The Couch Chronicles

Where the action starts

This is where the foot rubbing mentioned in my last post occurs. Many readers have inquired if they can bring their feet to the couch to get in on the action. Sorry, but my contract, annually renewed, is with My Life’s Editor. At our age, other than TV watching, foot rubbing is about all that occurs on the couch. We have had guests who have slept there using the pull-out feature. I can’t account for their activities. In case you wonder, the handsome painting of a pair of dancing feet, shoes on, hanging above the couch, was done by herself.

The addition of Netflix and Amazon Prime to what is available on cable TV has created turmoil here at the condo. We are stressed by chronic TMC syndrome – Too Many Choices – caused by a smorgasbord of goodies, from My Feet Are Killing Me, the Limburger cheese of cable, to The Sopranos, the spaghetti carbonara of streaming.  What to look at? This has made a muddle of daily life at a time when things are already pretty sketchy. Me: “What do you want to watch?” MLE: “I don’t know, what do you want to watch?” Me: “No, I asked you first.” MLE: “You decide. You have the clicker.”

Decisions come hard to me. The question “Do you want cream in that coffee?” can cause angst. We eat occasionally at Pacific Counter, a local bowl-type eatery, where you are “invited to craft your own cuisine.” We enter in, My Life’s Editor striding with confidence.  I follow in her wake, but linger at the door, holding the door handle, glancing back longingly at the street, where life was simple – look, walk, chew gum. I look up at the Pacific Counter menu board: 1. Choose a Base (there are four) 2. Choose a Protein (there are twelve) 3. Choose 5 Toppings (there are 29) and 4. Choose a sauce (there are eight). A silent shriek of pain explodes in my prefrontal cortex, the prefrontal cortex of a guy who can only handle grey socks, brown socks, and blue socks in his sock drawer. I calculate 11,136 possible bowl outcomes at Pacific Counter. Not to mention, bases and proteins can be ordered in half sizes. But I digress.

Because of choice overload, we limit ourselves primarily to cable TV and legacy alphabet stations. We occasionally venture into Netflix or Amazon Prime to check out a “can’t miss” recommended by a friend. In a recent Netflix offering we viewed, the male and female leads were tearing off their clothes and doing the horizontal mambo on a vestibule rug before the opening credits got past Assistant Associate Producing Intern. This is hard on two people who still worry that Lassie will not get to Timmy in time to save the baby bunny caught in a well. It also leads to second thoughts about some of our friends.

One of our faves is FBI. In each episode the FBI has about 40 minutes in between commercials to catch a serial murderer, a drug kingpin or diabolical terrorist. This is accomplished by the head honcho, Jubal, a barrel-chested, bearded dude striding around in a large room full of computer monitors, manned by actors who are glad to have paying gigs as extras. He no sooner shouts out “All right people, listen up!” than the whizbang geniuses in front of the computers are downloading feeds from cameras located on street corners, back alleys, and assorted men’s rooms throughout New York. Within minutes, based on a close-up of the evildoer’s left ear lobe, they have his mother’s maiden name, his blood type, his shoe size, and the results of his last colonoscopy. As stipulated by Hollywood script-writing statutes, Jubal has two-member investigator teams, male (1 each) and female (1 each).  One team is salt-and-pepper and the other features a Muslim.  They do the necessary daring-do, careening around the streets of NYC in cool black SUVs, blue lights flashing. As the episodes unfold, we find that they have back stories resulting from negligent parenting in their childhoods, enabling scriptwriters to bulk out plot lines in between car crashes and shootings.


Acting in FBI is based on the Stanislavski technique. Actors reach deep inside.          

(Agent 1 enters room, sees Agent 2)   

“Hey” (Agent 1, frowns)

“Hey” (Agent 2, ambivalent frown)

 “You good?” (Agent 1, intense concern frown)

  “I’m good.” (Agent 2, dismissive frown)

FBI episodes end with a chase and/or a shootout. The female cop chases the perp down a sidewalk full of extras, grocery bags and trash cans flying as the evildoer bonks into them. On the straightaway she runs like Flo-Jo, catches him at fenced-in dead end, throws him on the ground and cuffs him. She stands up victorious, uniform looking like it just came back from the dry cleaners. Alternatively, the agent team trails a bad guy into an abandoned warehouse (for convenience, the same warehouse is used in all episodes) and wanders around in the dark with flashlights and loaded Glocks, squinty eyed, jaws tight.

As the perps are toted off to the hoosegow, My Life’s Editor, comatose from foot rubbing, awakes. Her eyes flutter open and she asks, “What just happened?” These are the times that test a marriage.

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