Having been forced into a prone position following surgery two weeks ago, I was necessarily bound to recumbent furniture and was therefore a captive audience of the Boob Tube for nearly ten days; which for me, consisted mostly of Turner Classic Movies, old sitcoms on TV Land, and the Sochi Olympics.
Now, already being a faithful follower of TCM, I knew that February was a good time to be laid up, as they are smack in the midst of their annual 31 Days of Oscar programming where, with the exception of 1950s and 1960s angst-filled dreck, one can usually find a great movie any time of the day or night for an entire month. For example, while awaiting the da Vinci robot in my pre-op room, I was able to watch most of the classic 1941 romp, Ball of Fire, wherein hipster Barbara Stanwyck delivers important life lessons on slang and boogie to an impossibly stuffy professor played by Gary Cooper. It was a great way to drift into the arms of Morpheus, as so artfully delivered by my anesthesiologist.
During the first day of my confinement at home, I was treated to a one-two punch of MGM leading ladies, beginning with the languorous Greta Garbo toying with the affections of the young and gorgeous Robert Taylor in 1937’s Camille, followed by the great lady of MGM herself, Norma Shearer, attended upon by a gallant Tyrone Power as well as the hissingly evil Joseph Schildkraut in the 1938 feast for the eyes, Marie Antoinette.
But alas, my love for movies is not served by the talents of method actors, and so when TCM saw fit to devote many hours of programming to their exhausting emotive efforts, I turned instead to the small screen characters with whom I grew up. And while I was not a big TV fan even as a child, still, if you have a lot of time to kill, you could do worse than to hang out with Perry Mason, Sgt. Friday, and Aunt Bea. I was particularly struck by the wry humor of the late 1960s iteration of Dragnet, with Jack Webb and Harry Morgan administering tough love to the turtle-necked punks of Los Angeles.
As I began to feel better, I felt it necessary to justify my week-long loafing by delivering daily accounts of Olympic happenings to my wonderful husband who waited on me hand and foot during my recovery before, during, and after his long work day. Both being huge American sports fans, we usually view the Winter Olympics as a sometimes interesting interlude between football, college hoops, and baseball. My husband really loves hockey while I prefer the intellectual aspects of curling, and as such, we were most disturbed by the dominance of the Canadians in these matters.
Okay, so it’s one thing when our hockey teams are consistently and brutally beaten by our friends from the Great White North. After all, it’s their game really, even if the paying customers in most NHL cities are Americans. But the buff, muscle-bound physiques and chilling efficiency with which the Canadian players dispatched their opponents in the recently concluded Games prompted my good friend Mike to call for stricter drug testing in curling.
And what to say about Johnny Weir that hasn’t already been said about his geisha-girl chic hairdos and junk jewelry? Suffice to say that whatever NBC had in mind in regards to his being the answer to Russia’s “oppression” of gays, it didn’t work out too well. As for the rest of the Games, it is my considered opinion that no sport in which the exposition of one’s tongue is de rigueur, should ever again be permitted on the international stage.
Near the end of my recovery period, reality appeared via Fox News, where images from Ukraine intruded on my revelry. Awful scenes of violence and bloodshed filled the TV screen where only minutes earlier, Aunt Bea had been baking Opie’s favorite pie. Not to worry though, as Barack Obama quickly and manfully responded by threatening someone, with something. I felt confident that all our problems and, indeed, those around the world would be ameliorated by the prompt and decisive actions of our esteemed Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. And then the drugs wore off.