Other 12-year-old children would come home from school and run to their toys or snacks, and have themselves such an adventurous evening fighting whatever creature they’ve made up in their little heads. Well, at least that’s what it looked like to me. I, on the other hand, was more intent to sit directly in front of my television at exactly 4 p.m. to enjoy my hour of “The Ellen Show.”

The first time I laid my eyes upon this wondrous human being’s talk show I instantly wanted more. It was a re-run episode from the previous season in which she, Ellen DeGeneres, was dancing with another celebrity who was in a giant gingerbread man costume. The other celebrity was Justin Timberlake, who my childhood self and still very much my adult self happen to be in love with. This fact only made crave the show more. This hilarious woman gets a whole hour to dance with all the cool celebrities I am completely infatuated with? Sign me up.

This was also around the time TiVo was a big deal. TV watchers having the ability to rewind at any time? What!? That was so crazy! My sister and I, of course taking advantage of our new beloved toy on this TV, decided that we were going to watch Mr. Timberlake do his little gingerbread man dance on repeat at least 800 times, maybe more. We did this partly because it was absolutely hysterical to watch a grown man duck his little head into an oversized gingerbread man cookie suit, but mainly because we wanted to abuse our new power on the remote.

My sister, Christy, and I sat there watching and rewinding for maybe 20 minutes before it dawned on us that we probably should be doing some sort of homework or well… anything more productive than gawking at a television screen. Our mother started making her way to the living room and as she did we began to duck our heads, hoping she wouldn’t notice all our giggling. She made her way past the living room and made one glance up at the TV and then looked at us and said, “Is that Ellen? Oh, I love her!” and then continued on her path to another room.

That woman, my mother, didn’t have one care in the world that we were spending our quality time with this short-haired, blonde woman on the screen. If anything, our mother encouraged it. So, on our way we went, continuing to watch and rewind “Ellen.” Soon it became a household thing.

That show’s ability to make us and our whole family laugh is what sent great vibes through our house.

No matter what we had going on, we also had a connection through this talk show. At some point during our family dinner, back when those were a thing, someone would always say, “Did you see on ‘Ellen’ …” Or “Can you believe Ellen gave all of that stuff away?”

My mom was also a real sucker for the family stories where Ellen would take care of the family’s medical bills or whatever kind of debt they were in. This woman was like a little beacon of hope making other lives better and showing our family we were never actually stuck.

As my years of youth went by and numerous “Ellen Day’s” passed (Ellen Day being Jan. 26th, the anniversary of this beloved woman’s birth) I realize what this show means to me and what it does for other people. Her show makes me feel connected. It’s another form of social media for me in a sense.

I get news stories, family stories, pop culture and a whole lot of jokes worth sharing. This is my personal resource of classic jokes. The kind of jokes one would find on the back of a Laffy Taffy candy wrapper.

For example, “What did the ocean say to the shore?” “Nothing. It just waved.” Another example of her comedic genius being that Ellen takes a week out of the year, Cat Week, and dedicates it to exposing her audience to hilarious cat videos. For some viewers, this may be even more exciting than her Twelve Days of Giveaways. Go ahead, Ellen. Bring on all the cat videos.

This is also my outlet for a lot of news. It is definitely more of a comedic version of the news, but it is still news. Whether it be about current events in our country’s politics or where in the world someone is being hit by a natural disaster or even what is happening in pop culture. Now, I don’t watch the “Bachelor” but I usually feel up to speed because Ellen gets sucked in every year and must tell her viewers all the juicy details.

Sure, this might sound a little cheesy but let’s face it, everyone has a TV show or book or musical artist that they go gooey-eyed over. Mine is easily Ellen DeGeneres.

So, here I am, over 10 years later studying Communication at a college I randomly found online, thanks to this woman inspiring me to not only continue to learn and contribute to society (like a real adult) but also inspiring me to be a part of the way our world gets information.

She gets people to pay attention. If I could do that or even be a part of a team that does that, even in the slightest way, then I would feel more than successful.

As of this moment, my soon to be 23-year-old self has not been to the “Ellen Show.” I have indeed purchased items on their website while having a bad day, but I have never actually been there. While writing a personal essay about Ellen for a class, I attempted applying for tickets online. I have done this many times in the past, and also got my oldest sister, Tiffany, to do the same. There is safety in numbers folks, and she would be a wonderful dance partner to accompany me.

Unfortunately, no word yet on those tickets, but as long as Ellen keeps dancing I will always apply for tickets.