Posted by: coloradokiwi | May 13, 2008

Like sands through the hourglass…*

While watching VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, I saw a short bit about how Snoop Dogg made an appearance on the daytime soap “One Life To Live“, and he even somehow managed to re-do the theme song (whether it was just for that episode or for the series from here until the next time they change it was left unclear).  

Striking though that is, that’s not what this post was about.  The striking thing to me was watching a character I knew, Bo Buchanan, approach Snoop Dogg’s character as if they had some kind of past history.  You see, for a short time in my adolescence or early teens (having trouble remembering which) I was a junkie for “One Life To Live” and especially for its lead-in, “General Hospital.”  The funny thing is that while I had this sudden wave of nostalgia (sorta) and the instant recognition, it wasn’t the same feeling I had when coming across clips of old cartoons, or even the weird “I am _ years old again” lightning bolt of seeing an old network bumper.  Rather, the feeling was:  Dear God, I wasted my life in those days.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if there weren’t some good times.  Who can forget the famous saga of the Marty Saybrooke rape trial from OLTL, or the strange yet romantic derring-do of Robert Scorpio or the be-mulletted adventures of Frisco Jones?  (Aside:  just read the first sentence of the entry for either character and you can get a flavor for how batshit Soap Opera storylines can be, GH in particular—in fact at some point one of the few child characters, upon becoming a teen, managed to befriend an alien for a short time before contracting AIDS from her boyfriend and dying.)  

That said:  WTF was I doing?  This is not something that added anything, anything, to my life.  Well, maybe Marty’s storyline granted me slightly more empathy for rape victims.  But it’s not like I go through life thinking, “Well, thank Christ I watched OLTL, or I might think rape victims were merely whinging cockteases.”  I mean, I spent at least an entire summer, two hours per day, watching these programs instead of doing…well, anything.  It’s hard for me to come up with stuff that wouldn’t have been more productive.  As a result, rather than nostalgia I experience, I cringe rather mightily.

As should be appropriate for any childhood traumas, I blame my mother.  She was a devoted follower of both programs, although thinking back on it now I find it incredibly odd that I never once heard her utter anything about it outside of her viewing times, and I don’t recall her ever engaging in any meta-commentary on the show, even when it became apparent that her pubescent son was also watching these shows every day.  In theory this could have been some good bonding time during a difficult period in my life (as all pubescent years are for everyone), but that didn’t really happen.  We watched, then we did whatever else.  So…wasted.

Worse, this thought has a brother:  I feel like I wasted a lot of valuable time watching here and there, and pretty solidly at least one summer, maybe two (I could find out, but it would just depress me, I’m sure).  I can’t even imagine how much time my mother’s spent of her life watching these things.  I dare not calculate it.

There is yet another sibling thought:  even this time spent is, I feel, not as pathetic as the roughly 2-3 hours PER DAY during the week, from the time I was about twelve or so until at least fourteen, I reckon, where I watched Nickelodeon in the afternoon.  Now, I stand by my decision to watch SNICK, because the programming there was awesome.  In the afternoon, however, pure shit:  “Wild and Crazy Kids“, “Salute Your Shorts“**, “Hey Dude“…yecch.  By this time they’d taken “You Can’t Do That On Television” off the air, as well as stuff like “Mr. Wizard’s World“, so not only was there no quality, I remember distinctly that I didn’t even enjoy it.  It was just inertia…malaise…angst…  I dunno.  It was pathetic, anyway.  I think now about all the ways I could have improved myself by lifting weights, exploring, reading, engaging in pubescent sexual activities…hell, just spitting off a cliff.  Although overwhelmingly I blame myself for this, I don’t recall really being badgered to get off the couch and do something, other than household chores (which doesn’t count, because folding laundry was merely doing my poor mother a favor, which as a teen boy I was of course loathe to do).  I sorta feel like she and/or dad should have bullied me to do something more worthwhile, although let’s face it:  pubescent children are pretty unruly, and I would have probably rebelled just for rebellion’s sake.  So…perhaps on second thought I’ll just blame myself.  Sorry, mom.  

But I guess everyone has their shameful story of time wasted.  I shall endeavor to raise my offspring differently, to instill in them more purpose, to insist they get their asses off of…well, probably something akin to Facebook, only it will be on their portable net device.  Fuck, actually, I have no idea how I’ll fare any better:  there’s nothing to pull them away from, since it will be everywhere.  Sigh….



* Surely you get the “Days of Our Lives” reference, and surely you don’t think I’ve confused that with OLTL or GH.  Sheesh, what do you take me for?  


** I do not regret, however, that “Salute Your Shorts” had a character named “Donkey Lips,” and that that actor is still acting.  That’s way more fun, and more obscure, than shouting “Doogie!” every time you see Neil Patrick Harris.



  1. “Television is a god-damn amusement park”:

    I’ve never actually seen the movie (“Network”), but queued it up after seeing that clip.

  2. Ah, General Hospital – I, too fell pray to watching that one summer (!)

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