Walking down Scripps Ranch Boulevard recently I admired the 40 or so brand new Jacaranda trees planted in the brand new medium constructed in the middle of the road. These South American imports are very nice and besides their obvious aesthetic value, which I’m sure will be enjoyed by many thousands of people for years to come, they also provide a definite safety element by separating opposing traffic lanes. Yes, they are both beautiful and functional and I’m sure funding for the whole project (including watering these thirsty devils from this day forward) was allocated years ago, before the city and the state (and the country!) realized the current financial problems (not to mention, again, the current water restrictions we all face.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of nature, beauty, safety, and all things that improve one’s neighborhood; however, I can’t help but question the timing of these “cosmetic” advances. Having experienced Scripps Ranch Boulevard on a daily basis now for multiple decades, I can testify that it has operated just fine without these renovations.
OK, having written that, the improvements are done and I’m not against them. In fact, I plan on enjoying them along with everyone else. This situation did get me thinking though. There are a lot of issues out there, civic and other, that we should not be letting other people decide for us. What’s that? You’d like me to pick one and address it? How about… television. TV can be so good when done right—a great source for information, education, entertainment, relaxation. It can help you unwind after a hard day, help you bond with loved ones, even help pick you up when you’re feeling down. Sadly, here lately, I find a lot of the decisions being made about what to show on television most heinous! For example, do we need to support any more “studies” that investigate such mysteries as: Is it Dangerous to Text While Driving? or Fast Food: Miracle Drug or Silent Killer? Come on, before you know it they’ll be trying to convince us that auto-erotic asphyxiation can be harmful to your health…geez, Louise! Can we agree to stop supporting hosts or guests of shows that show a picture of themselves from 10 or 12 years ago and then can’t stop making fun of how their hair looked or what clothes they wore, or how they spoke. Look, it’s your personal history…OWN IT! Besides, if the “today” you thinks the “ten years ago” you is a dufus and the “ten years from now” you is going to think the “today” you is a dufus, then let’s face it, you’re a dufus. I heard this announcement spewing from my tube the other day; “Deal or No Deal is looking for new contestants…if you think you have what it takes.” If I think I have what it takes? Well, let’s see, can I pick a number between 1 and 22, can I scream hysterically like my feet are on fire, can I control my homicidal rage as the host and the banker poke malicious fun at my number-picking skills? Ahwww… I was so close. When was it decided that the only new shows we can handle are “reality” shows? Are we really that obsessed with reality? I wouldn’t want to spend a minute and a half in an elevator with most of these bickering, whining participants, let alone tune into their soul-draining shenanigans night after night. If you’re reading this and you’re dying to be a reality star, I’m going to do you a big favor…BOOM! I just made you the star of your own reality. Now go and break a leg. And, finally, speaking of breaking a leg, who decided that nothing could be funnier than watching somebody snap a bone or suffer some other grievous injury? Sorry, it’s just not funny. Oh, I know there are some well-trained sheep out there right now having trouble comprehending what I mean. As for the rest of you, I still have faith. You can fight the mind-control; you can come back to us; you don’t have to let them desensitize you! Reminds me of something a wise man once wrote—if it looks like raw sewage, and it smells like raw sewage, and it stains your clothes like raw sewage, there’s a pretty good chance that we all better start making decisions for ourselves!
Daniel J McAuliffe