The Reader's Eye on Television

Two Policia scratch the black leather soles of their boots against the grit of the sidewalk as they turn their backs to me. The Spanish in their mouths is the deliberate cadence of morning, and it falls out metered and low. One cranes back to me and his Spanish stops. His eyes angle in from under his hat, sizing me up. My head kicks up and I start running through scenarios, "No, officer, you've got the wrong man." I search my brain for excuses, "I don't have identification. I must've left it in my hotel room." He turns back around before I need to say anything, and the measured language comes from him to his buddy again, and I'm ignored again and the fire alarms in my head finally shut off and I think I'm going to pass out, but that would look a little suspicious, so I wave back and forth on my feet on the corner with two policia, ignoring me. Sunlight tumbles down the mountain above town, pops off the palm trees like golden fireworks in the air, and shatters across the waves. I'm another gringo in another ugly shirt overlooking another Mexican beach and I sigh.

Since I've been here nobody's given a damn about me. Boxy federale armored vehicles with rifle barrels that stick out -- black like coffin nails through canvas curtains -- roll by on the street, and the federale gunmen ignore me. Policia in shiny crisp uniforms on cobblestone corners ignore me. No one could give a sweet goddamn if I'm here or not, except the street vendors, looking for another peso. Thank the heavens. I'm another gringo.

At the peeling wooden sign that reads "Red Onions," I bound up the steps, cross into the dark shadow of the bar, and pull a stool underneath me. A sort-of cold bottle of cerveza and a plate of sort-of hot rolled tacos clink against the bar. The smell of limes cuts the taste of guacamole, and the gold beer fizzles. "Another cerveza," calls another gringo to Hector, the bartender. Another cerveza.

Mexican TV makes no sense to me. Since I've been in this bar, since I've worked through the taquitos and poured down the thin water of three beers, there's been the lamest chase scene imaginable up on screen. The aerial shot shows only the top of a tiny white Ford Bronco cruising the asphalt with police cars loping along after it in slow motion.

"What show is this?" I ask the bartender.

"This is not a show, amigo," Hector informs me while he wipes out a shot glass with a white towel. "That is football star, OJ Simpson, in his truck running from the police."



Thursday, January 12

You Belong to Me Forever

LIFE 7:00 p.m. Here's a movie that the director can't brag about to women he just met. "Oh, have you seen my movie, You Belong to Me Forever?" Come out with that one in the first ten minutes of meeting someone and all you'll be left with is the faint odor of burnt rubber and the fading glow of taillights.

The Office

NBC 9:30 p.m. Working in an office is terrible and boring. The game "How Many Rooms Can I Masturbate In?" can help pass the time.

Friday, January 13

O'Reilly Factor

FNC 8:00 p.m. Now that I'm making big money as a writer, I need a manservant. Someone I can ride around, piggyback fashion, and sniff his ears.

Dancing with the Stars

ABC 8:00 p.m. All I ask is that the poker be red hot and you get both orbs from lens to retina, clean through.

Saturday, January 14

Embarrassing Moments 2

VH1 6:00 p.m. If I gag my mouth with an apple, plug my right ear, and push rhythmically on my bellybutton, I can whistle "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin. I'm not going to do it in church, though, you sicko.

Sunday, January 15

Ebert and Roeper

NBC 6:30 p.m. Roger Ebert looks like a bowl of microwaved tuberculosis. If he came near me on the street, I'd flick a coin at him and run the other way doing that close-to-the-chest, tyrannosaurus-arm thing that people do when bugs fly at their faces and I'd be yelling, "yeeiggyeeeiggyeeiggy!"

Monday, January 16

Blind Date

WB 11:30 a.m. If you get nervous meeting new people, all you have to do is remember everyone, from your sainted grandmother to Mother Teresa, from George W. Bush to Bill Gates (everyone!), has itched their butthole and sniffed their finger. At least once; c'mon, if you say you haven't you're lying.

Tuesday, January 17

Naked Science

NGC 8:00 p.m. If I have to hear "science is cool" one more time, I swear to God I will compress air in my lungs and force it past my vocal cords, causing high-decibel sound energy to emit from my oral cavity.

Wednesday, January 18

Plastic Surgery: Before and After

DHC 9:00 p.m. Oh, sweet mercy. Please, don't let me turn to this program during any of the "operating room" shots. The blood and cuts are bad enough, but when they're combined with the ballpoint markings made by the doctors, it makes my eyes roll back and my mouth get a little too wet. Please, don't let me see this.

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