Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don’t Read The News

In spite of my unemployed state, I try (and sometimes fail) to have a regimented day, to have some structure in an otherwise jellyfish-like life. What does that mean, you ask? Well, if I do not actively plan my day then I seem to simply float from thing to thing, like a jellyfish in the undulating waters. I go into the living room to dust the furniture and remember that I wanted to re-wire the television’s stereo speakers, so I go in to the office to retrieve some speaker wire and electrical tape, and while there I spot my guitar, so I take it out of the case and play for a while, but I realize my nails are a little too long and if they were shorter I could play that little “doodily-doo, doodie doo doo, doodily doo” thing at the beginning of “Ventura Highway” better. I then go in to the bathroom to get a nail clipper, and when I open the cabinet I see the cough syrup and remember that I never called the doctor’s office to get the results of my blood test last week. So I go to the kitchen to get my phone and I see that I didn’t wash the coffee pot this morning, so I do that. And this goes on ALL DAY LONG. Oh, and once in a while I think “I’m going to check my emails,” which may be a big mistake, because sometimes getting online is akin to a person on acid looking in the mirror – what feels like a few minutes is in actuality hours on end.

What was I saying? Oh right, a regimented day. So in an effort to not get distracted by every shiny object in every room I enter, I try very hard to stick to a routine. I get up, feed the animals, make the bed, drink coffee, check the job websites, read my emails and then read the news online. From there I walk the dog and then try to do something constructive like baking a fake (cake from a box) or writing a blog . But I often get hung up at the “read the news online” thing, because often there is no actual news. Today I made an honest and good faith effort to find real news, news that was, well, news-y. But just about everything I found was just plain gossip. And it wasn’t even good gossip.

Have we really come to the place where we believe that what Paris and Nicky Hilton did at yesterday’s runway show during Fashion Week is news? Is it really news that Alex Rodriguez didn’t realize he was taking steroids? Do I really care that Amy Fisher’s career as a porn star is taking off, 17 years after shooting that poor woman’s face off? And really, I mean really, is it news that Salma Hayek breast fed some other woman’s child in Africa? That’s not news, its just weird. Yes, yes, it was nice of her to be a milk dispenser when the boy’s mother had been completely tapped out, but does she have enough milk in those breasts of hers to go around to all the babies in need? THAT would be news.

I finally decided to end my quest for news when I read the article that Marlon Jackson (of The Jackson Five and brother to all those other crazy Jacksons) was considering building a Jackson Five theme park and museum in a Nigerian park, a place that was the port of departure during the slave trade, a place where untold thousands were herded into the holds of ships and brought to America and the Caribbean, where they and their descendants were sold and enslaved for generations. He is going to build a theme park in place of pain and suffering from long ago? And a golf course? The city of Gary, Indiana must have gotten a bad batch of fluoride that was added to the drinking water back in the 60s and 70s, because that Jackson family is populated with one weirdo after another. A theme park, golf course and Jackson Five museum. All built over what Nigerians consider sad and sacred ground. Yes indeed.

I was going to give up reading the news in the morning, but then I realized that just about everyone on the planet who is fodder for “news” is weirder than I am, so by reading the paper I can feel superior to them in spite of the fact that my weekly Unemployment Insurance payment is less than most of these people spend on a single pair of socks. So while I may not be monetarily superior, I can be morally so.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to read about how a Taco Bell drive-through was hacked in such a way that customers were greeted with shouted obscenities; instead of hearing a cheerful “Welcome To Taco Bell” when they arrived at the tiny speaker, they got “Go f__ yourself!” Finally! Some real news!

Copyright (c) 2009 Leslie R Becker

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