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Okay, here’s the break from the “Argh-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life” meltdown posts.

My wife watches Y and R (that’s The Young and the Restless to you lucky people that have never been subjected to this horror) religiously.  Every day at 4:30 I have the option of spending time with her and being nauseated or leaving the room and later getting a talking-to about not spending enough time together.

My defense in this situation is to watch the stupid soap opera.  I don’t do it silently however.  No no!  I make sure to tear it apart at every step.  I point out recurring themes of stupidity, some of which I will list below.  You can think of it as your survival guide for the world of badly-written daytime television.  Or, as I do, you can think of it as a “How not to write stuff” guide.

  1. Everyone in your insular little town has at least one arrest record.  You are guaranteed to be put in jail for murdering someone who faked their own death, accidentally embezzling from one of the two major companies in town, or for doing something actually done by your evil twin.
  2. You have an evil twin.  It could be an actual twin, someone that just mysteriously looks like you, a ghost, a plastic-surgery-altered conman, a hallucination, or an actor whose character was killed off before his contract ran out.  In any case, everyone has one, including you.
  3. You will never have to be an awkward teenager.  When, as a child, you get too old to be cute anymore, you will be sent to a Swiss boarding school and enrolled in their accelerated growth program.  After one year you will return having dodged all those awkward teenage things like gangliness, acne, and inopportune voice breaking.
  4. If you get pregnant, you will be involved in a car crash.  Or an avalanche.  Something to jeopardize the life of the unborn child so that a pretend doctor can say, “We may have to choose between the life of the mother (dramatic pause) or the life of the child.”  (cut to extreme closeup of husband’s panicky face, dissolve to black, Cheeze Whiz commercial)
  5. You will have a severe medical crises involving a family member at least once every three weeks.  And it will always ALWAYS result in a coma.  That way you can show them lying serenely on a hospital bed through a window that always seems to be in the lobby of the hospital (private room indeed!).
  6. You can get amnesia by any one of the following events:  a severe blow to the head; a moderate blow to the head; a light blow to the head; a car accident; a boat accident; a gun accident; sneezing too hard; attempted kidnapping; acute embarrassment; ingrown toenails; explosions; a really hard math problem.
  7. You will trade spouses with your best friend/rival (frival?) on a regular basis.
  8. Make sure that you like the person you marry, because you will be marrying them over and over again.
  9. Your wedding will always be stopped by someone (usually an evil twin or your frival) right when the minister asks if there is anyone that knows a reason why you two should not be wed.  (You would think that these people would post security at the church doors by now.)
  10. The resulting fistfight will always involve exactly one good “John Wayne” style punch (pull the fist back, hold dramatically for a slow count to five, then throw it like you’re trying to hurl a javelin to the next county) before everyone rushes in yelling things like “That’s enough!” or “Break it up you two!”  And that punch is always landed to the eye (so you can have a good shiner applied by makeup) or to the lip (so that you can explain away the botched collagen surgery).
  11. You will not age gracefully.
  12. You will, however, be rich enough to eat out for every meal at the only club in the whole town, where you will inevitably have a tense encounter with your frival at least three times a week (seriously, is there anywhere else to eat around here?).
  13. When you are stressed out from that encounter, you have to be very specific about what you will drink to calm yourself down.  If you are a woman, you drink white wine.  If you are a man, you drink scotch, no ice, poured from a cut-crystal decanter.
  14. If you are a man over the age of 30, you will be wearing a suit while you do this.
  15. You will also be employed by one of the two companies in town (there is nowhere else to work, other than tending bar at the country club).  Each company has the following as their entire mission statement:  “To conspire and scheme so that we may yet succeed in committing a hostile takeover of the rival company, and to trade executives in and out of the said rival company like baseball cards on a fourth-grade playground.”

To be continued…