it didn't help that Universal Studios has decided to re-release their horror classic to celebrate the movie's 25th anniversary. Now I not only refuse to go into the ocean, but I'm also having panic attacks every time I take a bath.
So what does all this have to do with this week's column?Actually nothing, I'm just trying to pad my column since I get paid by the word.
Actually, there is a small tie-in between the two. Remember the"Jaws" movie slogan, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water?" It's starting all over again: Just when you thought it was safe to read "Playboy" magazine again (no, you won't go blind), one of our favorite celebrities from the "Why Won't They Just Go Away" file is gracing its pages. The ex-multi-millionairess Darva Conger has appeared nude in Playboy. I realize this happened a few weeks ago but, hey, I've been busy.
For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Darva Congeris the woman who "won" a chance to marry an anonymous multimillionaireon Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" Conger and Rockwell made the news after the two of them split up after only four days of trying to make the marriage work. And apparently nobody but the groom was surprised at the outcome.
But as we all expected, Conger started having financial difficulties because she lost her job as an Emergency Room nurse after the whole fracas. I guess divorcing her extremely rich husband wasn't such a good idea after all.
In a recent appearance on "Larry King Live" on CNN, Conger told Larry King that she didn't hesitate to bare all for the entire world.
"It was a financial decision based on the employment straits I was in," she told King. "It was an honest day's pay for an honest day's work."
Now let me get this straight. She didn't want to be married to a man she didn't love or know, and in fact she never even took her clothes off in front of him, but she has no problem posing nude for the rest of the world?
But her appearance in the magazine has relieved some of her financial pressures. Conger wouldn't tell King how much she was paid for her appearance, but it has been reported in the U.S. media that she earned more than $500,000.
Conger told King that she turned down other offers to pose in the buff from Penthouse magazine, and from an adult Web site, because she "wasn't comfortable" with how she would be portrayed.
But what Conger was comfortable with was appearing on the pages of Playboy fully nude. And she was happy with the way it was done.
"Yes, it's full nudity," she said to King, "but I believe it's very tasteful and tame and I don't think it's anything salacious."
All of this new, umm, exposure comes on the heels of Conger and her ex-husband, Rick Rockwell, saying they just wished they had a little privacy away from the intense media attention. Just like the old saying goes, there's nothing like a little nudity to make people forget you.
So what lead to this journey down the fleshy path? Not only did Conger lose her previous job -- and I do have to applaud her for not suing her former employer -- but she has not been able to get a nursing job since then because of her notoriety, which is understandable.
So what will she do now that she has fallen from grace by participating in a sham marriage and then appearing in the buff to the entire world? What else? She's considering a number of offers she has received "in the television media."
Conger wouldn't tell King who made the offers, but she said she wanted to be a news correspondent or tv hostess - especially if it was medically oriented - to take advantage of her training.
Her first gig? Posing as the "Completely Visible Woman" for the neighbor kid's science project.
King finally asked Conger to comment on her ex-husband's statement that he would only flip through Conger's pictorial, but not buy it. Conger retorted: "Well, you know he's notoriously frugal, so I'm not surprised that he's not going to buy it. But I don't honestly care."
I guess I'm still not clear on what he's notoriously frugal about. He's got millions of dollars, he spent a lot of dough to find a wife, he took her on a big, expensive honeymoon, and then she split on him? How does that make him frugal?
I suppose in the same way that posing nude for a few photos is considered an "honest day's work."
But I honestly don't care, either.
Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell were in the news again for making a joint TV appearance. Since Erik is out of town for the week, we thought we would reprint last year's Darva Conger/Rick Rockwell column.