‘The View’ is a thoroughly one~sided, radical show that does nothing but add to the alienation, bitterness, and resentment that currently divide people in this country. There’s absolutely no place whatsoever for this kind of blatant brainwashing in people’s lives.
“I really like the way my rose is now,” Brenda told Cheryl.
“I call that a Molly Dodd moment.”
“Huh?!” her friend gasped.
“I grew up,” Brenda explained, “watching shows like ‘My Mother the Car,’ ‘Mr. Ed,’ and ‘Seinfeld.’
“Molly, for me, is the epitome of normal. In the typical episode, Molly reads her mail, says hello to a neighbor, blows her nose. You know, plain stuff.”
“I can understand that,” Cheryl opined. At the same time though, each of us often needs Gunther Toody and Ed Norton in his life too. Contrast and balance are the answer to everything.”
Moocho thank you to Rochelle Wisoff~Fields for being our Fearless Leader in Friday Fictioneers, a weekly attempt at a hundred~page story based upon a photo prompt. This week’s prompt was supplied by Marie Gail Stratford.
I should like to think that a train station, airport terminal, subway stop, or anyplace else where passengers gather, is somehow an eclectic combination of both a soulless space occupied by distracted, stressed zombies and a magical set for fleeting, interlocking stories within the population of mankind. Since most of the people who pass through these kinds of places are always going to remain absolute strangers to each other, and since they won’t ever end up having any significant contact with one another, in that sense they will always, unfortunately, appear as if they’re a randomly thrown together combination of nameless, lifeless non entities, who are only in the same location for an extremely short time frame, on their way to a common destination. They have the kind of connection to each other that’s somewhat similar to that of people who are connected only on Facebook, Myspace or Twitter. They all merely fit into the same category to serve a fleeting purpose. At the same time, however, there can be potentially quite a lot of drama available in such a setting. Very many people with common interests may find themselves in each other’s company. If, occasionally, someone would presume to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger in such a setting, they might even end up igniting quite a significant romance, reminiscent of the kinds that happened on shows like “Hotel” and “The Love Boat” (I’m very sorry but I don’t watch very many recent shows). People are the same all over the world. Up to a certain point it’s not such a very smart idea for anyone to trust someone he’s just met in that kind of environment. Although good people can be found everywhere places like that can be populated by all kinds of nasty characters. Denizens of subway stations are well known for being rather lazy and careless about sanitary habits and social skills in general. Once one gets past all the morons, troublemakers and otherwise lost souls, though, it’s a truly hep place. If someone were merely to hang around and to listen to the conversations people have in these kinds of places, he would be able to amass, after a short while, quite a significant collection of interesting anecdotes. Exactly because so many people from so many different environments can be found there, it must be quite a veritable bottomless pit of story telling. All those otherwise soulless non entities then become store houses of folklore and adventure. Whether by way of simple observation as a disinterested third party, or even by getting actively engaged with the occasional character in a lobby, restaurant or gift shop, anyone at any given time can at least turn an otherwise unbearably boring stressful situation into a reasonably interesting experience. Besides everything else one never knows whom he may meet in this kind of environment. Once, in the early 1980’s, I even flew to Buffalo on the same plane as jazz musician Cab Calloway.
Throughout my adult lifetime, I’ve always been, to varying degrees, inordinately anxious, especially under stressful circumstances. The very best thing I can possibly do on the eve of a big moment of truth-a significant trip, a job interview, or some other milestone-is simply to relax and to go to bed even earlier than my accustomed bedtime. Besides that I enjoy reading, playing my guitar or any other simple relaxing activity. I also occasionally watch television, but that’s not a habit of mine anymore. I’ve always quite bitterly despised the telephone so it helps if I can scrupulously avoid that particular thing. I absolutely never even think of taking any risks whatsoever with food. If I know I am going to be subjected to pressure, my diet the day before is inevitably simple with absolutely no spices whatsoever. Any risk of stomach trouble would be terrifying. I always put whatever materials I may be obligated to have in my possession-a number two pencil, identification, money or anything else of any importance-in a very safe, easily accessible place the night before I need them. For the past quite a long time my anxiety hasn’t been overwhelming, but it’s still sufficiently significant that I can’t play games with it.
