The 84-year-old Playboy 

Ranger Rich

Today, in a mature and responsible way, we will discuss love, relationships, marriage and Hugh Hefner's testicles, which arrived in this land in 1620 aboard the Mayflower.

Seriously, I assume you've heard the big news: Hefner, who is 84 and has spent much of his life in his pajamas, has proposed to 24-year-old Playboy centerfold Crystal Harris, hoping that she will also spend a lot of time in his pajamas.

(Footnote: I have just made myself sick with that image and must step outside for some fresh air.)

OK, let's get back to this love story. Hefner and Harris say they will get married this summer. Preliminary plans call for Hefner to spend the honeymoon trying to get out of the car. She will spend the honeymoon trying to play pool with a rope, if you know what I mean.

(Actually, despite his age, Hefner hopes to get lucky on his honeymoon night. And by lucky, I mean maybe she won't notice his teeth in the glass of water on the nightstand.)

In the middle of all of this is Playboy CEO Scott "Ned" Flanders, who took the job in the summer of 2009 after a wildly successful stint as president and CEO of Freedom Communications, which owns our village's Gazette. (As I understand it, the Gazette will soon be bought by 7-year-old Billy Jones of Peoria, Ill., who has orchestrated a leveraged buyout of the daily newspaper in a deal that involved four marbles, a slingshot, a frog and his lemonade stand. Not that it matters, but little Billy also is the nephew of Independent publisher John Weiss.)

It's not known whether CEO Flanders will attend the Playboy mansion wedding. Sources say he is vying for the last hard-to-get invitation with the guy who thins out Hefner's ear hair.

Here is what we know, and I am not kidding about this: On Christmas Eve the Playboy mogul, who was born in 1926, took out a Little Mermaid music box and handed it to Harris. (She was born in 1986 and believes 1926 was the year the War of 1812 began.)

Inside the music box was a diamond ring. When she saw it, Harris put her hands over her mouth and exclaimed, "I didn't even know that the Little Mermaid was, you know, like, married!!!!"

Hefner smiled, put down his bottle of Milk of Magnesia and said the ring was for her. Then Hefner, ever the romantic, gazed into her eyes and told her she was the most beautiful thing he'd seen since that day on the banks of the Missouri River when he watched Meriwether Lewis and William Clark disappear around the bend. Harris asked if Lewis and Clark were a band.

(After she put the diamond on her finger, Hefner said his heart was going pitter-patter. A minute later, his chest felt heavy and his left arm started to go numb.)

From the bride-to-be: "Both my parents are super-supportive of everything and whatever makes Hef and I happy makes them happy."

Right. Because nothing says, "Oh joy" quite like watching your daughter marry her great-grandfather. (Here many of you who have recently moved to our village from Mississippi to be closer to Focus on the Family are saying, "You got that right, funny-lookin' newspaper boy!")

The ring, according to a jewelry expert quoted in Us magazine, is worth about $90,000 and appears to feature a 3½-carat diamond set in platinum. Diamonds, as you know, are allotropes of carbon formed under great pressure as long as 3.3 billion years ago — when a young Hefner spent recess offering seventh-grade girls part of his lunch if he could look under their shirts.

But Hefner surely has grown up since then; even during the last couple years, his tastes have matured. His previous purchases, I mean relationships, include two from 2008, when he was dating 19-year-old twins named Karissa and Kristina.

Anyway, he and his new fiancée seem to make a lovely couple. On her MySpace page, Harris has reportedly written, "It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all."

Hefner has countered on his MySpace page with this equally poignant observation: "Oh-oh. Wittle Heffy just made a big poopy!"



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