Saturday, September 16, 2017

George Stephanopoulos Never Sleeps

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My sublime, drop-dead gorgeous muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- Designated Sticky
Dana -- Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

"There is a time for many words -- and there is also a time for sleep." -Homer

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,

Humbug Alert: Although I don't understand how he finds the time, to sleep I mean, I'm sure he does. Unless of course, genetically speaking, he is or has been upgraded. Are there H. sapiens 2.0 loose in the world? Perhaps he's a hologram or cyborg of some sort. Ooh, I know! maybe he's a...

Sorry, never mind. I'm wandering off already and all I wanted to say was this is week two of your friendly neighborhood Crank posting bogus titles in an effort to lure more readers. Poppa's gotta' eat while he waits for one or more of you to step up and supply the lifestyle I would've/should've had.

To wit, had I not been kidnapped by gypsies from my wealthy, aristocratic, but dissolute family. The tragic story that culminated with my "father" winning me in a poker game in Deadwood, South Dakota.

What this missive is actually about is what a lazy man I am and how I wish everyone else was as lazy as I am and how I suspect I'm not alone in that fantasy. And why, although I understand the need for, and the point of, productivity -- I wish over-achievers, like George Stephanopoulos for example -- would slow down and set a better example.

I'd lost track of Mr. S. (while I enjoy the way the name Stephanopoulos rolls off the tongue there's just no way I'm gonna' type it more than twice, told you I was lazy). To be honest, I haven't thought about him since the late nineties. Mr. S., my dear Stickies and any gentlereaders who may not be aware, made his political bones as a conflicted minion/wunderkind of the Hilliam.

He left the Clinton administration shortly after they were re-elected to work as a commentator for ABC news. I heard somewhere (I don't remember what the source was) that when his tell-all book came out late in the Hilliam's second term that some of the Hilliam's remaining minions referred to him as a common-traitor. For some unknown reason, this stuck in my head.

For another reason, a known reason, something else stuck in my head. More on that in a minute.

[Note: Hillary + William Clinton = (ominous organ chord) the Hilliam.]

Anyway, while I was a-googling for something else, I stumbled on the fact that Mr. S. is now an anchor for ABC's Good Morning America. And that he's the anchor of ABC's evening news show. And that he's the anchor of ABC's Sunday morning news show. What? no game show?


Now, while I had a vague notion he was still affiliated with ABC, as what used to be real news on the talking lamp has devolved into infotainment, I've gradually, mostly, stopped paying attention.

Flipping the talking lamp back and forth between MSNBC and FOX news (as well as clicking back and forth between FOX news and USA Today online) suffices to provide me with an accurate snapshot of this particular aspect of the Information Industrial complex.

[The next paragraph, I admit, may be a bridge too far. However, I didn't have the heart to delete it because I really like it. Please feel free to skip it.]

OPTIONAL PARAGRAPH: Calvin Coolidge said, "After all, the chief business of the American people is business." Nowadays. business, and politics, and, well, everdamnthing in America is show business. And because the talking lamp has spawned kabillions of electronic rectangles of all sizes, the show never ends.

Anyway, Mr. S. became a poster boy for over-achievers while I wasn't paying attention.

Which brings us to Cindy, the girl I sat next to in the eighth grade, and my first overachiever. Cindy, like me, was of average intelligence. Cindy, unlike me, worked her ass off to make up for it.

Still, she was a good friend and a nice person, but I found her diligence baffling. Why work so hard for good grades in mostly boring subjects when all you had to do was work hard enough to get at least a C? And I mean... it's the eighth grade, we're callowyutes!

In my defense: I was a daydreaming, rock n' roll smitten, sex-obsessed (not that I was getting any), introverted, novel reading product of working-class parents who required very little of me. Also, it was a different world. While I had no idea what I wanted to do, jobs were plentiful. I'd worry about that later. After all, I was bulletproof and going to live forever. What's the hurry?

[Any and all Stickies, please note, the previous paragraph does not apply to you. Please refer to your parents, or me if I haven't been deleted, for clarification. However, I highly recommend that you all seek the balance betwixt work and the rest of life that makes you happy content and not work all the damn time just because someone told you you're supposed to work all the damn time.] 

Which brings us back to Mr. S. When I stumbled on the fact he works three jobs I went looking further and (re)discovered that the book he wrote, the one that got him labeled a common-traitor? Well, he received an advance for it, nearly 20 years ago, of $2,800,00, and, it was a best seller. Of course, a million went a lot further in those days.

See, by then the Hilliam was world famous for their world class scandals -- e.g., "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The world wanted to know what Mr. S knew about stained blue dresses, missing records that materialized out of thin air, and...

Well, it's quite a lengthy list and there are many books devoted to the subject if you were around but desire to be refreshed (gentlereaders) or weren't around but are curious what happened when the first boomer president (Slick Willie) stumbled into the White House.

This was the other factoid, referenced above, that got stuck in my head in the late nineties and was knocked loose when I accidentally stumbled on the fact Mr. S. doesn't sleep. I remembered thinking, at the time, that he was one fortunate son. A pile of dough to sit on, single, and a good gig to prevent having to touch the principal while he figured out when he wanted to pull the plug and go fishin'.

I'm older, slightly wiser, and know shtuff I didn't even think about in the eighth grade. I know that not being born into a rich family increases the odds that you'll not be a hooplehead. I know that anything worth actually having is worth working hard for. I know that a lot of things people think are worth working hard for are not.

I know that there's no such thing as a free lunch. I know that as a nation we all need to be willing to be at least as productive as necessary to maintain a country where the poor are fat and many of the 99% never stop whining about the 1% that pay nearly 50% of The Gummits tab.

I know that twenty years after Mr. George Robert Stephanopoulos was blessed with a golden ticket worth $3,000,000 (plus) I'd be willing to give up one of my less important body parts for $3,000,000 (without the plus).

I'd invest conservatively with a goal of making 5% interest so I could live on $100,000 a year (not exactly tough for a widower in Flyoverland), roll $50,000 over to keep the principal growing, and I'd leave half of it to my Stickies and half to homeless shelters.

Then I'd go fishin'. Told you I was lazy. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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