Saturday, March 17, 2018

I'm Baaack


It’s been three weeks since my rotator cuff shoulder surgery, and I’ve decided to take a shot at typing with more than the index finger of my left hand.  I feel I must take that risk—painful as it may prove to be—in an effort at breaking a horrid addiction contracted in the course of my recovery. 

No, it’s not to the dreaded oxycodone pain medication. I was well aware of the risks of that, and avoided it except on the few occasions when, on a scale of 1 to 10, pain hit 12.

No, I fell victim to an insidious hallucinogen that preys upon the innocent in their most vulnerable of moments, such as when one tires of balancing a book or e-reader on one’s belly with one hand. 

I’m talking about our singular national narcotic, competitively produced and distributed nationwide to generate profit and power via the exploitation of our disparate tribal urges.

Yes, dear reader, my name is Jeffrey and I’m addicted to Cable TV News.

It started off simply enough, with the teaser of a “breaking news” headline, followed by commentary from folks with distinct agendas.  Whether or not I agreed with what they said did not matter, for the game was to hook me into the personalities, and bristle or cheer while they added partisan spin to seemingly objective facts.  Soon I was jumping from channel to channel to catch how networks with polar opposite political views were handling the same state of facts…or ignoring them.

You find yourself in swoon, one that has you turning on the news when you rise in the morning, and falling asleep to it at night.  Then comes delusion, for you think you’re well-informed, on top of things.  But you’re not. You may know a lot about a half-dozen titillating tales, but you’re woefully out of touch with the world, for those news networks universally neglect almost all but headlines.

You’ve become myopic, endorphin-driven, and out of touch with the real world. You’re dulled by the stories, think that what’s debated is actually being resolved by the process, and, thus, do nothing but impatiently wait for the next big headline to break across the screen.

Congratulations, you’re now addicted to the reality TV world of Cable TV News.

Thankfully, not all have fallen victim to the scourge.  There are those who realize that if you wish to change the real world, you must participate in it, and bust your hump at making things happen.

Like, for example, the students and families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, and the hundreds of thousands supporting them, in their efforts at spearheading the “March For Our Lives” on March 24 in Washington, DC.

Yes, I watched that horrible tragedy unfold on TV.  I watched the analysts, watched the looping videos, and watched the partisan interests roll out their spin.

Then I listened to classmates and families of the victims speak from their hearts with poise, intensity, and truth.  Their words have inspired a movement, if not a generation. They give me hope for our future, and reason to end my voyeuristic addiction and return to the parapets…

Right after I catch the latest update on the Stormy Daniels affair.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.



  1. Glad your health is improving and painkillers are no longer needed. I broke my humerus and needed those dastardly pills for a month. Then it improved.

    I know this addiction. But I'm only fixated on MSNBC day and night even though I hear the same stories and points hour after hour. Then I read books, the NY Times, etc., while it's on.

    What a life!

    And yes, solidarity with the students in Florida and elsewhere that are standing up for their right to live a full, healthy, gun-free life.

    1. Thanks, Kathy, and yes, the fact this generation is demonstrating a serious willingness to take charge of its own future inspires me...regardless of the positions they support. It's the numbers that give me hope. The more involved, the more likely an even-handed result.

  2. Are you sure it was the "Stormy Daniels affair"??? Sound more like labor to me...

    As a way of avoiding the cable news, try watching "Collateral" on Netflix. It's a 4-hour BBC cop/mystery show that's quite well done (although a bit confusing for the first hour while you're meeting the roster of characters), and touches on something dear to your heart. I thought it was quite good and think you'll enjoy it. Highly recommended.

    1. Thanks, EvKa. I'll save your suggestion on "Collateral" as a remedy to any relapse I may sustain. For now I'm weaning myself off cable news with March Madness....hmmm come to think of it, perhaps I'm still subtly addicted. After all isn't March said to come in like a (stormy) lion and go out like a (elected) lamb?

  3. My brother, I am addicted to many things--chocolate, coffee, the African wilderness, this blog, chocolate, opera, Netflix movie rentals, emails on my phone, chocolate, Foyle's War, Shakespeare, chocolate, coffee, Endeavor, and Jane Austen. But I am proud to say that I have avoided the two most dangerous to my sanity.

    In my youth, my father noticed that I could hit a golfball straight. He tried desperately to get me interested in that sport. But I knew from my dad's addiction that madness lay in that direction. I abstained for life.

    I saw the very same danger with cable news. NO! has been my answer. The last time I remember tuning in was in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami. I watched for less than two minutes, just to have a glance at what the rest of the world was watching. Ever since, the very phrase Cable News brings vividly to mind the vision of tractor-trailers--a white ones and blue one--bobbing in the surf near the Fukushima reactor.

    I suggest you try the antidote of movies and British historical cop dramas. And, of course, the medicine recommended by Professor Remus Lupin--chocolate!

    1. You were far more mature in your early years, sis, than I, for I could not resist a road to madness...and chocolate never appeased me.

  4. This is why I don't watch TV news :) It really is at least as addictive as painkillers - and without the fun side effects.

    So glad you're feeling better, and that you're well enough to return to the trenches (or the parapets). We need your words and humor in this world!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I'm back to reading and have hidden the remote. Now to find the humor.

  5. If it's humor you want, don't watch the news. Except maybe the warfare between attorneys for and anti-Trump. To a lawyer, that may be even funnier.