It saddens me to think that a whole generation of American psychic mediums has grown so docile and weak. Trust me, I know. It didn’t used to be this way; maybe we can blame air pollution or global warming.
You would know, too, if you were to lose your precious University-sponsored Comcast account. The segment of this city that still relies on tired airwaves to tune in its television sets knows all too well.
The two geological nuisances that egotistic local nomenclature dubs “East Rock” and “West Rock” shield this town from intruding frequency modulations, fostering a natural monopoly for the signal of WTNH, ABC’s local affiliate and our only indigenous television station (channel eight if you’re counting).
When I get out of class every day around 4 p.m. and put the footrest up on the La-Z-Boy for a few minutes’ rest, I have very little choice. Well, no choice at all, actually, for the reason stated above. And every day at 4 o’clock, our own WTNH runs back-to-back episodes of “Crossing Over with John Edward.”
And I watch them.
I watch them day after day because my TV set and local topography won’t cooperate. They make my brain turn to mush.
Oh for the days when America’s visionaries had some verve! Oh for the caning of Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate for insulting Preston Brooks’ dead kinsmen! And oh for melodic cries for a sacrificial sheep to Tiresias from Ezra Pound’s chicken-wire cage at Pisa! Those were the days when men saw straight.
Alas, John Edward is no Tiresias. Nor is he a cowboy. He is just some working-class Joe from Long Island who teaches people that Granddad is not dead, he just passed. And people love to love it, lining up to be on his show.
I must confess, this Phil Donahue of the supernatural comes to me in my sleep. But I have a hunch it’s only a symptom of my brain’s repetitive stress disorder.
Sadly, I am no visionary. And in these strange times we need someone, however puny his powers of foresight may be, to deliver us safe through winter to the Promised Land.
So I have compiled a humble list of three sports questions I would like John Edward to answer. I hope his responses shall set us all free. At least they might make me a little money. When he visits me late tonight, I will ask him.
1) After losing their last two meetings by a combined score of 108-17, will the No. 10 Maryland Terrapins finally take down Florida State? It has never happened before, John. But this is the first time since I could speak that bowl-talk has overtaken College Park. This would be the symbolic victory that a battered stepchild of a program needs in order to show it has returned to the mix for real. Plus, if the Terps win, an undefeated season looks very possible for the first time since before my father’s first birthday. Then it would be first-year coach Ralph Friedgen who was the visionary, and you would have to give up your talk show. Probably not going to force that on through, John?
2) Will anyone watch the World Series? The Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants notched the lowest ratings of any MNF since 1986. But even that blew baseball’s league championship series out of the water. The tribute to Cal Ripken upon his retirement and Barry Bonds’ record-breaking homer campaign were the best things to happen to the sport in a long time. But maybe we just ought to face it: baseball ain’t TV-friendly, and most people don’t care how many trophies Derek Jeter has on his mantle.
3) Finally, John, tell me if you think the weirdness in the NFL will last. Is it possible that washed-up hurlers Kordell Stewart and Jim Miller could lead lackluster squads to division titles? I realize this might be a cruel ploy by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to boost ratings — every Pole in the Rust Belt who can’t hitchhike to the Big Easy in February will giddily tune in for a Steelers-Bears Super Bowl. I can only watch one football game a week, since I only get one channel, but I do know there are more talented teams in the league than Pittsburgh and Chicago. Yes, you are a medium of only marginal talent, but could you just help my Baltimore Ravens coax Barry Sanders out of retirement?
Once I ask and he responds, all I can do is wait it out. Gamblers have put money on lamer horses. These days, we don’t have much else to go with. As Hunter Thompson would say, the fat is in the fire.
I just hope that East Rock and West Rock don’t mis-modulate our frequencies.