6 Degrees Vignettes celebrates #World Television Day!

Vignette #1: About those TV “Info-mercials”…

The Old Fogey in me…

I don’t feel old fogeyish but there are some things that I just don’t get. I don’t think that younger people find the same things funny that I do. And I get the “OK Boomer” stuff and the fact that younger people don’t like to watch anything from the fifties on TV or that is broadcast in black & white.

I get that they like streaming and who wants to see commercials anyway? But what I don’t get is that they don’t get what ‘funny’ really is. Some of the movies, and lots of the TV that is trending and highly rated is boring and just not funny to me.

The trouble with funny vs not funny

So there’s that. It’s hard to be trendy when you are not sure what the trending fuss is all about. Lots of times the supposedly ‘hilarious’ messages and tweets and memes are just not funny to me. Some of them are cute and mildly amusing. Rarely are they all that funny.

I like to say to people that I know really well, ( plus I know to have a good sense of humor!), that I know what funny is. One of the reasons I really didn’t get along with certain people in the past has been because they had no sense of humor. None. If you can’t laugh at yourself and the foibles of man, then there is nothing I can do to help you. As Jane Austen would say, “What is life if we can’t laugh at the foibles of our fellow man?”  Alright, I’m paraphrasing. Mr. Bennett said in Pride and Prejudice:For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

And to my mind, if we cannot laugh and don’t have a well-developed sense of humor about our own lives and foibles, then we cannot truly ‘live’ a life well-lived!

Oh, the places you’ll go & The stories they tell

This line of thinking comes from the idea that everyone has a STORY. You have to tell your “story.” Corporate-think is about  People love to hear stories and everyone has one, right?

Oh. the places you’ll go! It brings to my mind the picture of Bill Murray and his line in Stripes: “That story….about you & the COW!”

 The stories we tell…

One thing that we have to talk about is how storytelling has suddenly become a ‘thing’ to people…with these long involved stories in e-mails and commercials and ads…so we can relate and connect and then buy their products!

About those TV Commercial “Info-Stories” from Days of our Lives…

Like the stories from TV commercials constantly bombarding us daily about those who take these drugs to give them a better life-but only after a mind-blowing list of the horrific side effects that are likely to occur from taking these marvelous drugs…

And we know they work-because the drug companies have millions and millions of dollars to spend on simply…advertising their wares with big, long commercials that talk a bit about the drug, but mostly about the wonderful time everyone seems to be having after taking it

So we agree in marketing that everyone has a story. I get sidetracked even when I’m doing research for other subjects by things that just don’t jive or seem to fit. Because they are interesting stories about people I’ve heard of. They are distracting and may not be germane to the project, yet they are so American and uniquely bizarre to cultural behavior that I have to find out the rest of the story!

The Adventures of Fly Fishing with a Buddhist named Underdog

For example, the woman from the “Mr Ed” show, Kay Addison, was played by Edna Skinner. Edna Skinner was also an expert on fly fishing. Her role on the show was that of a fashionista whose only interest lay in shopping. The hilarious John Astin, who played Gomez on “The Addams Family “, is 91 years old and a practicing Buddhist! I thought he was dead; but instead he’s alive and kicking. He had a lot of energy on the TV show and his comic timing was perfect. Maybe that’s a good match for a Buddhist?

Here’s another bizarre story I ran across while researching something completely different. Marlon Brando and Wally Cox were best friends. That is something I would love to hear more about in a play.  “Marlon & Underdog” or “Mr Peepers meets Marlon” or something  like that? Oh, just to be a fly on the wall to hear the conversations! Oh, the places you’ll go!

Finally, sadly, the story was about singer Tennessee Ernie Ford,  and how he fought to get religious and Christian songs and hymns played on his TV show. He was a deeply religious man. The networks had been adamantly against hymns being sung on the secular televisions shows of the fifties. But Tennessee Ernie prevailed, and the show was a big hit.

The sad part was this. Ford was also an alcoholic and his wife died by suicide as she also suffered from alcoholism. We have talked of this before, regarding those who become famous. The warning still applies: Don’t play the Chords of Fame!

