Drunk and Irradiated…

Stupid, random thoughts for the day:

I couldn’t find anything to watch the other night.  There’s nothing unusual in that, by the way.  Springsteen, after all, did a song thirty-ish years ago about “57 channels, and nothing on.”  Well, with the almost infinite options of streaming, there is more choice than ever before…and yet it is harder than ever to actually find something to watch!

*sigh*

There’s an old theory in marketing and sales that says you should never actually give the customer a choice.  You give him/her the illusion of choice, while guiding them to the “solution” you pre-selected for them long before you ignored their first hint of what they would prefer.  That thinking defines the “old world” of network TV and old-school movie studios pretty damned well, don’t you think?

The worst thing, for me as a recovering marketing & sales weasel, is that that theory actually works…

Unrestricted choice can be the most paralyzing thing in the world.  Look, I subscribe to all four major streaming services: Amazon Prime, NetFlix, Hulu and Disney+*.  Between those four, I can watch anything.  So why on fucking Earth can I sit there after fifteen minutes of searching and complain that there’s nothing on?!

*And before you criticize me for the Disney-thing, let’s all repeat to ourselves the key reason: “The Mandalorian”.  ‘Nuff said.

After those fifteen minutes of futility, do you know what I did?  I started up a show I’ve watched hundreds of times before.  That act of pathetic surrender wasn’t the low point of the night, however.  No, the low point of the night came when I realized that the show on which I had finally settled — one of my top-5 all time favorites — had just hit it’s 20th freaking birthday!  Wait, godfuckingdammitalltomotherfuckinghell!!  Just how the hell can Firefly be 20 damned years old?!  It was cancelled just the other day!

Then I thought about the other four in my top five TV shows:  M*A*S*H, Cheers, Star Trek (the original, of course!), and The Wire

Are you kidding me?  Shit, I just realized that I really am getting old…now get off my fucking lawn!

Ahem.

My solution to the whole depressing dilemma, by the way, has been no help.  Books aside, when I turn away from TV and movies, I turn to video games.  Well, the game I chose to pick up was a user-created mod for a current video strategy game.  That mod was built on the lore and world of the Fallout series of games.  That, of course, meant that I had to go and revisit the actual games the mod was based on…

Look, not only am I now pissed off about getting old, but I have started replaying computer games that (kinda) go back to my college days*!  And just to add some salt to the wound, it is a game series that takes a very, very wry look at nostalgia and the urge to hearken back to “better times”!

*An interesting note for my fellow nerds out there: one of my college roommates was a programmer on the original “Fallout” game while we were in school.

Wait…wasn’t the bottle of bourbon full when I started looking for something to watch?  By the time I got killed by that first deathclaw in Fallout 3, the level of liquor was a whole lot lower…

People ask me, by the way, what is the best thing about being a writer.  I would lie and tell them that it was the money, but not even I am that good of a liar.  So, instead, I go with honesty: the best part of being a writer is the ability to take any random, stupid thought and turn it into six or seven hundred words of (hopefully!) coherent prose.

{Musical Note — I didn’t want to do a song that I identify specifically with nostalgia, so instead I decided to go a little sideways with the idea.  Look, I’ve told you before that I’m a hockey guy.  I love hockey.  I also happen to play a lot of hockey — and I do mean a lot.  One of my teammates had a young son whose team was playing in the same tournament in which we were playing.  Before his son’s game, my friend and I stopped into their locker room to feel…well…not so old.  Long before we even opened the door came the unmistakable sound of blaring music and 20 middle school kids belting out the song below — and can you get more throwback or nostalgic than that?!}

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