The Reader's Eye on Television

A stupid Matt Damon movie is on. Any movie will do. I turn the TV up loud, louder than my neighbors will like, but I don't care. I have to get her voice out of my head. I have to drown out what just happened because it's making me feel sick. It was an argument. Like any other argument, it started out about something stupid. Dinner. The way people drive in my neighborhood. Just an argument.

The past is brought up. Maybe by her. Probably by me.

Things escalate. We're screaming at each other. She's driving.

"Fine!" I yell, open the door, and hop out when we stop at the light. "Go home, then!"

I slam the car door.

I check the street signs -- four blocks from my house. I walk it.

When I get home, she's at the front gate. She calls to me, "Can I at least come in to get my stuff?"


I gather her things from my bedroom, put her razor in her purse, put her blanket on top, and walk it out to her at the gate.

Her face is wet. Her makeup is running in long black rivers from her eyes.

We grind through the conversation like it's our last. It is.

We're at the white steel gate. She's holding her things in bundles in her arms. Is this it? Do I say, "Come inside. Let's talk," or do I let her go for good?

The argument drags until I say, "Good bye, Rhianna." I lean in, try to kiss her, but her lips won't move because her face is frozen in the rigor mortis of crying, and her cheek is wet against my nose. I say, "You meant a lot to me."

I turn back. The gate closes behind me, and I walk the 50 miles to the front door of my apartment. I can hear her crying, "No. Please. Come back. No."

In my apartment, I feel sick. I turn on the TV and push it loud.

I have to get her voice out. I have to get her out of my head.

It's a stupid Matt Damon movie. Any movie will do.

Thursday, January 25 Kia Commercial Seen: During any prime time cable show. This is the commercial where a group of Kia salesmen in red ties dance around and sing the "So long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye" song from The Sound of Music . What? You dancing nimrods! It's a car! You're creeping me the hell out, and as a selling point, dancing, singing salesmen are about as effective to get me into a store or dealership as "Free rattlesnake bites with every purchase!"

How It's Made Discovery 5:30 p.m. How It's Made is so cool. The show goes into great detail about production lines, gluing machines, vacuums that open this thing, which spins around, drop in some plastic beads, fluff this up, and bang! out the other end comes shooting a bottle of dish soap or golf balls or jet skis. I don't understand most of it. I'd easily believe it if the announcer said, "Here is where the unicorns add magic dust, and at this end the toilet paper is wrapped in plastic by elves."

Friday, January 26 Little Beauties: Ultimate Kiddie Queen Showdown VH1 9:00 p.m. I was a child beauty queen. Let me tell you, it's not all glamour and glitz. Oh, those days of getting my lipstick just right, costume changes, and dance practice, or the long afternoons under the hot lights of a photo shoot... "But, I'm a boy," I said once. "Shut up and get in your evening gown!" It was tough then, but I think it built a lot of character.

Saturday, January 27 Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God SciFi 9:00 a.m. I was never much into the fantasy stuff. I was a comic-book kid: The Punisher, X-Men, Spiderman , those kinds of things. Comic books are cool. Dragons are for dorks. Look at Wolverine! He has metal claws. That's cool. You dragon doofuses could learn a thing or two about being cool from a cool comic- book guy like me.

The Hawking Paradox Discover 8:00 p.m. Oh, good. I haven't hit my geek quotient for the week, and a show about Stephen Hawking should put me right on target. I might microwave some popcorn for this. I rarely indulge in snacks that can get lodged in my retainer, but what the hell, right? You only live once.

Sunday, January 28 Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed History 8:00 p.m. I can't imagine what security devices could be in place to stop me. On my red bicycle, I'll be faster than the guards on foot. Even if they have cameras, I'll still be in my Lone Ranger mask. The sight of my silver six-shooter should have them trembling. I won't have any bullets; I wouldn't want to hurt anyone. I'll need to get a new backpack to hold the gold bars while I make my escape. What could go wrong? Who's with me?

Monday, January 29 Live at the Screen Actors Guild Awards with Melissa Rivers TVGC 9:00 p.m. I drank too much J...germeister last Saturday night. If you've never been through this experience yourself, let me tell you that J...germeister is both the devil and better than a shot of ipecac for making a body go "number three." All day Sunday, I worked to get the headache to go away and to relieve myself of the baboon-butt taste I'd built up in my mouth. Still. I'd rather do that again than watch this show.

Tuesday, January 30 Genius Sperm Bank Discovery 8:00 p.m. Excuse me? I don't want to sound weird or anything, but I'm oddly intrigued. What could this possibly be about? It certainly can't be about the, uh, "process of harvesting." What could fill this half hour? Damn it, Discovery Channel. You've got me.

Wednesday, January 31 America's Ballroom Challenge PBS 8:00 p.m. I've got a challenge for you, PBS. Show something interesting. Anything, really. Stop your fund-begging, give back the money you get from the government, put a hold on all the British sitcoms about old people and early- 20th-century mystery programs, and show something that would be even slightly entertaining to anyone without patches on the elbows of their brown corduroy blazers.

Thursday, February 1 Top Design Bravo 7:00 p.m. Dear Lord, help me. I've only just now recovered from Top Chef, America's Next Top Model, and Project Runway . I'm sure my friends will set up a Top Design night so we can sit and sip wine and yell catty things at the TV. I don't know if I can handle back-to-back seasons of aesthetic-sense craft shows. I'm burnt out. I need some A-Team and Budweiser to counteract the Pinot Grigio and "making color work with texture."

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