A Look on the Lighter Side: It’s not my fault!

Judy Epstein

Something alarming has started happening to television shows, and even movies. It happened infrequently at first, but more and more, I find they are all afflicted with the same disturbing problem:

They just don’t make any sense!

“What do you mean?” my brother asks me. We’re all at his house, for the holiday.

“Well, maybe you’ll remember, because we were all here the other night, watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on TV. Somehow, it went straight from George Bailey contemplating suicide by jumping off a bridge… to, next thing you know, the whole town’s in his living room, calling him ‘the richest man in town’! It just didn’t make any sense!”

“Hmm,” says my husband. “Has this happened with anything else, recently?”

“Well, yes, come to think of it. Remember that Father Brown mystery, when I said the plot was even worse than usual? Or that spy movie — ‘Red,’ I think it was? There’s Bruce Willis, leading a lonely life in Cleveland, Ohio, and the next thing I know, he’s in New Orleans? Or maybe it’s Moldavia? It’s as if script writers these days aren’t even trying to make things coherent!”

“Hmm. Sounds serious.”

“Or that other movie where one minute, the main character is working in an office in Manhattan, fetching coffee; but the next, she’s in a cab in Paris!”

“Aunt Judy!” exclaims my niece. “Did you fall asleep watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada’?”

“No! Yes. Maybe. But what if I did?”

“Well, of course a story won’t make sense if you’re going to fall asleep in the middle of it!” she replies.

“And you certainly shouldn’t go around blaming the script writers,” adds one of my boys, “when it’s really just all your own fault!”

“Exactly,” says my spouse. “It’s like blaming the grocery store for why you spent too much money there.”

“And you’re blaming me, I suppose?”

“Well… I do recall suggesting you wait, and eat lunch first, so you wouldn’t be shopping-while-hungry!”

“Is it my fault they put all the chocolate chip cookies just inside the entrance? And the cakes and muffins after that?”

“It’s a cocoa conspiracy,” he cackled. “They stacked the tables against you… with baked goods!” He was definitely mocking me now.

“Go ahead and laugh,” I pouted. “But you were just as confused by that Father Brown mystery as I was. You just can’t admit it.”

“It’s true,” he said. “Except I have no trouble admitting it. The difference between us is that I don’t blame the writers for my own problems.”

My friend Eileen tried to console me. “Never mind about those cookies,” she said. “You can work them off by walking with me.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I muttered. “I don’t do that any more.”

“What, eat cookies?” Eileen was incredulous.

“No, go walking with people.”

“Why not?”

“I’d rather not say,” I replied. I didn’t want to tell her, but after another glass of wine, she pried it out of me. “It’s just that… well, Eileen, you’re a crooked walker. Whenever I used to walk with you, you kept bumping into me. I decided I’d rather just walk by myself.”

“Hey,” said my brother. “You used to say that about me, too.”

“And me,” said my other brother.

“And me,” said my husband.

They looked around the table at each other, grins blossoming on every face. “We can’t ALL be crooked walkers, can we?” said my beloved. “What’s the pattern, here? The common denominator?”

Suddenly my mother spoke up from her end of the table. “Oh, I’m so relieved!” she said. “I’ve been afraid it was me, all these years! Oh, Judy, I’m sorry, but I’d rather be able to blame you than be losing my balance!”

“Judy,” said Eileen. “There’s only one answer for you, only one partner who will put up with you and your crooked walking.”

“Who’s that?”

“We’ll have to get you a dog.”

“After all these years!” say my kids. “And let’s make it one that barks at you when you fall asleep watching TV!”

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