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Drugs, Mountain Men and MTV

From my column in The Goldleaf’s November 11th edition


While we were visiting the States, my cousin Margie graciously invited us to stay at her house in Twin Lakes. We decided to stay there a week so my wife could finish arranging her flowers for the Honeybee Festival in Hahira the next week.

While she was working, I sat in a very comfortable recliner in the sunroom with a view of the lake and watched television. Yeah, I know. The height of laziness is watching television while you wife works, but I don’t know anything about making clay flowers or arranging them. I was there, at her beck and call though, to go and get rocks or other items for her at the local Dollar Tree Store. I also made lunch runs, and grocery runs to the local fast food restaurants and grocery stores. I guess you could call me part of the support team so don’t be too hard on me.

So here I was, watching television and standing by to receive my next “honey do” assignment. I scrolled through all the channels and there was nothing that caught my eye except for the History Channel. Now I’m not sure if it is this way all the time with the History Channel in the States but this particular week they were running marathons. I like history, and I like television marathons, so I figured this would be a great combination.

The first day’s marathon was a show called, “Mountain Men.” I figured it would be a historical representation of mountain men in United States’ history. Maybe Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark,  John Coulter or James “Grizzly” Adams. I started watching and boy was I wrong. Other than being shown a little about how things were done in the past by a group of modern day mountain men there was nothing historical about the show.

It seemed to me that the History Channel had fallen into the same trap that MTV had several years ago. Remember MTV, Music Television? When MTV was first started in the early 80’s you could tune in at any time and see music videos starring the artists and everything was hosted by a VJ—a video DJ. As the years went by there was less and less music and more reality TV and comedy shows. MTV had left its roots as a music channel and had become another “me too” network. Has the same thing happened to the History Channel?

I finished watching the marathon and took occasional breaks for some Dr. Pepper (made with REAL sugar) and Frito’s Scoops—neither of which I can get in Southeast Asia. The marathon was entertaining at times but became a little boring. I mean just how many times can you chase bears and mountain lions off your property?

And I’m sorry Eustace but buying yourself a cheap pickup truck would make your life a lot easier than dealing with cantankerous mules and horses. And riding your horse into town to your meeting at the courthouse? A meeting that was to determine whether you get to keep your precious land. I mean come on, this is the twenty-first century and poor old Mountain Man Marty up in Alaska uses an AIRPLANE and SNOWMOBILE to get around. And zero points to you History Channel for lack of consistency in the portrayal of your current-day mountain men.

The next day I channel surfed again and landed back on the History Channel with a Pawn Stars marathon. I had watched Pawn Stars before and enjoyed the show, but eight hours of hearing Rick say, “I need to call in an expert” was enough to make me wish for a Korean soap opera. At least with a Korean soap opera I don’t understand the language and if I don’t understand a language I can tune it out.

And does anyone on Pawn Stars actually pawn anything? I watched eight hours of Pawn Stars that day and no one ever pawned anything. They either sold it or walked away with their tail between their legs after being told that the “last comb that Elvis used to run through his hair before he died” was a fake. And yes, we have an expert that can verify things like this.

I will give the History Channel a little credit for trying to make Pawn Stars a little historical with Rick pontificating about how the “English used this particular type of musket to fight during the Revolutionary War” and other tidbits of historical trivia that I am sure is fed to him by the scriptwriters at the network. And let’s not forget the mini history lessons served to us in the form of a short one question multiple-choice test served to us right before a commercial break. I sure come away from those with a better understanding of history.

I feel I need to say something about TV commercials while I am on a rant. It seems that most daytime TV commercials are now drug commercials. The thirty-second commercials spend the first fifteen seconds telling you how wonderful this new drug is and the next fifteen seconds telling you of all the dangerous side effects—and in some cases death. They always end with “ask your doctor if <insert drug name here> is right for you.” I’ve got to ask you, dear reader, have you ever asked your doctor if that drug is right for you? Really? Have you?

Most of the drug commercials are followed by ads from attorneys who will represent you and sue the drug company because you took their wonder drug with all these dangerous side effects.

Who names all these new drugs? Some of the names really make me wonder if I should find a job naming new drugs. What happened to the geniuses that created such drug names as “Beano”? We need those guys back.

And what about toilet paper commercials? Why do we still have these? Who is not buying this product?

Enough of my ranting. I am going to turn on the TV here and watch a Korean soap opera and zone out for the rest of the day. Have a great week!

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