Monday, November 15, 2010

Van Winkle Goes Wild

Well, I made it this far. I have crossed the big "3-0-0 days to go" signpost, as you can see from the counter on the right.

At this point I have to report that honestly this project is becoming harder every day. I'm starting to have two to three second lapses when I allow myself to read a headline here or there.This is bad because it just makes me want to know more.

The latest instance happened when the newspaper was lying open on the kitchen counter and my eyes fell upon...
I swear I only read the headline!
I thought, "You know, it wouldn't really hurt to read Will's column to get a very brief summary of how the mid-term elections went. And then he'll go on to predict what will happen in the wake of the elections and that's not really news, it's just speculation."

I started building a case for George Will. He's not so much an ideologically-driven conservative as just a very skeptical thinker whose worldview centers upon the belief that almost anything humans attempt to do they will muck up; therefore, they should be discouraged from organizing and attempting grandiose reforms or projects, especially when it comes to that large entity we call "government."

And I've always appreciated that Will has a formidable vocabulary and knows his history and when it comes down to it the only thing he really believes offers redemptive value for humanity is baseball.

So I should check out what George Will has to say...

No way. I can't!

But I already did, or at least I had read three words, and now I couldn't get them out of my head. The transformative election. The political landscape had changed while I was "asleep." My own speculation was ready to start up like a rusty machine thrown into gear and and dying to clank back into action.

Further Symptoms of Personal Regression

The other sign that I'm not handling my news deprivation well is that I try to quiz people in a sneaky fashion in order to peck at a pathetic news crumb here or there.

The other night my wife and son came to the dinner table beaming because they had seen quote unquote "one of the best pieces that has ever been broadcast on the evening news." It was on CBS, they said and it was almost like a mini-documentary. It was at least twice as long as the usual evening news segment.

They were wondering if they could at least tell me what it was about because most of it was centered on the past, i.e., history. Then they remembered there was one current event aspect to it. They whispered to each other. Tell him or not? Conference conclusion: Not.

I went nuts! Tell me, tell me!

They refused. Likewise I couldn't pry any information loose when our son began talking about a TV commercial for something that he said might be "a game changer."

"What is it?" I demanded. "A piece of new technology? Improved laundry detergent? You should at least tell me the category. I mean, game changer is not a word to be thrown around lightly."

"Sorry, Dad."

Sorry indeed. This is when a fantasy occurred to me.

Van Winkle Goes Wild

I get myself a mask and a cape and...I become the News Peeper.

In the early morning, before the sun rises, I go out onto the lawns and slip newspapers out of plastic sleeves and read them. Then I put them back so no one knows.

During the day I'm passing by offices and leaning in doorways to see if I can overhear a radio or TV or YouTube video playing.

At dinnertime I'm edging along the neighbors' flowerbeds until I find an open window through which I can glimpse...the evening news!

Later that night I'm seen standing outside the cineplex, reading all the film titles and looking at the movie posters, jotting down information.

My sickness is such that I won't admit to myself what I'm doing. I'm cheating on my project. I might as well go all the way and turn on the TV at home, read my own newspaper, surf the Internet all I wish.

Instead, I creep, I peep. If you see me out there, someone please get me some professional help. But please don't unmask me. I don't want the neighbors to know... - V.W.


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