Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My three sons -- Chip, Robby and Mike (omigod, I’ve turned into Fred MacMurray, and I’m married to William Frawley!) -- were sitting around the other night watching old “Angel” television shows on DVD when they were struck by how many scenes of torture crop up in the vampire series. These programs were made for commercial TV, of course, so the torture couldn’t be too severe. This set the boys brainstorming about additional tortures that could have been used if “Angel” had stayed on the air, mild forms that would have slipped past censors -- “tortures that aren’t really tortures.”

A lukewarm shower could be a “torture that’s not really a torture,” they decided. Being forced to eat too-salty soup could be another one.

They came up with a list of tortures, most of which I have forgotten. That’s okay, though, because I’m working on my own list. Consider the heinous villain who would force you to:

--Put gas in your car at a self-service station.

--Stand in a long line at the Post Office.

--Shop at Safeway and face all those forced smiles and hellos from the employees.

--Listen to your crazy yard man talk about his mother and her misbehavior at the rest home.

--Answer the door when someone comes knocking with a political petition or a plea for money to fight hunger, disease, the wearing of animal fur, etc.

--Repack a garment in its original shredded box and fill out the twenty-three accompanying forms required to send it back after buying it on-line and discovering upon delivery it would fit only an overweight hippopotamus.

--Talk to your accountant about your taxes any time, any place.

--Revise your will.

--Use a public restroom that has the hand-drying blower mounted on the wall above the trash basket, so any attempt to rid your hands of moisture earns you a face full of wet paper towels, used tissues, etc.

--Listen to your wife’s best friend brag about her son’s exploits playing soccer, the world’s most boring game.

--Watch “Nanny 911” on television.

--Read a whole book by Jane Austen.

--Wait forty-five minutes in a barbershop to get your hair cut.

--Hand wash your car.

--Help your son with his calculus homework.

--Endure a detailed analysis of the Michael Jackson trial by a TV news network legal expert.

--Listen to people swap lines of dialogue memorized from movies you haven’t seen.

--Read in detail a benefit statement from a medical insurance company.

--Penetrate the telephone system at your bank and talk to an actual, live person.

--Discuss politics with the anti-Bush, anti-Kerry, anti-Clinton, anti-everybody conspiracy theorist who is remodeling your basement.

--Watch your neighbor’s puppy do its new tricks (sit, Fideaux! heel! roll over and die!).

I could go on, but you get the idea.

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