Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Educational Television

Television is indeed a wonderful medium, it teaches so much and then it sometimes shows you others in the learning process. But you are never quite sure who is learning -- the viewer, the writer, or those talking heads who the viewer is assured are really intelligent. I have learned so much from television that I feel I wasted years in reading and listening to all of those lectures. For instance I have learned the Bermuda Triangle should be avoided, I know that diet and exercise in association with virtually anything – like Chocolate Pudding for example – will cause you to lose weight. I have learned that smoking causes hang nails, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and dental decay, plus reducing your mental competence to the point to where you vote Republican. I now know that Americans – all Americans are obese primarily from eating super-sized hamburgers and drinking Cokes. Television is truly an amazing medium and I learn constantly from it.

Television has assured me that in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary Evolution is a fact and not a theory and that we have actually descended from apes. Nevertheless I believe in freedom of religion so I continue to support Evolution as a belief system. I am totally aware that at any minute a huge meteor will strike the Earth and wipe out all of mankind. Television has taught me that Al Gore and Global Warming are real and we are in imminent danger of being roasted alive – or is it freeze to death due to the coming ice age that is the result of global warming? It is all so confusing. . I have learned that if your career has tanked the solution is to immediately announce that you have a drug or alcohol problem and you are bound for rehab. Of course what is to be rehabilitated is the career not the habit, but then who notices. But these are the global issues that everyone has learned from Television, but there are many other lessons lurking in the background – if you only watch. For example in television land – men are essentially stupid, women make the best rocket scientists, that weepy men are attractive to real babe’s, and women are truly the master race.

Alas, while I don’t totally agree with all of the wonderful feminists who assure me that as a male I am doomed to the life of serfdom and ignorance I see on television, I do find some (slim) facts that indicate they might be right. I think this understanding of the male role begins with marriage and that you need only to examine recently married men, you know the men who think that marriage really didn’t change anything other than the laundry service. Of course all of those men who have been married for longer than the average age of a fruit fly know that once you have uttered those fateful words “I DO” nothing is ever the same. Life as you know it has ended and your lifetime of adjusting to the weird world of women has begun. This adjustment requires a lifetime and the reality is most men never reach any true level of understanding the female mind, they simply adapt to the conditions. Women are simply different and this difference is much greater than the simple physical differences. The very foundation of these differences begins with what is important and what is not. For example for women there are approximately ten to the 27th power of things that are important but for the average male there are simply ten and after food and sex (in that order) he must be reminded of the other eight.

Almost immediately after that fateful day that is enshrined in the female mind as “the Anniversary”, the male comes to understand that all of those things that he enjoyed are “tacky” and that his wardrobe falls somewhere between pathetic and embarrassing. But this isn’t really where the learning and adjustment begins. Believe it or not it begins with women’s sizes and underwear --- errrr – ah yes – lingerie (pronounced “lawn – jer –ray’ – NOT “ling-grrr -eee). Most men don’t put a great deal of thought into their own clothes and even less into women’s other than ease of removal. Clothes for men come in small, medium, or large and extra-large and men generally fall into one of these categories unless of course we are talking about jock straps and in that case everyone wears a large (extra-large is pure ego and generally would not be believed). Now I have been married for many years and I still have not grasped women’s sizes. They come in petite, juniors (but no seniors) plus sizes (which no one seems to actually wear so why stores stock them I have no idea), and a whole bunch of other sizes, which all seem purely arbitrary. The numerical sizes do not follow any logical system because a size 6 and a size 7 are only sold to anorexics and seem to bear no relationship to each other.

But the real difference between the sexes lies in their underwear. For guys underwear is really pretty simple. You have briefs for guys who like comfort, or boxers for guys who like the wedgie feel, or for those guys who can’t decide whether to be cool or comfortable you have the boxer brief, and that’s it!!. For women there are entire stores devoted exclusively to their underwear and none seem oriented toward comfort – the merchandise not the store. The sizes are as mysterious as the Periodic Table of Elements. Bra’s seem to range in size from skimpy little band-aid type things to cupful, handful, and up to “Big Bertha”. The panties range in size from little pieces of lace that require a bikini wax to the “Thigh Master” and there the name says it all.

But it isn’t just the clothes that distinguish the sexes, we also have differences that the typical male can never seem to comprehend. For instance take the toilet paper, which as any man knows can be found on the toilet paper holder. How it gets there is largely unknown and it is generally believed by most men that there is some sort of a toilet paper fairy – who based on television is apparently known as “Charmin”. Charmin is both squeezable and efficient and replaces the toilet paper as required – I think. But this is actually an example of how truly simple men are because the female of the species has distinct preferences regarding the placement of the toilet paper on the holder. Once married the male quickly discovers that toilet paper must feed either over the top or from under the role. There really isn’t any correct way but every woman has a preference and if the husband intends to continue his conjugal relationship he should master this art of toilet paper replacement.

But the toilet paper adjustment is only the tip of the iceberg in marital adjustment. Most men never really realized how primitively they were living prior to marriage or learned how to deal with the problems that they never realized were problems. One of these is the “noise”. At some time shortly after marriage there will be a noise in the night. This noise was initially heard by Eve in the garden while poor Adam slept. She went to investigate and as we say the rest is history. However, since that time, women do not go to investigate mysterious noises – that is the man’s job. This noise always occurs shortly after the husband has dropped off to sleep. Of course the husband after a long day of toil could sleep through the San Francisco Earthquake, but women’s hearing is genetically different. A woman can hear cotton rubbing on silk from a distance of approximately a quarter mile and immediately conclude that this noise is due to a drug crazed burglar intent on stealing the --- well it really doesn’t matter what they were planning on stealing because it is the husband’s duty to frighten him away before that event occurs.

Now any man who has been through this knows that pretending to be asleep is fruitless because the dear wife will continue punching him in the back until he gets up and searches high and low for the source of the “noise”. The newly married man will commonly pretend to be asleep but this simply demonstrates his naiveté because it won’t work. The woman will continue beating on his back until blunt force trauma becomes a real possibility. The next male strategy employed by the newly married is to explain the noise as “nothing”, but this won’t work either. Women KNOW that something dangerous has occurred and the noise must be identified or there will be no sleep. Sleep can only be achieved by the husband getting out of bed, prowling throughout the house in his underwear, and then returning to bed and announcing – it’s nothing – go to sleep. Now the man who has been married long enough to have been through this drill a few times, simply gets up goes the refrigerator, gets something to munch on, opens the door, closes it, turns on a couple of lights, and then returns to the dear wife and announces it was nothing. The wife is now free to go to sleep knowing that the home has been protected, the noise identified (it was nothing), and she is secure in knowing that her man has once again saved the day. But I digress – let’s return to the topic of Television as a medium.

Television is certainly a source of entertainment as well as education. Not only do we learn about men and women, we also learn about medicine, nutrition, and exercise. From television I have learned that if you join the Bow Flex generation you will look like a superhero in just a few short weeks. Clearly Bow Flex sweat has regenerative powers because they all look so young and healthy. But that’s when I discovered that if you only eat Oatmeal your cholesterol will drop to astonishing levels. This has been demonstrated clinically using horses and not one had high cholesterol, although some people who have eaten oatmeal for extended periods did come to resemble a Quaker. I think it was the hat.

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