TV Will Teach Me Everything


You know, I may not have a college education, read books, travel, or — to be honest — go outside, but I’m perpetually acquiring new information like a sponge, like a little baby, like an erudite scholarly intellectual type guy. I’m like one of those old sages who live in temples high atop isolated Himalayan mountains whose every word is a golden nugget of universal truth. You see, I have cable television, which means I have The Learning Channel, the History Channel, The Travel Channel, and The Discovery Channel. These educational networks dispense valuable wisdom to me. All of this wisdom is relevant and never ever misleading, but I don’t need to tell you this; it goes without saying the purpose of television is to intellectually enrich viewers.

The other day, I watched a show on the History Channel called Ancient Aliens about how thousands of years ago, extraterrestrials contacted the Mayans and bestowed advanced scientific knowledge (nothing too advanced though like light speed engines, microchips, or the fact that human sacrifices are an ineffectual superstition). This allowed them to design the doomsday calendar and map the stars. These are all historical facts by the way. The scientists on the show know aliens visited because of statues that vaguely resemble astronauts and also hieroglyphics that mention Gods from the sky. At first, I thought this might be a bunch of made-up nonsense fabricated by conspiracy theorists and financially motivated anthropologists, but hey, it aired right after a World War 2 documentary — World War 2 actually happened, so this must also have happened. They’re the same kind of show. The History Channel would never juxtapose the wild theories of crazy people alongside real verifiable events from history. That’s not a thing that happens. It would be irresponsible.

You know what the best source of history is though? Cajun Pawn Stars. Also Swamp People. Also American Pickers. Nothing illuminates the past like a pile of junk in some old man’s garden shed. Oh my, I remember high school history class when the teachers took us on field trips to the homes of lonely obese hoarders, and how we would gleefully rifle through mountains of garbage for precious artifacts from, say, the civil war or medieval China. The hoarders would mumble interesting historical facts like, “Sometimes I tear hair out of my beard and eat it,” or “Expiration dates don’t mean nothing if it still smells like a food.” Meanwhile, I’d pull out a broken bird feeder or a bottle full of ancient urine and feel the weight of history pressing down on me like an overfilled trash bag being shoved down to make room for more trash. Once, our eighth grade history teacher invited a man whose job was to hunt down and kill alligators to lecture us about the finer points of swamp life. I’ll never forget the lessons he taught me: shoot the gator between the eyes and shrimp goes well with damn near any dish.

Ask me about bible mysteries. The Book of Revelations. Apocalyptic scenarios. I can tell you how one day, an asteroid is going to smash into the earth, and there’s nothing we can do about it. All of humanity will be wiped out in a fiery inferno that engulfs the planet like a formfitting orange and red striped blouse, reducing our greatest cities to deserts of ash. I can tell you how a killer supervirus will be released by terrorists in the middle of New York City, spread across the globe, and infect billions in a matter of days, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Where are you going? I want to tell you how God will bitchslap the planet, and wipe it clean of all the irredeemable sinners still hanging around after the rapture, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Then, after the destruction, there’s Life After People. I know what you’re wondering: what will happen to the kitties and puppies after we die from, you know, whatever? I can tell you because I’ve been enriching myself with what I call Brain Treasure. Little dogs will die first because predators will get them, and big dogs are too ungainly and short lived; the medium sized dogs, however, will flourish among the empty ruins of our civilization, eating our abandoned pizzas and ice cream sandwiches. You’re welcome for this precious Brain Treasure.

Sometimes I feel like I should leave the house — visit another country or at least get out of town for the weekend. But then I remember: every goddamn place is haunted. Haunted Hotels, Weird Travels, Most Haunted, Ghost Adventures, America’s Haunted Castles, Haunted Lighthouses — ghosts have infested every corner of this planet. There’s A Haunting on Discovery Channel, Ghost Intervention on TLC, Celebrity Ghost Stories on Biography — I mean, I used to think ghosts were manifestations of imaginative people desperate for some evidence of life after death or fitting things they don’t understand into a preexisting framework, but turns out: nope. Ghosts are totally real. I know for sure ghosts exist all over the place because of the high volume of shows about them on highly esteemed educational networks. Network executives would never exploit the superstitions of an ignorant populace for financial gain; they’re not monsters actively perpetuating a culture of delusion. Come on. Everything I’m saying is true because it sounds true when you read it. Let my sincerity wash over you like boiling hot tar. Let your preexisting notions regarding “irony” melt away like skin covered in boiling hot tar. If earnestness was boiling hot tar, you’d be drowning in an ocean of boiling hot tar right now. You’d be sobbing as your lungs filled with my metaphorical boiling hot sincerity tar.

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image – .reid.