Yes, I am one of the perhaps millions of Americans who are subjected to the FOX network in a public venue that I happen to frequent.  For me, it’s the local chain fitness center.  The array of TV screens in front of the cardio machines is truly impressive, and I always try to get one in front of the local network for the weather or the cable network that carries “Gas Monkey”.  Unfortunately, I don’t always have a choice and often I end up in front of the FOX monitor.  Because of my schedule (I drop by after work, usually around 5:30 – 6:30) I have lately been favored with “The Five”.  Since five is my favorite number I had a passing interest in what might be going on.  And I should preface further remarks with the fact that we have no TV in our household so any corporate media presentation at all by default takes on a surrealistic tone.

Stay tuned for the surrealism following the loony tune balloon.

This diary is basically a brief monologue on what impressions I carry away from this particular clown show.  First off, I can only remember “four” of the “five”.  There are two women - the skinny blond and the serious brunette.   Yes, I’m a guy, so I watch the girls on the screen.  The blond has very little to say and looks like she could use a good meal.  The brunette is young and serious and totally the most commanding screen presence, but I can’t remember anything she says that was of consequence.  But she gets the most camera time.

The guys…well, seriously.  One fat guy in suspenders.  Sometimes, if my memory serves me, it seems he brandishes a cigar…really?  Is he a tough guy or what?  He may be trying for John Goodman’s character from “In The Electric Mist” but somehow Newman from “Seinfeld” comes to mind.

And the topics…so memorable.  One show last week the subject was about answering work emails at home, and they were all talking about how hard they all worked and what a farce it was that workers wouldn’t want to answer emails in their off-hours.  I call hard work the guy who cleans my office and can’t afford health care, even ACA.  And he has a tumor behind his ear that was removed a few years ago when MaineCare was once upon a time available to low income single males but is coming back and he can’t do anything about it.  Because of our tea party Republican governor who seems to be OK if poor people die because they are, well…poor.

Another topic last week was about taxes on corporate lunches and images of the Google office building filled the screen.  Since there is no “volume” on the sets I get to read (or not) the script from the subtitles.  Something about “double taxation”…who the f**k gets free lunches and why should anybody in their right mind care if a corporation like Google has to pay some tax on the freebies they drop on executive workers?  After working thirty years in industrial corporate America, I am here to tell you that most of the labor force is not getting a free lunch.  My current employer, which is a mega-corporation, won’t even reimburse me for lunches I am forced to pay for when I travel.  When I am at work in the office I pack my lunch, but I guess that doesn’t count for much.

But I digress.  The other guy I can remember wears glasses perched on his nose in the pseudo-intellectual manner of a glorified pawnbroker.  At least that’s the image that comes to mind.  Maybe he is trying to emulate a professor of something or other.  If he isn’t a pawnbroker he must be a bookie from the 50’s.

I watch this circus and alternate between frustration and despair.  The on-screen personas are so scripted that the word "caricature" comes to mind, except for the brunette who seems something like a real person so she will either have to dummy-up soon or be dropped.  Maybe she is there to offset the other clowns.  

As far as the fifth person, guy or gal, I’m sorry but you made no memorable impression.  Maybe next week if I’m forced to watch this program I’ll make a mental note to remember what you look like.  But be forewarned – I definitely won’t remember anything you say.

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