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Shell Shocked: Pet peeves, other musings

By ART STEVENS - | Dec 1, 2020


Today is all about pet peeves. I plan to rant and rave. I plan to complain, whine and bitch.

My first pet peeve is watching movies and TV shows about zombies. There is nothing I find more abhorrent than watching an actor portray a zombie. Is this the highlight of an actor’s career? To be made up in cement-appearing make up, lifeless eyes that don’t blink, teeth that appear to have been pasted on with tobacco tar and a walking gait that speaks volumes about the need for hemorrhoid remedies?

Can you imagine what the actor’s agent must have told him? “Well, I tried to get you the leading role in a touring cast of ‘Hamlet.’ You didn’t get the part of a neo-Nazi terrorist in an upcoming version of ‘Homeland’ either. But I managed to get you a part on a TV series that could change your career and get you noticed by the movie bigwigs. It’s the part of a zombie with a heart.”

Zombies are totally repugnant. All they do is look scary and hunt for normal people who yell and scream when a zombie approaches. This is because of zombie bad breath and body odor. And that’s why I never watch zombie movies and TV shows. I have enough friends who resemble zombies. Can you imagine a political zombie drama on TV where zombies are threatening to become a majority voting bloc in this country? So much for immigration being the issue of the day.

Zombies don’t care who they eat as long as it’s human flesh. Watching zombies devour human flesh on screen is not my cup of tea — especially while I myself am in the process of devouring a rib eye steak. It hits too close to home.

Folks, zombies are downright disgusting. They don’t bathe, eat normally or watch the Kardashians on TV. They mope along, arms dangling at their sides and are always on the lookout for normal unsuspecting human beings. Why aren’t there any vegan zombies? Have you ever seen a zombie just smell the roses and eat an apple? I’d rather watch women wrestling in the mud than zombies baring their cow dung stained teeth.

Another pet peeve I have is the surge in nonsensical reality shows. Surviving in the jungles of Brooklyn is no longer a ratings winner. The next big hit will be a championship match between top notch auto mechanics to see who can change a tire the fastest. The winner will get a free tour of Jay Leno’s garage. My idea of a reality show is surviving New York City taxi rides.

I recently received a citizen’s award from my peers for never having watched a single Kardashian TV episode in my life. I didn’t even know who this family was until the hullaballoo about Caitlin Jenner. My God, would I personally get this much public recognition if I decided to become a zombie? If I were a zombie in New York passersby would stop and give me directions rather than run in alarm.

My next pet peeve has to do with the number of available channels on television these days. When I was a kid there were seven channels to choose from. I knew the names of every single TV program and what hours they aired. Today I would need a manual the size of a telephone directory to describe every single program on the more than 500 existing channels. There’s even a cable station for zombies.

But wait. There are more choices in TV watching arriving by the carload. Netflix, Amazon, Roku and Hulu are producing new movies and series to compete with cable and network. I have only one option — to devote my life to binge TV watching eighteen hours a day. And I will watch “Casablanca” and “Gone with the Wind” another hundred times each.

And my final pet peeve today is the high cost of cable TV and utility bills. I need to be seated when I open these monthly bills lest my liver explodes. The two bills combined are more than I paid for rent when I was a single guy living in a studio apartment in New York. There was never a charge for watching television before cable. And my utility bills back then were about 10 percent of what I now grudgingly lay out per month.

Is this what Thomas Edison had in mind when he invented electricity? If Edison were around today he’d be considered the new Steve Jobs. He would hold periodic press launches the way Jobs did when he launched the iPod and iPad. Edison would exclaim proudly, “Friends, this is electricity. It is here to stay. All you will have to do is press a switch and you will have light in your home. Throw away your kerosene lamps.” But, Tom, oh those bills.

My final pet peeve of the day is about waiters in restaurants who remove dishes while one of your party is still eating. But I’ve run out of space. Which is another pet peeve.