Sorry, We’re Out Of Time
Published: October 26th, 2016
By: Jim Mullen

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's-his-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."

Story Continues Below Adverts

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?"