Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Out of the Loop

You know you're seriously out of touch with the popular culture when everyone but you is ogling the celebrity standing in line in front of you at the supermarket.

There I was, waiting patiently, when a guy next to me nudges be with his shoulder and directs my gaze to some nondescript looking young man; "look, whatsisname!" the fellow says to me, and in response I give a puzzled look effectively saying "who?", though I don't get around to actually mouthing a vocal response. My companion (? associate ?) gives me an even more befuddled look and asks me "don't you recognize him?", as if to say "which planet are you from?" He waits for Mr. Celebrity to leave, and then asks everyone around, including the cashier "you know who that was, didn't you?", and indeed they do; he's supposedly a famous comedian or something on some show. Through it all I just keep beaming an embarrassed smile, as I can't bring myself to proffer as an explanation that magic phrase that's guaranteed to cause maximum social difficulty - "the thing is, you see, I don't watch television!" Nope, I just smile and keep my mouth closed - better to be thought somewhat clueless than to be considered - horror of horrors - a snob.

What is it about refraining from watching TV that grates so severely on people's nerves anyway? I've never been able to grasp the assumption that being less than an enthusiastic devotee of television is a surefire sign of either mental illness or elitism. The truly funny thing about the whole experience is that I still have no clue who Mr. Famous is supposed to have been. Whoever he is, he's clearly not on the "A" list of beautiful people even out of touch people like myself recognize on sight.