A Useful Metaphor

I don’t know about you but sometimes it takes a painful predicament to generate some semblance of an original thought.

I remember years ago having a conversation with my mother’s friend, Wayne when at some point he lapsed into his usual disagreeable monologue ticking off many of the ills confronting this world.

TV news does that to some people. It makes them overly obsessed with all of the horribly stupid bad shit that’s happening everywhere and they never take time to wake up to the fact that the so-called news these days is just infotainment.

At some point during this one particular long winded rant I interrupted him with a question. I asked, ‘Do you know the only thing worse than bad television?’ Before waiting for him to respond I gritted out, ‘Is talking about bad television.’

I confess I said it a bit spitefully – I’ve always had a low tolerance for boors. My cruel pronunciation was in fact a spontaneous yet honest attempt to cut the argument off at its knees. And it served to derail his rant.

I have subsequently discovered that particular observation, talking about bad television, to be a useful metaphor that can be applied to any given number of other situations.

For instance it wasn’t but a few years later that I was standing in line in a CVS pharmacy store in SE Washington, DC waiting to be checked out. The line was extremely long and while there were three clerks present behind the counter yet only one of them was operating a cash register. It was just another example at play of the collision of big city indifference and inefficiencies.

At some point the guy directly behind me started complaining to the person closest to him in line – namely me – about the obvious boorishness of the situation; like I could do anything about it anyway.

I turned to him and asked, ‘Do you know the only thing worse than bad television?’ Again not waiting for a reply I said, ‘Is talking about bad television.’

He paused, digested the metaphor, and didn’t say another word.


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