I know that you are going to tell me that I have told you, somewhere along the line, that there are no simple answers. If I didn’t tell you that, then your aunt, doctor, teacher, high-school counselor, marine drill sergeant, psychotherapist, drug-dealer (scratch that), coach, prison warden (scratch that one as well) or favorite bartender did.
Well, I make an exception and bow to the wisdom of the late Jean Shepherd. Jean Shepherd (1921 – 1999) was probably best known for his film A Christmas Story (1983). It’s a story of Ralphie, a young boy growing up in the 1940’s, who dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun, which he sees as a perfect gift for Christmas. Shepherd was also a radio raconteur and a writer of humorous short stories about growing up in northwest Indiana and its steel towns, many of which were first told by him on his radio programs. The stories were later assembled into books titled In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories: and Other Disasters, The Ferrari in the Bedroom and A Fistful of Fig Newtons.
In one of his radio monologues, he supplied a simple straightforward explanation for all the perplexing and illogical events that occur on TV shows and movies. For example,
- Why does the hero/heroine always go after the bad guy alone and not wait for backup?
- Why do the same bombs that blow up half the earth only put the smallest scratch in our hero’s/heroine’s car?
- Why do investigators use those little flashlights to search an eerie house in the dark instead of turning on all the house lights?
- Why does the hero/heroine return to the same, unaltered house in the same, unaltered neighborhood 30/40/50 years later and always finds someone (within minutes) who remembers what happened (in detail) 30/40/50 years ago?
- Why does the protagonist/antagonist always encounter the same investigators/doctors/lawyers throughout the story whether it is days or weeks or months or years later? And at any time of the day or night?
- Why do people in reality TV shows, who allow themselves to be filmed day and night to gain notoriety (and cash), suddenly demand privacy?
The answer to all of these questions, my friends, is – BECAUSE IT’S A TV SHOW!
If you are like me – and I pray that you are not – you spend any time in front of a TV set or in a movie theatre annoying all the people around you by saying “Don’t go in there alone, you fool!” or “Turn on the lights so you can see the evil alien coming at you!” or ”Don’t you hear that background music that says that shark is about to jump out of the water and cut you in half?”
So now you can just relax, kick back, suspend disbelief and watch all the TV shows, DVDs or films that you like while reciting this simple mantra. You can apply this simple rule to everything else – your financial investments, your relationships, your career, your life. Of course, you’ll end up abandoned, destitute and broke but then some creative producer will turn you into a reality series of your own and when someone watches and start to object about how this could happen, you just reply:
“BECAUSE IT’S A TV SHOW!”