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It’s Tough Watching the News these Days

     It sure is tough watching the news these days. There you are, listening to those somber faces spouting news of Iraq and ladies playing golf on men’s golf courses and… wait! What’s that? The Padres are ahead?!!! Venus is losing? Oops - what’d she just say?

     It’s just when you’re finally focused on the news reporter, waiting breathlessly for her next words – well, not exactly breathlessly, but with a sort of curiosity about what she’s leading up to – that’s when a couple of words scrolling across the bottom of the screen catch your eye. Something about the races… Del Mar?

     If you want to know, you’ll have to look down quickly or you’ll miss the next part of the scroll - the part with the critical information and if you miss that part, you’ll miss the gist of the whole thing and you’ve been waiting all day for someone to tell you what happened at the track and here it is – I mean, there it was – and oops! You missed it.

     Because just as you glanced down, ignoring the flashing banner instructing you to stay tuned for the winning lottery numbers at eight, the reporter disappeared and the new face on the screen had an entirely different voice and you looked up to see who he was. And that’s when Del Mar moved to Afghanistan.

     Humans weren’t designed to pay attention to five things at once – that’s why people only have two kids. I tell myself to ignore the reporter. If it’s after eight a.m., I’ve heard it already. And forget the static banner – it’s not going anywhere. It’s the scrolling words that have the meat. They’re concise. To the point. Un-opinionated.

     The networks could probably remove the talking face and run a whole bunch of scrolling news lines across the screen. Maybe throw in a bouncing ball to skip along the lines – remember those? (I wouldn’t admit it if I were you, either. That was a l-o-o-ng time ago.) They’d have to use different kinds of balls for each scroll… and we’d have to remember which ball we’re following. Was it the red? No, I think the orange…

     On second thought, they’d prob’ly put news updates on those bouncing balls and then we’d have one more thing to ignore. So it looks like some creative optometrist is going to have to design glasses or contact lenses that scroll. And stay static. At the same time. Bottom part scrolls; top part hones in on the talking head. Middle part watches for announcements flashed between the two. Anything else comes on the screen, tough luck.

     Until then, I’m going back to reading newspapers. So far, the photos don’t talk and I haven’t noticed the words moving across the page – not yet.

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