I used to flick through 99 TV channels, marveling that I couldn’t find anything I wanted to watch. In disbelief I’d go for another spin. No, I don’t love Raymond, I’m not buying any imitation jewelry, I’m frightened by Japanese-speaking chefs competing with sharp knives, and I’ve long stopped believing that Peter Boyle is anyone’s goofy uncle or that anyone has Stiller and Meara for parents.
One square mile of rainforest contains 80% of the world’s insect species. So it’s not like I’m not learning anything. But still I cancelled everything but the basic channels, which still include two Spanish ones where every show features this giant guy who looks like a mix of Antonio Banderas and Fabio, wearing shirts sized for Doogie Howser. I still have nothing to watch but it now takes me only twenty channels to figure that out.
Yesterday one show advertised another show, on channel 998. I was musing on the wisdom of one channel letting another channel run an ad—it’s a testament that they secretly don’t think their advertising works. Then “998” hit me. When did that happen? How long does it take to flick thorough all those? Do you need a special glove? Has anyone found anything to watch yet?
A reporter interpreted for me what I myself just heard a politician say. Then Hillary defined the crucial difference between “renounce” and “reject,” thankfully sparing me the embarrassment of using the wrong word, her husband having already clarified for me what “is” is. Obama confessed that he did indeed communicate with our feared enemy, the Canadians, even though yesterday he said he didn’t, explaining that yesterday he didn’t know he did. John McCain is repeatedly making sure we’re clear on his NAFTA stance, though we don’t really know what NAFTA is, and Mike Huckabee has stopped campaigning on how much weight he lost, because, um, well—don’t worry, Mike, the campaign will be over for you soon.
I’ve decided to vote for Julie Loyd. She’s travelled the country bringing her message to music venues like Mick’s. She’s stopping by the open mic tonight, so you’ll get to see her for free. A little musical caucus, with great martinis. And I promise, the more you vote by going out, the more choices you’ll get. I can’t promise 998, but still.
In 1987 I didn’t have a TV or cell phone or computer. Yet in many ways I felt more connected, because I actually went outside and did things. It’s my night off tonight so I’ll venture forth—right after I get the latest on those important primary races (half the channels) and check in on the Mexican soap operas (the other half) to see how many buttons have popped. ¡Que rico!