BY PHYLISS MERION SHANKEN – ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, USA
(Picks up remote) What shall we watch tonight?
Let’s watch AFGHANISTAN.
No, HURRICANE is far more exciting
I’ll take FIRE over FLOODS any day. (Grabs remote and points) California here I come!
Why do we watch stuff we have no control over?
That’s what catastrophes are: things we can’t control. Makes for more suspense.
These people have no power over what’s happening. We, too, are powerless over what’s on TV. We’re all in the same boat.
But we don’t have a boat.
Neither do most of them.
I like to think of our remote control as our boat.
(Grabs remote) Our way of spying on them while they play on our sympathies.
But they’re the ones living the nightmare. We should feel sorry for —
Don’t remind me. It’s too sad.
We can never tell the difference between this TV stuff and a blockbuster movie.
I know. (Grabs remote) Let’s watch a BUILDING COLLAPSE and see old people get buried alive!
We did that already last week. Old news. Took too long to show us the rescues.
Newscasters asking correspondents dumb questions like: Are the survivors devastated? Duh. That TV station won’t get an Emmy if they keep boring us to death!
Everyone does it: Stretch it out. Sell more products.
While victims are dying.
Forget the victims, The important thing is our entertainment.
Thank goodness the FIRES keep burning in the West. We should switch stations more often.
Right. We have so many alternatives. Hm. Remember? TEXAS POWER GRID?
Every night, the same story. No power. No water. Boring. Last time, we switched to THE BIG LIE. Always ready and waiting.
(Grabs remote and clicks) Oh, here’s a good one: COVID-19 patients on their deathbeds lamenting that they should have gotten the VACCINE shot.
Because they heard on the news: COVID-19 is a hoax!
Right after the camera is turned off, they take their last breath, but do we get to see? No way.
Some of these people are saved before they get to the ICU. They were smart enough to swallow the HORSE-WORM MEDICINE instead!.
They’d rather take horse meds - or bleach —than get vaccinated.
The FDA dragged their feet.
Good excuse for not getting the shot.
We’ll probably have a worm-meds shortage. We’ll sacrifice horses’ lives to save humans.
Ya think they’ll show it on TV? Horses dying and millions of worms crawling over our streets?
(Grabs remote) Oh look. Homo sapiens marching for VOTERS’ RIGHTS.
Not interested — As long as I keep my vote.
Ok. (Grabs remote) Let’s see NEVADA.
Oh, is that a new show? Like Chicago?
No, not a show. People forced to evacuate Lake Tahoe due to FIRES.
They‘ll probably show a bunch of smokey mountains rather than people scrambling around.
OK. Never mind. Let’s look at FLAGS FLYING HALF-MAST.
Why would we do that?
To figure out if it’s too windy for us to go bike riding?
Come on. We’re not going to ride at night. And — we’d miss our shows.
REAL LIFE is so much more fun than TV life.
And we can always make up for it by watching Hollywood films of REAL LIFE.
Right, why bother paying actors? They should just display the footage we view every night.
Ok. How about we watch imposters, posing as gods, telling LIES?
Same old. And too frustrating.
Let’s look at GOVERNORS explaining why they won’t give schools money.
Huh? Is that the one about MOTHERS trying to protect their children from death? They’re demanding MANDATES so unvaccinated, MASKLESS teachers won’t kill their kids? That news?
Right. But no real problem. Pretty soon, there’s gonna be plenty of extra kids running around to replace the dead ones. TEXAS is banning ABORTION.
No consolation. This is just too hard to take.
So, for one night let’s forget The Greatest Show on Earth. Where people, places and things become a spectator sport.
Oh, you mean, like CLIMATE CHANGE?
Who believes that anymore.
Ha ha. Haven’t you heard? It’s God’s punishment for our sins.
What's next for our country?
We’ll have to tune in tomorrow night for the answer.
Are we doomed? Is there nothing we can do?
Next, you’re gonna say we should pray.
What else do we have?
We’d just get into wars about which gods to pray to.
Let’s give it up already. Turn off the set and play video games.
What’s the difference between our nightly news and video games?
Are you gonna die if you don’t get your fix?
Not die. But I am majorly depressed.
Are you kidding? What have we just been talking about all night? I’m depressed because I feel lucky.
I’m alive, I’m dry. I’m not wind-blown. I have electricity. I still have my vote. I am safe. — as long as I don’t leave my house—
Right, that’s why we need TV. to see what’s going on out there.
So we can feel guilty watching other people’s misery?
Be grateful. Today we're all toasty in front of our TV. Tomorrow, other people will feel guilty watching our calamities! Give it time. We’re all on the conveyor belt to Hell.
Oh. Good. I feel better now. Let’s celebrate!
But we have nothing left to watch!
Now, that’s depressing!