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Published on October 2nd, 2013 | by Richard Black


Daytime Television and Why Old People are Paranoid

Being a stay at home father, and having been through the more than occasional period of unemployment, I can say that daytime television is absolutely awful. Please forgive me for the blanket statement but anyone who watches anything between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. probably has the intellectual capacity of a carrot.

The shows themselves are bad enough. When I was a kid with two working parents I had a series of babysitters who were fascinated with soap operas and I found them dreadful at the time. Looking back they weren’t half bad compared to some of the crap that’s on these days.

I’m sure that there are many intelligent people who watch, or watched, The View or the Today Show or Grade B Actors Humping at General Hospital but I haven’t every met them. I never used to think much about the demographic other than there must be a lot of very frustrated, very overweight and diabetic men and women with health conditions who are watching Kathie Lee Gifford in the middle of the day, probably with a giant bowl of Cheetos on hand.

Most of the time I don’t watch the Networks. My daughter doesn’t let me and I like to be certain that she sees at least seven or eight hours of quality cable television a day. Sure the experts say that it’s bad for kids and contributes to hyperactivity and genital warts but I’m not convinced.

These are the same people who told us to use margarine instead of butter and then told us that butter was great and margarine was the devil. In a few years we’ll probably hear about how children should be watching more television, eight to ten hours at least and maybe they’ll be right. After all Adolph Hitler never saw an hour of television and look how he turned out.

Still I can’t bear to watch much even when my daughter relinquishes control of the remote and it’s not just because I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld and Frazier and NYPD or CSI or anything else that’s in syndication one hundred and fifteen times. It’s the commercials, the commercials, and the news channels that kill me and make me want to drink a fifth of rum by 10:00 in the morning and bury my head in the couch cushions.

I’ve never seen so much fear mongering in all my life and I visit New Orleans two or three times a year, a city with more public injury attorneys per capita than the Kardashians have STDs. Seriously I’m really not kidding.

Driving into New Orleans there is literally billboard after billboard for local PI firms who want to sue the living crap out of any viable business for any reason.

Have you been injured by a trucker? Involved in a car accident? The last thing you should do is contact your insurance company. Call Harpo, Herpes, LLC to make sure you get  the money you need.

Have you or someone you love taken an antidepressant in the last twenty years? Do they suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Erectile dysfunction? Have they also suffered from a prolapsed uterus, anal leakage and vaginal itching or death? You could be entitled to a cash settlement.

Never have I seen so many reasons to be a hypochondriac.

Now I know that there is a legitimate need for some of this. The public needs a means of recourse against the big corporations and instead of ramping up a rant about personal responsibility or corporate greed I’ll go into a more personal route.

At first I took it personally. I was horrified to be put in the same demographic with the sorts of people that ambulance chasing attorneys…chase. After a few visits to the gym around nine or ten in the morning with all the blue hairs puffing and wheezing away on the elliptical machines and watching CNN or Fox News I understood.

Getting older is a privilege afforded to few but it ain’t easy. Shit at that age falls apart at an exponential rate with each passing decade, each year. Attorneys and banks offering sketchy reverse mortgage loans have a captive audience at home, riveted to their televisions about the horrors of Shingles and not having enough life insurance.

There’s money to be made though and the industries over the last sixty to seventy years have boomed or busted by ignoring or following the whims of the Boomers. I’ll leave my commentary at that.

As I close in on the big four zero I can understand the coming terror.

I’ve got a hip that pops like a bowl of Rice Crispies every time I stretch a certain way and knees that do the same every time I try to run more than 100 feet. I’ve also got chemical burns on my hands from a remarkably misguided attempted at putting lime on my lawn without gloves. I won’t even go into how I’m screwed through genetics or a college interim spent drinking and smoking and huffing and snorting a wide variety of substances both legal and illicit.

Twenty years later I like to think that I’ve got no one to blame on that front but myself but I’ve got it pretty good. I’m not an eighty year old widower with a prostate the size of a grapefruit and three kids who won’t talk to him. I have my health, such as it is.

Maybe I’m getting older, a bit wiser, but I doubt it.

Fifty or sixty years down the road when the severed and still living heads of Nancy Pelosi or Rush Limbaugh are in little jars and dictating exclusionary politics I may be on board. I’ll be old and fragile then and, presumably, worried about fluoride in my drinking water or that West Virginia may secede from the union.

Hell I may even give a go ahead for an attack on Australia to provide the Boomers a cheaper place to go during their golden years.

Most likely I’ll be dead and, if I’m not, I will wish that I am. Who in the hell wants to be over a hundred and still living with the Boomers?

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