“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness,” is a line from twentieth century poet and radical Allen Ginsberg, a major figure in both the 1950’s Beat Generation and the 1960’s counterculture. Having read quite a significant amount of Ginsberg’s work I can honestly say that I’m not interested in doing things his way. Although I understand that it can be nice, and even constructive, for someone to tap into his somewhat less than perfectly well behaved side, I don’t trust my darker impulses. Having found out the hard way, over the course of my lifetime, just exactly what kinds of things I’m capable of, I don’t especially like to tamper with forces that are so easily capable of getting out of control. In my writing I often enjoy exploring dark themes. Television shows from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, such as “One Step Beyond”, “The Twilight Zone”, “The Outer Limits”, and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” have always interested me. A conveniently detached observation of all the inexplicably strange offbeat things that go on in life, that are beyond the normal, is as much as I can be expected to try to deal with. To get personally involved with it, though, would provoke irrevocable trouble.
I always seem to go against what the fans and critics say. Although I’ve never read either Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” or any of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books, I’ve most certainly read and heard enough about them, from reputable source materials, to know that I couldn’t possibly be expected to be able to stand anything like them. The television show “Friends” is a good example of something I’ve seen and never especially liked. I never watched either “Friends” or “Seinfeld” until a significantly long time after they were cancelled. Cathleen, in California, gave me the idea to watch them. Although I’ve always especially liked “Seinfeld”-considering my eccentric sense of humor that’s most certainly no surprise-I’ve simply never been able to find “Friends” even the least bit appealing. For some reason it’s just not interesting in spite of the fact that everyone has always bowed down before its very shrine. It wasn’t the least bit bad. It simply left me entirely apathetic about it, without even so much as the satisfaction of my being able to complain. Perhaps there was something about it that I couldn’t catch onto. Was there some inside joke, or hep 1990’s style or charisma, going on there and I could never get the point? I found it all so plain, dull and ordinary. I’ve never been able to understand why everyone’s always been so crazy about the cast’s looks either. They’re all conventionally nice looking but in such an ordinary way. They would be nice neighbors and friends for married couples to have so that when a wife asks her husband : “Honey, do you think Rachel, Monica and Phoebe are pretty?” he could say yes without provoking any suspicion whatsoever. I just don’t get all the hype about what a legendary milestone that show supposedly was. I enjoy “Seinfeld” though. The people on that show are lopsided individuals who are even enjoyably lopsided looking.
If a mad scientist wanted to give me a chip that would allow me to read the minds of people I’m talking to, on the condition that I can’t ever turn it off, I don’t think it would be a good idea to accept it. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Has anyone ever noticed that on shows like “I Dream Of Jeannie” and “Bewitched”, where there are characters who are capable of magic, none of the good characters deliberately try to read people’s minds, or to give others that ability? Only nasty characters, such as Jeannie’s sister and Endora, ever want to do anything like that. The good genies and witches always read minds, or give that ability to others, only as an unintended result of accidents, allergies and other misfortunes. I have always thought that’s the way it should be. If someone could read others’ minds, he would absolutely invariably end up getting his feelings hurt sooner or later. Besides that he would also end up hearing things that are none of his business. There would be no such thing as a surprise party anymore. A few years ago there were a lot of commercials on television advertising for a product that allowed people to hear things others were saying from far away. They gave the impression that people always gave each other flattering compliments. That’s most certainly not true though. Much of the feedback each of us gets from others is quite entirely unwelcome. If someone could find out what others are thinking he would inevitably interpret it entirely out of context. Privacy would be a thing of the past. Liberals, and other totalitarian ideologues, are always pushing for such supposedly wonderful utopian ideas in order to affect some imagined Great Society. Often I’ve seen commercials for surveillance devices that permit people to eavesdrop on their houses while they’re away from home, leaving other family members or roommates absolutely without any privacy whatsoever. Nothing like that ever works out though. The ability to read minds would just be yet another poisonous Pandora’s box.
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