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August 8, 2006

TV is your friend

Yesterday I got a question from a reader, "Who is this Kitty Carlisle you speak of?"

I am so glad you asked! Long before Lorelai Gilmore showed up, I would face all crises both big and small by asking myself, "What Would Kitty Carlisle Do?" There's perhaps nothing more indicative of mental instability than taking all your social behavior clues from a group of cheery, chain-smoking 1950s game show celebrities.

But anyway. I REALLY wanted to be Kitty Carlisle.

I discovered Kitty on the Game Show Network when I was still married and living in an apartment with Mr. X in Studio City, and I was desperately unhappy with my job and my life and it was 1999, right before folks started telling us the world was gonna end (so go buy toilet paper! stock up on canned goods! the power grid will fail!) (I stocked up on wine and cheetos) and I would stay up late at night watching old game show re-runs on the TV.

My favorites were the really old episodes of "To Tell The Truth" and "What's My Line?" where Kitty Carlisle swooshed around in snazzy cocktail dresses and Soupy Sales made off-the-cuff remarks about his fabulous New York nightlife escapades. They appeared to have fantastic lives, with nothing but cocktail hour, seeing plays on Broadway, and guest-hosting on game shows. I imagined they probably had vodka tonics and ham-and-cheese pinwheels in their dressing rooms. They wore a lot of flammable materials. They spoke eloquently, had high-falutin' accents and sometimes Kitty even wore elbow-length gloves or a tiara.

Interjection Of Necessary Factual Information:
A few weeks ago, I made a Kitty Carlisle reference when I was out on a first date. The guy I was with proudly told me that he does not own a television and (insert snotty tone of voice here) had not watched TV in over a year. Looked at me with one eyebrow arched.

Good grief. I mean it's fine if you don't watch TV, in fact I'd probably have a much smaller ass if I myself got out more, but I have about a real short fuse for people puffing up on Holier Than Thou, especially on a first date.

I guess I was supposed to recognize his utter superiority over those of us too weak and shallow to abstain from the TV, but all I just drawled out my best hillbilly accent to inform him, "You know they have them thar TV sets real cheap at The WalMart!"

Needless to say, he was not amused.
Needless to add, it was our first and last date.
End Factual Interlude

So anyway. I like TV. I like watching Brenda Lee on "The Closer" drawl out something to a bunch of citified Los Angeles cops (makes me feel like Yes, ya'll, The Southern Woman Can Kick Your Butt!) And when a shirtless Sayid went to fetch water for Shannon (pre-death) on LOST, I thought I myself had died and gone to heaven. I even watch the news sometimes, Anderson Cooper.

Even when TV is bad, it’s still so very, very good.

My entire family is kind of off-kilter with the TV love. I called my mom and dad once, just to check in.

"Hi, what are you guys up to?" I asked.

"Oh, your dad and I are just sitting here in the kitchen, shelling black-eyed peas," said my mom.

"Ooooh, fun," I said. "You two crazy kids."

"Well, your father bought a bushel of black-eyed peas. Do you know how many pounds that is? That’s 28 pounds of black-eyed peas."

"Oh. My. Gawd. What would anyone on the face of this earth need with 28 pounds of black-eyed peas?"

"He’s going to vacuum-seal them and freeze them."

Ah. The light had dawned upon me. My dad doesn’t need 28 pounds of black-eyed peas. My dad wants to use his new toy, the Super Dooper Vacuum Sealer Thingamajig!

My dad is the coolest guy on the face of the earth. But he has this, um, little problem. He loves infomercials. And I inherited that trait from him, it’s right there on my DNA strand next to the newspaper-loving gene and the smartass gene. I love to stay up late at night and watch infomercials, marvel in their chipper craftiness, bask in the light of only four easy payments! And the free gifts! It’s enough to make one salivate on the way to the telephone -- hurry! Operators are standing by!

I have seen the vacuum-pack thingamajig infomercial once or twice. It’s that device that not only stores food in airtight freshness, it also sucks the air out of bulky linens and comforters for convenient wintertime storage. It’s a miracle of modern science, in perfect plasticine containers.

According to my mom, Dad went a little wild with the vacuum sealing when his new toy, er, much-needed household implement, arrived.

"He ‘tested’ the vacuum sealer on the TV Guide, he shrink-wrapped an umbrella, two sets of bath towels, our entire collection of steak knives and an egg."

"So," I said, "Did you get the free super-whirl hand mixer with purchase?"

"Yes, I think so," she said, "but your dad vacuum sealed it and now we can’t use it."

Just think, with a gadget like that, you could make literally hundreds of canapes and finger-foods and ham-and-cheese pinwheels and seal 'em up ready and waiting for their next Kitty Carlisle dress-up party.

Flammable fabrics and elbow-length gloves optional, of course.

Posted by laurie at August 8, 2006 11:37 AM