‘Ladies and gentlemen, your Powerball losers’

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

“Here’s what’s-his-name, the star of ‘Gossip Girl.’ So everyone wants to know, when’s the baby due?” I had never seen “Gossip Girl,” I didn’t know who the “star” was, I didn’t know with whom he was having a baby. The last time I watched a morning show, the featured guest was the person who had been kicked off “Survivor” the night before. Wow! Lucky the guy could squeeze in a TV appearance with his heavy 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 and the host said, “We’re running out of time, 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 “Gossip Girl” stars, how to grill a banana at your next barbeque, where Matt Lauer is, what Britney Spears had for breakfast this morning. 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 of water.”

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

When I watch the awards 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 that 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 is their solution? Cut out the good with the bad. How’s that working out? Oh, yeah, the Oscar telecasts ratings go down every year. Soon they’ll be lucky to be on a low-rated cable channel in the middle of the night. Wouldn’t it be smarter to stop giving awards for things that no one cares about and give more time to the things they do?

Can you please jump to the end of this column for no good reason at all? Come on, time’s wasting. I haven’t got all day to wait for you to read this thing. Oh, yeah, I forgot, I do have all day. Sometimes I think people want to hurry things along just for the sake of hurrying things along. It’s not just television, it’s our lives. There are people who stop every morning on their way to work at a fast-food place to pick up a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast. Because it’s fast. Very fast. They haven’t got a second to waste. They have to get back into the slow-moving traffic. I know, because I was one of those people. 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. When I got to the office, my boss said, “I haven’t got time to listen to your silly excuses.”

I said, “Did you ever work in television?”

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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