Vignette #2: Something Wonderful…

This is when the events of the day start to unfold. Sometimes it’s just more of the same. Appliances will break, people tend to get sick, world events start to implode…and in the interim there may be…something wonderful as we talked about earlier! Something wonderful may unfold.

Always looking on the Bright side of life..

We Americans always look for the bright side, the sunny side of life, and this includes those hidden silver linings. But the Brits have Monty Python. The song from Life of Brian called Always look on the bright side of life is the Number One request for funerals now? That can’t be right, can it?

I think we have to accept that many people are not religious, they are “secular” beings.  I went to one “Celebration of Life” recently where the departed was remembered in a very nice Community Center room with a mic and a table of hors d’oeuvres for the attendees. The remembrance was for someone who had no religious beliefs or affiliations, but lots of connections with the community.

Writing as a Profession: Something Wonderful

My writing, as the 6 Degrees Writer, has been about trying to make connections with people, But as a profession, writing can be an agonizing and lonely profession. That is, if you so choose. It can also be exhilarating and exasperating and all-consuming. The King & I musical has this song that really does express all those emotions with this “Something Wonderful” lyric.

That lyric first struck me as something akin to the notion of the split emotional lives we led when living with our “World War II era” Fathers. I only call that out because they were usually guys that would suck it up and didn’t always have “PC” views on anything.  That included the way they raised their daughters. The World War II generation had it tough, and they wanted us to be able to just suck it up too.

Something Wonderful Occurs now & then

 They wouldn’t always say the things you’d want them to say. But now and then they’d say: “Something Wonderful!” That is the way of it with life. It can suck, and be dark and boring and dreary. But now and then you’ll see, Something Wonderful will occur.

I was sort of down about all the different elements that are needed to do this website. All of the work I needed to do that had not been done, and my never-ending “Things not done” list just keeps getting longer. And I walked out one night and there was this baby owl sitting perched in the tree! Something Wonderful had occurred!

I can think of ‘Something wonderful’s’ that happen. Maybe haven’t heard from an old friend, and suddenly they get in touch. You find ten dollars in your pants pocket or coat that was tucked away. Something Wonderful! All of the little things can and do mean a lot when you see them as signs and omens of things that need to come.

Our lives are made up of moments where now and then they’ll be…Something Wonderful. We wait and hope and dream and worry and then something wonderful will occur. Here is a rotten writers cliché to end the vignette and it’s something awful. That’s the story of-that’s the glory of life!

Vignette # 3: The New Normal

We are now officially into October. Fall can give us all kinds of new meanings like autumn colors and leaves and thinking about holidays and getting to the end of the year. This has been a weird year where we kept hoping to return to ‘normal’ and we never did! It just sort of crept up on us and all was really turned upside down with politics plus COVID almost as soon as the year started!

The Abby-Normals
                               Miss Abby

So we have to pick up the pieces and just pretend that all is as it should be. But it’s really not normal. It’s “Abby-Normal” for the rest of our lives.

And even after we reached the one-year anniversary of COVID, there was this short time where we felt ‘normalcy’ might return.  But then came the subsequent collapse of our momentary lull.  And that has created ripple effects that are still cascading through our lives. The COVID outbreaks even in vaccinated among family members is another pivotal moment.

So we realize we are not through with this. It’s not done with us yet. We need to live in a world of masks and social distancing and eating outdoors and being apart. It’s not been easy for many people I know. And some have had to either readjust their thinking or just decide that they have had enough!

What is “Normal” supposed to look like now?!

Then, to cap it off, there is the mystery housing market in Tampa. What is going on? Who are the people buying all of these homes? And what is going to happen to us, post-pandemic? Are we ever going back to ‘normal? What does that look like? What does the future hold…?

What IS Normal now? I saw a United Nations report that illustrates what may be the topsy-turvy nature of our world going forward. It shows us that by the year 2050, Nigeria is going to overtake the USA as the third largest population in the world. Nigeria…? We will be Number Four. Russia goes all the way to Number Nineteen on the list! And India will be the world’s most populous nation. So we have always known that changes are coming….But Nigeria was one that I didn’t see!


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