300 Channels and nothing is on

Like Tommy said to Pamela, this is going to be a long one but I hope you enjoy it. As a rather crappy Monday comes to a close, I decided to catch up on some boob tube. So pull up a chair, grab some snacks and perhaps a lovely beer purchased at Beer:30,( ahem…a little kickback seems to be in order. And speaking of Kickbacks…) and join me for for the Couch Potato edition of “the things i have learned”:
I have to admit I have a new guilty pleasure. In the past I have been obsessed with watching RFDTV, yes that’s the Rural Farmers….um Deliverance? Network. I love the variety of shows they produce. There are 2 different live polka music shows, featuring the accordion- Hell’s official musical instrument. Sorry, bagpipes. You can watch either the Midwest Farm Report or The Midwest Agricultural Report. For you culinary fans, there is The Dutch Oven Cooking Show, no its not what you think. And they have a cutting edge variety show that makes SNL look like Hee-Haw. Oh wait, that was Hee-Haw I was watching. Finally, for pure entertainment nothing beats a live cattle auction. Or so I thought. Sorry, Mrs. Farmhand but I have found a new mistress and she puts out, except on the Sabbath. For my new love is the JLTV. That’s the Jewish Life Television Network. Now I have always had a warm place in the heart for our Hebrew brethren. When it comes to misplaced guilt, we are kindred spirits. My rapidly thinning hair seems tailor made for a yarmulke. Any cultural group that can claim membership from both Data from Star Trek The Next Generation and Princess Freakin Leia has definitely got something going on. Finally, I love the whole Chosen People angle cause remember ladies that confidence is sexy. Despite the fact that the Jltv was discovered quite by accident, a combination of fat fingers and tiny remote buttons. i was ready to be a shmendrik and change the channel but “Oy Gevalt!”. The mishegas knocked me on my tuches to the point that I wish I was mishpocheh. Being somewhat of a cook at heart, I loved the choice of three different kosher cooking programs. I told you they weren’t just pickles. Including one featuring an attractive young lady that I would like to call the JLTV’s Rachel Ray, but she doesn’t have manhands like Rachel. However the best cooking show on t.v. is “Feed Me Bubbe” featuring a lovely grandmotherly woman who may very well be God’s older sister. I am not even completely convinced that the woman is even aware that she is on tv. Its like watching Elder Abuse-The Stage Show. I cannot adequately describe this little nugget of DirectTV gold so I will quote the JLTV website,”Watch Feed Me Bubbe! You will learn a little Yiddish, and a whole lot of cooking.” Its just too good to be true.
As good as these shows are, the real magic happens at night. The show is The Beat and basically it involves Men is Hasidim garb performing karaoke in yiddish. Damn they stole my idea.
Well getting back to tv programs that I sort of understand. I have been watching quite a bit of the Olympic trials lately, basically because NBC has given up on showing anything else. At first I thought was watching Law & Order: Public Pool but no such luck. I sure hope that Thorton Mellon makes the diving team because when he pulled off the Triple Lindy at the Beijing games it made me proud to be an American. Been trying to figure out what the deal is with the women’s gymnastics. Since when did having a neck become such an impediment to success that all the girls got rid of them. I have to admit that i love the competitive spirit at the Olympic trials. Its do or die, all or nothing, win or go home…unless you come in second in which case you get to go to the olympics too. It just feels cheap. Whats the expression about what it feels like to tie, “like kissing your sister”?
And speaking of family trees that don’t branch, living on the West-side is always hectic during the holidays. There is always that great west-side guessing game, Drive By or Fireworks? Okay, I understand when holidays are named things like Memorial Day or New Years Eve that knowing what day they fall on and therefore what day to fire off your Fireworks, or finger removal units as I call them, can be somewhat baffling. But its called THE FOURTH OF JULY, you should be able to figure this one out. If you dont have a calendar at home its still not too hard. It falls between when you get your food stamps and when your baby mammas get their WIC check. If you still aren’t sure when that is, look at the office calendar the next time you meet with your probation officer.
I was going to do this entire post about the westside but was running a little thin on material so around 945pm i headed to Walmart. “Going for groceries?”, my wife inquired. “Nope”, I replied,”comedic inspiration”. And boy was it the mother lode. All the characters were there, the dad with his “westside triplets”. You know, three kids that have three different moms but are all the same age. There was the barely conscious door greeter joyriding on the Rascal. There was the Mensa candidate complaining about the chips being 2/$5.00 when they were only $2.50 each last week. It was a treasure waiting for me to write about it. I had purchased one item and randomly chose a checkout lane that i could progress through it a time of less than 8 years. There was only one woman ahead of me and she didn’t have too many items. I barely noticed the woman for she was completely and totally unremarkable. She appeared only slightly younger than myself with a slightly frumpy look to her. Slighty oily hair pulled back behind a ponytail holder that was frayed and had already lost control of a few rebellious strands of hair. She would a slightly soiled tshirt that was a good two sizes too big even for her ample frame. I could tell you nothing about her pants nor shoes for their seemed no reason to analyze her any further. From the side, her face reminded me of no one in particular. It was one of those ppl that you probably have seen a hundred times but had no reason to really care to recall where or when you had seen her before. As ordinary as she was, the items that were marching down the conveyor belt into the hands of the completely disinterested cashier were just as ordinary. Milk..BEEP…..eggs…Beep….generic brand bread…Beep….Diapers….Beep… Walmart brand baby formula….Beep…..those no-name hotdogs that turn the bun and your fingers red…Beep. The cashier carelessly stuffed the items into bags as she loudly smacked her gum with that air of superiority that one gets from working..at Walmart…on the west-side…at night. As the order was tallied and the time for payment was at hand I saw the lady’s face for the first time. She had the lines on her face that bespoke of hard living and poor choices and then it went blank. Obviously the final total was more than she had anticipated for her eyes went from the register to the crumpled bills in her hand and back to the register. I watched as she began to contemplate what to put back , but she then paused to look at something in the, what i thought was empty, shopping cart. I hadn’t thought to look past the woman before and there was no noise to draw my attention down into the cart. But there it was in the basket of the cart, a baby carrier. It was filled with a slightly dingy baby blanket but just breaking the barrier above the blanket was the face of an infant. He or she, it was impossible to tell, was sleeping that peaceful blissful slumber that adults spend their whole lives trying to attain. As my attention left the infant and returned to the mother’s face, for i could no longer think of her as just a “lady”, I started to notice things that i swore were not there a moment before. The eyes seemed to be reddening now and then I saw it. I tear started to roll down the side of her face. It was soon accompanied by more, each one as silent as the first. As the cashier began to grow impatient, I heard the mother say, “But its only $3.00”. The mother began to look around her as if there was some trap door she could escape into and leave this unwinnable situation. As she began to make up some halfhearted story about going to the care to look for more money, i fully saw her face for the first time. It was the face of defeat. And then I started to recognize her. She was my wife. She was my daughter. She was the woman and her mother who I call my friends but care for like they were my family. She was the moms on the DC trip who put their life aside for a week to share an adventure with their kids. She was the labor pains that give a child life and the sleepless nights that comfort a child thru illness. She was the mother who buried her child more than 25 years ago but still loves that child as strongly today. As I was lost in this mother’s face , i heard a man say that he would give her the money. He had no change but would give her the samllest bill he had. He only asked that she would try to do right for someone if the opportunity ever arose. The outstretched hand held a $20.00 bill and the voice said for he to use the extra for the infant. As I looked at the outstretched hand, i started to recognize it. And then i realized it. It was mine.


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