Monday, February 22, 2016


I am buying a laptop computer to take with me to work at my prestigious and high paying part-time job behind the information desk at a nearby shopping center, a once glorious old one-screen movie palace gutted like a Halloween pumpkin and remade into a multi-level shopping mall (with a six-screen cineplex on the top floor). My job consists of sitting there every Saturday from 2-6, and every other Sunday 12-6, validating customers’ parking tickets and pointing the way to the bathrooms (“Every floor but this one, far right corner”) and the movie theaters (“Level four. Elevators or escalator.”)

There is also a Bally’s gym (“Down the hall, all the way in the back. Two elevators. Get off on level seven”) which does, admittedly, provide lots of eye candy, but even I can only see so many buffed and beautiful young hunks before my eyes glaze over.

So I generally spend my time reading or doing crossword puzzles. I’ve always mildly resented not being able to do anything constructive with my time there. Having the laptop will allow me to actually get some writing done.

One of my co-desksitters is a devotee of the type of gushing celebrity-fan magazines which, in their cloyingly unctuous oohing and aahing over every belch the latest famous-for-being-famous sensation makes, induce projectile vomiting. To admit that I sometimes, in an incomprehensible burst of self-loathing, actually force myself to thumb through the glossy pages of tens of thousands of the Beautiful People busily being beautiful. One of these abominations has a regular feature called, with a stupendous degree of condescension, “The Stars are Just Like Us,” featuring celebrities caught in unguarded moments by the paparazzi. “They hold hands!” (A photo of some utterly fabulously famous hunk and bimbo—neither of whom I recognize, actually walking down the street—just like real live people!) “They eat ice cream!” (Through-a-long-distance-lens of another utterly fabulously famous hunk and bimbo eating ice cream cones.) And, looking at the photos, I find myself oohing and aahing and overcome with envy and dreams of Hollywood fame and fortune. And to think, these gods and goddesses actually do the same things you and I do! It’s....ohmygawdIcan’tbelieveit…absolutely astonishing!

My coworker’s fascination with how the rich and famous (to whom and why they’re famous is not always clear) live extends to a British magazine to which she must have to subscribe, called, I believe Hello! (Catchy name, what?). Hellois an outsized publication dealing with the lives of British upper-upper crust, and varies from its American counterparts mainly in that not all the people in it are gorgeous. But they have so much money, they don’t have to be. The pages are packed with exciting stories of royal teas and horse racing at Ascot and apres-polo receptions. The most current issue has a totally fascinating account of the Earl of Effingham-Slough’s engagement to Pamela Upston-Brandewyne-Smythe. And…can you believe it?…she’s a commoner! True, her father does happen to own half of Scotland, is listed in the Fortune 500 (he’s number 3), and controls several hundred offshore oil wells, but…he is not titled. The Earl is widely lauded for his democratic selection of a wife.

And the most astonishing thing of all is not just that perfectly good trees were cut down to produce the paper on which this excrement is printed, but that people actually buy these rags. Contemplating how utterly devoid of interest their own lives must be to force them to seek some semblance of a life in a tawdry magazine is enough to make one weep…well, me anyway.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

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