Now that the election is a distant memory, I still face a dilemma: Where do I find rollicking good entertainment?
Some of us might consider it sacrilegious to view voting, that hallowed foundation of our democracy, as entertainment, but once the Royals season ended and the playoffs/World Series were over, the election was the only soap opera in town.
I know raking and bagging leaves kept some of you busy, but I have a high-capacity mulching mower that pulverizes leaves faster than you can say “battleground state.”
So with my annual leaf crisis over and new batteries in the remote, I started clicking around for something to watch.
The thing that pleased me so much about the Royals was that they were a nightly option. The postseason that followed without KC wasn’t quite as good, but with the additional hoopla, it filled the emptiness the way nicotine patches pump up smokers.
When we signed up for our current fiber cable, we were promised everything under the sun but a rabbit hutch and straw. It might be my low threshold for boredom, but even with 1,500 stations I can’t find anything I like aside from the occasional Jason Bourne movie.
Bourne, the amnesiac spy, seems to hold my interest, not so much because of the hair-raising chase scenes and man-against-the-world theme, but the total ineptitude of a CIA-like agency that, despite hundreds of agents and futuristic electronics, can’t catch one man.
Between us, that doesn’t bode well for our pursuit of radical Islamic terrorists or Russian computer hackers.
But Bourne’s not on every night, so by a process of random wandering, I wound up with cable news, which talked about nothing but the election before the second week of November.
I know the media’s powerful, but I had no idea they could unilaterally put a halt to all world news other than Clinton-Trump.
The station I settled on had a series of regular hourly hosts, which satisfied my need for the baseball’s predictable structure. Each of the hosts had a nightly segment in which a panel of experts was brought in to provide a spectrum of views, commentary and ability to blather on, even when everyone else was talking.
With the advent of online news, I can’t say that I’d heard of the experts. Some of them seemed to be on every second or third night, so I figured they were being paid a nice sum, not to mention access to the back room buffet.
It’s only logical their appearances would have to be a cash cow, since who knows what obscure news organizations such as The Beast and Breitbart News pay their help.
The process of maintaining order among the guests, sometimes as many as six – three on one side and three on the other – typically fell to the host. Aside from being the ringmaster/lion tamer, his or her job was further complicated by the fact that some panelists appeared in person, some by remote camera and others via Skype.
The shows are addictive, largely because they create a sense of urgency that rivals a bull fight. Every expert has a unique view and spins it with an air of certainty that makes it seem they’d just gotten off the phone with God.
Things reached fever pitch on election night when a new expert was brought in with a pair of electronic touch screens that showed in living color how this trend or that trend bode well for Trump and spelled disaster for Clinton.
The electric jolts came one after the other until I couldn’t take it anymore. I had work the next day and went to sleep before midnight. I figured that if Trump won killing myself could wait until morning.
I woke up to learn that Clinton had been beaten in most of the must-have battleground states, including Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota, where people once are said to have had jobs making things.
There have been many theories on why this happened, but I’m the only one who believes Clinton lost the Rust Belt because her tetanus vaccinations weren’t up to date.
A day or two after the election, I withdrew cold turkey from post-election news and returned to the reading couch, where it’s been one Jason Bourne novel after another. The man gets out of more near-death experiences than anyone I know, with the possible exception of our new president, who came back from the dead Nov. 8.
If riveting escapism is your salvation, tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.