Dear Bob (may I call you Bob?),

Having spent some time over the past two weeks watching the Winter Olympics, I wanted to tell you personally how much I’ve admired your tremendous hosting efforts. From the nuances of the skeleton track to the minutiae of large hill individual ski jumping, your breadth of sports knowledge is unparalleled.

But more than that, you’re a paragon of journalists. Not for a moment have you revealed even the tiniest hint of emotion on your face. Few others have lived and breathed the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics as righteously as you do. Surely Edward R. Murrow would have respected enormously how you’re gallantly carrying on the long-standing and proud tradition of professional integrity.

Mr. Murrow also might have been just a wee bit astounded at how little you appear to have aged over the last several years, which probably goes hand-in-hand with the lack of expression on your face. And that brings me to the real purpose of this letter: Michael Jackson’s nose called. He wants his punch line back.

Bob, it’s time to break up with your plastic surgeon.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m the one broaching this deeply personal and uncomfortable subject with you. But we actually met once — about 14 years ago when I was a page at NBC and brought a rear admiral from the Navy and his family into the sports studio for a private tour while you were preparing for a broadcast. The studio manager tried to “shoo” us out, but when you saw a man in uniform, you insisted on personally showing him around. You shook my hand as we left to go visit the “Dateline” studio. I was the one wearing the standard-issue fluffy maroon and white polka dot bow tie, tan polyester skirt and blue blazer with a peacock pin. I’m sure you remember me.

Anyway, it appears as if neither your producers, agents, network executives, friends, family, fans, critics nor either of your wives have been brave enough to stage a cosmetic procedure intervention. So as a former NBC colleague and one of the countless people who have spent more time analyzing the scarcity of movement in your face than the sparkles on the costumes of the male ice dancers, apparently the dirty deed has fallen to me.

And since you did me a favor once, I feel obliged to tell you that it appears as if you are a few nips and tucks away from looking better than your wax statue at Madame Tussauds.

Bob, there’s really no need to try and look like Shaun White’s contemporary. In Utah and some parts of West Virginia, you’re old enough to be his great-grandfather. Yet the Flying Tomato looks way more sun-dried than you. If you let your 57 years just happen naturally, I have no doubt you’d be dashing.

There’s a certain dignity in looking your age. And then there’s Madonna. She’s pushing 52 but dresses like a Nickelodeon starlet and has more chemicals in her than a Dow laboratory. If she tried to look her age, she’d look fabulous. As it is, though, she’s just as convincing a 19-year-old as Andrea Zuckerman was as a 16-year-old on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

Then there’s the matter of your hair. If it’s a toupee, then it’s time for a new, thinner one. Believe it or not — there is such a thing as too thick when it comes to men’s hair (paging Rod Blagojevich).

If it is, in fact, your real hair, then I’m going to guess that no one has seen its real shade since President Reagan took the oath of office (the first time). You might take a cue from Brian Williams, who I strongly suspect strategically adds some gray to his hair to lend him some gravitas. Just For Men makes a shade called Touch of Gray, which lets you get rid of some gray without getting rid of it all. The first box is on me — just say the word.

To be sure, some amount of artificial enhancement can be fine, but only if you actually look better as a result. When you start looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein’s second cousin, or Katie Couric, then it’s time to step away from the Botox needle and admit you have a problem.

You’re not a lady who lunches, but at this point, with the number of procedures you appear to have undergone (not to mention how much makeup you cake on before each broadcast), you might as well have a standing reservation at Nello to nibble on a $26 salad of four beet slices with Annette de la Renta, Evelyn Lauder and Muffie Potter Aston.

An ice rink in the Winter Olympics is good. On your forehead, not so much. Stick with what you know and leave the Juvéderm to Nicole Kidman and Joan Rivers.

Love (because if I didn’t love you, then I wouldn’t say anything),


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