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So It Goes

by Jason Love


May 02, 2005

I love my chiropractor. Not romantically but how you love a bartender. We get together once a month like clockwork. I always circle the date on my calendar in blue (red is for my wife's period).

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If you haven't been adjusted by a chiropractor, go! You leave with a high you just can't find on the street. A word of caution: no visit is as good as the first, so enjoy it while it lasts.

For me, waiting in the lobby is half the fun. It gives me time to read. The doctor could take forever and that would be okay. If I'm with Kurt Vonnegut, he can take two forevers.

Last week, however, I arrived at the chiropractor to find that my reading zone had been swallowed by a television! Two moms sat there watching soap operas, which evidently some people do in lieu of leading their own lives. I settled into a chair, trying to heed my shrink's advice -- don't fixate. From my backpack I pulled two ear squishies. They killed most of the sound, but evidently Laura was distraught because Jack had impregnated her mother and everyone would find out that he wasn't paralyzed after all.

I clenched my book more tightly. My eyes tumbled over the words and my fingers turned the pages, but nothing registered. How could they do this? The lobby used to be my sanctum, now just another living room.

I reflected on other sectors that have been infiltrated by the TV: campgrounds, Laundromats, minivans, Thanksgiving dinner...

We are junkies hooked on the babble. That's why other cultures call us Babble-On. It doesn't matter what we're watching so long as it doesn't stop.

"Shhh. The TV is on."

"What is it?"


Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television, thought that broadcasting would become the greatest educational tool known to man. So it goes.

The chiropractor's TV raged on, and I kept losing ground. I glanced at the mesmerized moms, then at the TV, then at the mesmerized moms. What did this guiding light have to teach all its children?

The more I mulled, the worse it got. An Orwellian terror prickled my spine. Have we really entered the age of the telescreen? It didn't command our behavior per se, but it did wash over us day after day, shaping us with tabloid values while we gape with open mouths.

I couldn't take it anymore; I removed my ear squishies and went for the tube.

"This is my favorite part," I said, turning up the volume. When it became entirely too loud, I turned it up some more. The others looked at me the way my third-grade teacher did when she caught me selling Playboys, and just then the doctor arrived.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. What's going on in here?"

"Hi!" I shouted over the McDonald's commercial. "Pretty annoying, isn't it? Maybe I should turn it off."

I turned off the greatest educational tool known to man, and there was silence -- sweet, nurturing silence.

The doctor began to reproach me, then remembered my "condition." He nodded to the others and said, "Maybe it is time to give the TV a rest."

"Oh, no," I protested. "Not on my account."

The doctor insisted. Then he insisted that I go next because I was, after all, having personal issues. I followed him to the adjustment room for the very last time, knowing I could never return.

In school, we learned about Blaise Pascal. He said that all human evil comes from man's inability to sit still in a room. At least, I think that's what he said. I could hardly hear the teacher over the television.

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Copyright 2005 Jason Love
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