The Blame Game

This is the first of what will hopefully be a regular column in which I — an obnoxious teenager who wants to be a writer if and when he grows up — tell you — the sophisticated populace of the Lake Elsinore Valley — my opinions and so-called thoughts on what’s going on in the world (under the presumption that you give a hoot what I think).

Let’s get down to business. This country is going to heck in a handcart, or, quite possibly, a VW Microbus, if someone doesn’t start monitoring what is shown to our children through the Hideous Beast known as television! It’s just horrifying — nay bone-chilling — to see what awful things are being shown. Take, for instance, the article I read in a recent Press-Enterprise about a little boy who was afraid of being eaten alive by his toilet.

It seems this kid saw a commercial on television — yes the same medium that brought us such wholesome entertainment as “Charlie’s Angels” — in which a toilet turned into a monster. The article stated that the boy was “scared into constipation,” a phrase previously used only in explaining how the prison guards in Miami felt after strip-searching Manuel Noriega. It (the article, not Noriega) went on to say that the boy “feared it ‘would get him,'” especially when the commode on the commercial made “a chomping movement.”

At the risk of sounding really old, what is this world coming to?!? Why, I can remember when young people’s eyes and bowels were safe from such frightening images. I grew up in a time when the scariest thing on TV was the fact that Chuck Barris, the host of the “The Gong Show,” was allowed to drive, drink and vote, although I can’t say I ever became irregular over it. Actually, I’m surprised the boy’s parents aren’t suing the toilet cleanser company that made the commercial, since recent studies show that the less you are at fault, the more likely you are to be sued by someone with stupid kids, which reminds me of something else I read in the paper.

A 14-year-old girl apparently came home from school and saw what she must have thought was a glass of Kool-Aid on the table. Feeling thirsty, she proceeded to guzzle the supposed Kool-Aid, only to find that it was actually Clorox. When she learned Clorox has six times as much sugar and costs twice as much as Kool-Aid, the girl panicked and did what any normal human being would have done — she yelled, “Mom, call a lawyer! My pathetic lack of deductive reasoning skills is finally going to pay off.”

In the meantime, the girl induced vomiting by reading a teen magazine and watching “Diff’rent Strokes.”

Lawsuits have been filed against Clorox for not having a label reading, “WARNING: Keep this product away from small children and big children with small brains,” and against Kool-Aid for making their blueberry flavor look just like bleach, and for conditioning impressionable youngsters to think that anything blue must be delicious.

The girl and her mother probably will not win the last one, as the Smurfs filed a similar lawsuit against Kool-Aid last year and lost. I’ll keep you posted as further details become available.

And by the way — doesn’t “Kool-Aid” sound like the name of a rap singer?

My, was I ever proud of this. My first humor column! I made sure every single person I knew read it, and it was posted on the wall in my English class. Never having used bleach on my own laundry, I didn't know that Clorox is not blue, but rather some other, more bleach-oriented color. My first column, and already I'm making false assumptions! A harbinger of things to come.

Note the "thesis statement" of "On the Light Side" in the first paragraph. I apparently had loose interpretations of what it means to express one's opinion, because I said I was going to do it and then rarely actually did, not even in this specific column. I guess making fun of something could be construed as stating an opinion on it, but it doesn't always work out that way in practice.

I assumed initially that a lot of my columns would be like this, focusing on odd news items. I cut a lot of them out and let them pile up on my desk for months before I finally admitted that I wasn't going to be using them very much after all. Dave Barry, who I was usually copying in those days, did a lot of "Actual News Item" stuff, so I planned to follow suit. Fortunately, I found enough interesting things in my real life to write about, thus distinguishing me, in at least one way, from Dave Barry.