Fred, Frank, Tom, and Ted sit at their usual place at the counter of the Hullahoo Bar for their Friday night drinks with friends and not-so friends. The subject is TV panels.
‘You ever notice how the female panelists always sit cross-legged?” Fred initiates.
“Yeah,” Frank responds. “You wonder how they avoid getting cramps. I’d like to see what they do with their legs during the commercials.”
“I bet some physical therapist comes by to rub their calves,” Tom says.
“You ask yourself why they’re always sitting cross-legged in unison,” Ted says. “Are they hiding something?”
“You ever noticed how the male panelists sit?” throws in Cindy. “Always wide-legged.”
“Oh, they do,” Melissa croons. “With their hands folded at the groin. I wonder if they’re hiding something, too.”
“And some are thumbing their fingers at the same time while they’re pontificating.” Mary scoffs.
“Gross,” Cindy judges. “Why don’t they sit at tables so we don’t have to watch that exhibitionism?”
“It’s because male viewers like to see nice legs,” Mary retorts. “They’re not interested in what they’re saying.”
“Sure,” Tom interjects. “Some females wear their skirts so short that you see way up their upper thighs instead of hiding them.”
“I’m all for sitting at tables,” Melissa says. “Not all female panelists have nice legs. That’s discrimination.”
“Then the viewers will focus on too much facial makeup,” Frank says, “Ever noticed those dark lines under and above their eyes to hide wrinkles or a hangover?”
“Ever noticed those guys with black colored hair and grey beards?” Cindy shoots back.
“Why shouldn’t males have the right to paint their hair to look younger?” Fred asks. “Women paint their hair for that reason all the time.”
“We do because if we don’t you guys go look for younger blondies,” Mary says. “It’s all in the eyes of the beholder. Painting our hair works for us.”
“Painting your hair while leaving your beard or mustache greying is preposterous,” Cindy insists. “It shows you’re having your mid-life crisis.”
“So table or no table doesn’t make a difference,” Fred concludes. “That’s a level playing field.”
“Oh, and then you have those false teeth,” Melissa deposits. “Amazing how different those guys look with their instasmiles. They can’t stop laughing broadly to show off how much they paid for it, regardless of the sordid issues they’re harping on.”
“That brings me to the facelifts,” Ted says. “Nancy Pelosi’s multiple facelifts. Or Kerry’s endless botox looks. And those of other celebrities. Panels feel forced to ape the anti-aging trends. It’s absurd.”
“Every woman has the right not to look her age,” Melissa says. “It’s all your males’ fault. You men go astray as soon as we get wrinkles.”
“Hear, hear,” Fred says. “I repeat there’s no difference between tabled panels and legged panels. That was what we were arguing about.”
“I suggest that all panelists, females and males, wear pants,” Cindy offers. “That solves the issue.”
“Right,” Frank pummels. “So they all can sit wide-legged.”
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Hello Everyone: Ever finalized a manuscript? If you did, you will understand why ENCHANTÉ was out of the air for a while. “Francine, The Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State” will be out soon.
Now we are back with Tom and Fred, this time invited by World Wide Network to form a panel on important daily political matters.
“Fred, how are we going to do this?”
“Simple, Tom, you make a point and I make a counterpoint. We never agree because the opposite side must always be right, whatever side you are on.”
“But if I agree with you because you make more sense, why shouldn’t I say so?”
“Because you get fired if you do. It’s like a sports game, boy. You’re not supposed to kick the ball into your own goal. You must kick me as hard as you can, regardless of whether I’m right.”
“But isn’t that ridiculous? If I make sense, you wouldn’t agree with me?”
“Of course not. That’s how it works. You have fans on your side, and I have fans on mine. Each side wants the other to lose as badly as possible. Scorched Earth. That’s politics. It’s a sports game, the American way. Each side gets paid for making crushing opposite points. Otherwise, the viewers get bored.”
“Which side are you on?”
“The opposite of yours.”
“But which is it, left or right?”
“If you show me yours, I show you mine.”
“But does WWN not want to know first what yours is?”
“They will only tell me if they’ve seen yours first.”
“Can we switch panes when you like mine better?”
“For the viewer, left of the anchor is right, and right of the anchor is left. Don’t confuse people. They want to see which side you’re on.”
“What side is the anchor on?”
“Tom, don’t be stupid. It’s WWN that pays their salary. They talk WWN’s side.”
“How much do they pay?”
“The more they like yours or mine, the more they pay you or me.”
“Do they give equal time?”
“They may or may not. If you crush me or them, they may let me pay back twice.”
“Geez, Frank, this is really like Monday Night Football without referees or line backers.”
“It is, or more like national wrestling or kick boxing, male or female.”
“So this is how people in Congress live?”
“And what tax payers pay for. Your tax money is like buying tickets for the games. And to beat up each other in the streets if you lose.”
“What about those election slogans then, stronger together or America first?”
“Well, Tom, those are essentially sports terms. The political teams fight it out, either to show they’re stronger than the other, or to become first.”
“So we must fight it out on TV too?”
“Sure, if you want to get paid. Not physically, of course, like that guy in Montana, but by blabbing better and faster than your opponent, while keeping a straight but very false smile, as if you are the friendliest bastard or bitch ever.”
“Do we train for this before we start?”
“Don’t have to. Just look at today’s TV and you get the message.”
“Which side do I chose?”
“Just wait which side the anchor puts you. Then, whatever he or she wants you to comment on, you take the left or right side of his/her point of view. The truth does not matter. Nobody knows what that is anymore anyway.”
“But I don’t know in traffic sometimes what left or right is.”
“Doesn’t matter, as long as you take the opposite side. You’re insured by the media.”
“Fred, I’m going to sign up and hate you.”
“Me too, Tom, I hate you already.”