The Reader's Eye on Television

"What the hell is going on?" I yell into the phone. "I've turned into a Possumizon!" "No you haven't," my girlfriend rolls with it. She's heard this sort of thing 14 times a day since we met. "You got something in your head from the show we watched last night."

"This time it's true!"

"No," she's steadfast. "It isn't."

"Just listen to my story."

"Okay, fine."

"I was taking the trash out after we watched that program about the Argentinean werewolf, the "Lobizon." I was loading the bag when I heard rustling noises from behind the can. I closed the lid and peered into the bushes between the can and the fence.

"That's when something sprang up my arm, bit my neck, and scurried down my back. 'Gah!' I screamed, and I covered the bloody wound with my hand."

"Really," my girlfriend says flatly; she's not buying a bit of it.

"Yes! Don't you get it? Bushes. Trash cans. A fence! Everyone knows this is the natural habitat of the Possumizon."

"You were bit by a possum?"

"No! A Possumizon, the walking hybrid between a man and a possum, possessed by evil and bent on eating human flesh."

"Okay. I have to go to work," she says coolly, irritation creeping into her voice. "If you were really bit by something, and God only knows if you're making that up or not, but if you were bit by something..."

"I have a tail, baby."

"No you don't!"

"It's skinny and pink."

A smacking noise comes from her end, possibly her hand against her forehead or her forehead against the steering wheel. "I don't have time for this," she says. "I'm going to be late for work. IF you were bit by something, I'll take you to the hospital when I get off... What was that? What are you doing? What was that noise?"

"I'm rooting through the trash, baby."

"Get out of the trash!"

"But I have to. I'm attracted to it. It calls to me."

"Listen to me!" She's lost it. She's yelling and there's a car horn honking. "When I get over there tonight, there had better not be garbage spread out all over the place. Remember when you thought you were a motorcycle? The oil thing?"

"I can't make any promises, baby. I'm not myself. The life of the Possumizon is a desperate one."

"I'm hanging up now. Seriously. What am I doing? What..."

Thursday, July 26 Walker, Texas Ranger USA 9:00 a.m. When no one's looking, President Bush dresses up in a black cowboy hat and silk shirt with a silver star. "I'm playin' dress up," he tells First Lady Laura. "I'm Walker, Texas Ranger. I'm fightin' grizzly bears and diamond smugglers." Dick Cheney's usual scowl turns to a smirk as he grabs his shotgun. The President yells, "To the Rose Garden, Mr. Cheney!"

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS 9:00 p.m. My bathroom looks like a crime scene. Something horrible happened here and we have to get to the bottom of it. It looks as though a chubby man wrestled a badger slathered in strawberry jam. Possibly raspberry. No toast. Dust for prints, although, I don't think you'll get any. Call it "Code: Ugly." Code: Ugly in the Olivieri bathroom.

Friday, July 27 Greek ABC 9:00 p.m. I wonder if the people of Greece are embarrassed to be associated with our universities' fraternal system. Really. We are a peaceful people. We harvest our olives, bathe in our creeks, and sleep on our stacks of hay. We are not drunken buffoons with bottles of Rohypnol stashed around our mud huts. And while my brother occasionally shaves me, we do not make a night of it.

Saturday, July 28 Discover Food at QVC QVC 8:00 a.m. Woof. If I have a choice in the matter, I'd rather not. Although their ridiculous line of faux jewelry, "Diamonique," comes in around the bottom of the list, "food" is the exact last thing I want to "discover" on a home shopping television network. I cringe.

Amerian Idol Rewind CW 8:00 p.m. This is like the war. I'm fatigued. How long will this go on? Is there an exit strategy? We have no goal. Young men and women are falling daily, and my heart hurts for them. I ask the powers that be, get us out of this, this nightmare by Simon Cowell.

Sunday, July 29 Deadly Encounter KUSI 8:00 p.m. I am not supposed to have the cookies or I'll get "the diabeetus." I still want the cookies. But Wilford Brimley's mustache commands me to eat the oatmeal instead of the cookies so I don't die. I am his cat. He strokes my back and he says, "No tasty cookies, and no diabeetus for you."

Monday, July 30 Hell's Kitchen Fox 8:00 p.m. Perhaps this show is a social commentary on immigration. The fiery debates that rage like flames from the range. "Hell's Kitchen," a neighborhood in New York renowned for its Irish population. Our program host is "Chef Ramsay," a welcomed foreigner with trade skills. Food is a common link to cultures of other countries and a bridge to acceptance in this nation. The breaking of bread. Hmmm...perhaps. Or, perhaps it's more reality show crapola from Fox, purveyors of all things awful. Yep, that's it. I was wrong at first. Carry on.

Tuesday, July 31 100 Most Wanted Bodies: Hour 5 VH1 9:00 p.m. This is the fifth hour of a marathon. I don't know anyone who could watch this for five hours. I'm good for, at most, ten minutes; usually only three. I know Sting said he can go for an hour or so, but let's be real. He's probably pumping up his TV-watching abilities for the publicity. And even that inflated estimate is well short of five hours. VH1, I am not a television-viewing machine. I am flesh and blood.

Wednesday, August 1 George Michael in Concert XDTV 8:00 p.m. As long as he sings "Faith" and shakes his little behind, I'm in. I will press my face against the glass screen. Shake, George Michael. Shake your blue-jeaned rear end against my cheek. Bestow upon me the power of a tight bun. BESTOW, I SAY!

Thursday, August 2 The Mod Squad XDTV 8:00 p.m. I've named my Labrador after that weird girl with the red hair from My So-Called Life . I don't remember her real name or her name on the show, so I call out to my dog, "Here, Weird Girl with the Red Hair from My So-Called Life ! Here, boy!" His nickname is "You Know, that Chick from Romeo and Juliet ."

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