I don't have to tell anybody out there, life can sometimes be a bag of shit. I can barely get through the 6 o'clock news these days without having a mini anxiety attack watching the unending parade of stories on war, terrorism, molesters, rapists and diseases. It's enough to make the most optimistic of us lose all hope.
Life is tough for everybody. We need all the help we can get to cope with daily living. Some of us turn to blunts and bongs. Some of us turn to alcohol and cigarettes. Some of us turn to Jesus. Hey, whatever gets you through the night as long as nobody gets hurt.
Me? Music has always been my way of escape; my way of dealing with whatever life shoots at me. When a bad day gets me down, blasting Black Sabbath has always done the trick. Usually, after a tumultuous row with someone, I like to "walk it off" and blow off steam and this is usually done with headphones blasting "Neon Knights" or "Supernaut" at ear-bleeding volume.
Additionally, a nice mind-numbing night of television watching every now and then is enough to take the edge off and anesthetize the senses long enough before facing another day. It's only natural to want to laugh proportionately to how bad a day you've just had, so television shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, Finding Bigfoot and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have become my indispensable weekly fixes. Hopefully, when the inevitable day comes and they go off the air I'll have already found new shows to glom on to like some junkie who's low on smack because right now I'm addicted to their fix.
It's no wonder Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Sasha Baron Cohen get paid more than Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Daniel Craig. It seems like there are more people who just want to forget about their dull, hard days and laugh it off, too.
So this begs the question, why do people watch medical dramas?
Medical dramas are television shows based around hospital staff and their goings-on. Shows like St. Elsewhere, Quincy M.E., Trapper John M.D. to E.R., Grey's Anatomy and House were/are extremely popular with millions of people tuning in each week. Unlike the usual fare of television dramas that revolve around the personal lives of its irritating cast or getting the "bad guy," the subject matter in medical dramas can range from sappy to very heavy to extremely depressing.
Who needs to spend what little free time they have sitting in front the television set watching, for example, a little kid be diagnosed with a terminal illness while his parents are in the midst of getting a divorce? Or watching family members say goodbye to a loved one in their final moments after a brutal car crash? What kind of entertainment is this? Although these situations are sometimes meant to be extreme to extract high ratings, its real-life probability is still too high to simply suspend disbelief and enjoy it for the casual televised entertainment it's meant to be.
For the people who love these medical dramas precisely for the heaviness of it all, why stop there? Why don't you all microwave a big basket of popcorn and set up camp on the terminal cancer ward of your city's hospital? Make sure you have all your sundry snacks and that you've taken a pee before watching a family euthanize a loved one. Remember, there are no commercial breaks in real-life.
The popularity of disaster movies also confuses me. Why would anyone want to spend a night at the movies watching the earth get liquified by a giant tsunami/earthquake when it happens too frequently in real life? Consuming Earth-ending fiction borders on nihilistic when we're so close to the end of the Mayan calendar (December 21 to be exact). It's like hearing about people who feed bananas to monkeys at the zoo only to get their arms ripped off.
Do you know why I loved Enter the Dragon? It's because Bruce Lee, single-handedly takes on a heroin drug lord and his henchmen and wins. You know why I love Star Trek? Because there are no such things as Vulcans or Klingons or evil villains that look like Ricardo Montalban hellbent on ruling the Earth like some sort of Space Hitler. You know why I loved Star Wars? Because Luke Skywalker believed in The Force and destroyed the Death Star. I like happy endings to while away my free time.
A drop of levity a day can shake off whatever life throws at you, especially when life is throwing bags of it. Besides, you gotta be suspicious of all the people who love to watch gut-wrenching, heartbreaking plot lines in hospital dramas and disaster movies. If the grass truly is always greener on the other side, just how easy does everyone out there have it?
Whether or not we're near to some sort of apocalypse, one can't deny we're reaching a worldwide boiling point and pretty soon something's gonna blow. When it does I wanna forget about it and just laugh. I want to laugh so hard until whatever I'm drinking shoots out of my nose. I want to laugh so hard that if and when the earth does split open like a cosmic coconut I'll be in too much pain from laughing at whatever zinger Larry David or Tracy Morgan just delivered that I won't see the flying doomsday debris that will inevitably decapitate me.