LIFE Sorry, we’re out of time

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - Jim Mullen The Vil­lage Idiot

I flipped through the morn­ing tele­vi­sion shows this week and I didn’t know who any of their “fa­mous” guests were. Ob­vi­ously, I am not watch­ing enough TV.

“Here’s what’shis-name, the star of that new hit show on our net­work! So ev­ery­one wants to know: When’s the baby due?” I have never seen the new hit show, so I didn’t know who the star was, much less with whom he was having a baby.

The last time I’d watched a morn­ing show, the fea­tured guest was the per­son who’d been kicked off “Sur­vivor” the night be­fore. Wow! Lucky that the guy could squeeze in a TV ap­pear­ance with his tight me­dia sched­ule. Who are they go­ing to have on to­mor­row? Some­body who didn’t win the Power­ball? Whoa. Move over Ge­orge Clooney and Brad Pitt.

The rea­son I bring this up is that I was watch­ing a news show the other day and they were in­ter­view­ing a well-known politi­cian. The host said, “We’re run­ning out of time, so can you tell me in 10 sec­onds what you would do about the eco­nomic cri­sis?”

They’re run­ning out of time? They are on the air 24/7. All they have is time. They have time for “Sur­vivor” losers and net­work stars and “how to grill a ba­nana at your next bar­be­cue” and “where is Matt Lauer” and “what did Brit­ney Spears have for break­fast,” but for im­por­tant peo­ple with im­por­tant things to say, they have no time?

For any­one on tele­vi­sion to say “we’ve only got 10 sec­onds” is like the ocean say­ing “I’ve only got 10 gal­lons.”

What’s the rush? They can’t wait 10 more sec­onds to run the next com­mer­cial? The funny thing is, I’m start­ing to hear the “we’ve only got a few sec­onds” line on NPR. What’s their ex­cuse? They don’t even run com­mer­cials.

When I watch the award shows, the stars can barely say “I’d like to thank the Academy” be­fore the orches­tra chases them off the stage. Again, what’s the rush? Yes, ev­ery now and then, the guy who wins “Best Unseen Short Film Fi­nanced by Their Par­ents” drones on too long. But I wouldn’t mind lis­ten­ing to Jack Ni­chol­son for 10 or 15 min­utes. So what’s their so­lu­tion? Cut out the good with the bad. How’s that work­ing out? Oh yeah: The Os­car tele­cast’s rat­ings go down ev­ery year. Soon they’ll be lucky to be on a low-rated ca­ble chan­nel in the mid­dle of the night com­pet­ing against “Set It and For­get It” in­fomer­cials. Wouldn’t it be smarter to stop giv­ing awards for things no one cares about and give more time to the things they do?

Some­times I think peo­ple want to hurry things along just for the sake of hur­ry­ing things along. It’s not just TV; it’s our lives. There are peo­ple who stop at a fast-food place ev­ery morn­ing on their way to work to pick up a cup of cof­fee and a quick break­fast. Be­cause it’s fast. Very, very fast. They haven’t got a sec­ond to waste. They’re in a hurry to get back into bumper-to-bumper traf­fic. I know, be­cause I was one of those peo­ple.

Then one morn­ing, I made my own cof­fee, fried an egg and toasted some bread. I got to the of­fice three min­utes faster than I did the day be­fore, be­cause I didn’t have to wait in line at the fast-food place. The next morn­ing, I had ce­real with my cof­fee. I was five min­utes early. The next morn­ing I made blueberry pan­cakes with sausage on the side. I was 15 min­utes late. Big deal, I’ll stay at my desk 15 min­utes longer. But my boss said, “You can’t do that. It’s not like we have all day.”

I said, “How long did you work in tele­vi­sion?”

Con­tact Jim Mullen at

Some­times I think peo­ple want to hurry things along just for the sake of hur­ry­ing things along. It’s not just TV; it’s our lives.

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