I was sitting on the floor last week, my back against the couch, watching the rather disappointing Bionic Woman simply because it was on. I usually sit on my couch, but it’s that time of the year when my cat immediately jumps into any warm spot formerly occupied by my tush if I dare get up to refill my soda, and I’m too wimpy to kick him out. It’s also that time of year when it’s dark when I wake up and dark when I come home. And it was also that time of the month when my hormones check themselves into the looney bin. Whatever it was, I stared at the television set without actually watching it and thought, “I could just never exercise again, right? That’s totally an option.” Some days I just want to sit on the floor eating warm oatmeal and forget I own a treadmill.
The next day I was standing in the kitchen, my back to the stove, washing dishes and watching the news on the portable TV simply because it was on. Brian Williams said good night, Wheel of Fortune came on and the announcer congratulated them on 25 years of shows. My mother used to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! every night after work (and probably still does). Every. Night. And while I love my mom and encourage her efforts to keep her mind active solving word puzzles and answering questions about the gross national product of Argentina, I never want to watch someone buy a vowel ever again. I’ve witnessed enough vowel sales to equal the gross national product of Argentina. How must Pat Sajak and Vanna White feel, coming out there every night for 25 years, watching contestants miss easy puzzles and ask for letters that are already on the board? I bet there are nights when they sit in their dressing rooms and want to forget they ever signed their contracts.
But I’m sure Pat Sajak and Vanna White are well compensated for their time, and my body is well compensated for all the time I’ve spent running on my hamster wheel. Pat and Vanna go out there every night even when they don’t want to and they do it with a smile. I may not be contractually bound to appear on my treadmill five nights a week, but it’s good for me, and I get paid in other ways, so I guess I will exercise again. There are some nights I’m sure Pat and Vanna love their jobs, when they give away cars and cruises to people who literally jump for joy over their good fortune. And there are nights when I feel so good knowing I can run two miles without feeling all that tired that I would jump for joy if I wouldn’t trip and smack my nose on the control panel. I can do that for 25 years. I’ll probably be doing it much longer.
But you could not pay me enough to watch another episode of Wheel of Fortune.