Don’t ask me why, but for the third night in a row I woke up in the wee hours and had trouble going back to sleep. Don’t lecture me, but my solution for returning to sleep is to watch TV.
I know; you’re supposed to get out of bed and read a book. What happened in the yesteryear days when I tried that was that I just kept reading and reading, getting to the end of a chapter and figuring I’d just get past that cliffhanger and then sleep, but continuing to read, frequently to the book’s end.
Now, with the eye appointment I keep putting off, I think I would need Alvin Fernald’s (if you read the young adult books I like to default to in the wee hours you’d know who he is) light-up goggles to be able to get enough light on the page to actually read — and bright light seems a lot more defeating than TV light.
I can’t watch just any TV, though, when I’m trying to sleep: what works best are old familiars like SpongeBob or Corner Gas. Failing those, something very low-key, like the home shows on HGTV, will work. But the hour from 4 to 5 a.m. has always been a dud zone for TV.
In this modern age, technology abounds so I shouldn’t have to rely on the Andy Griffith Spectacular. (Honestly! The Andy Griffith Show on not one but two channels; Matlock on another . . .) But for some reason my DVD player (and the VCR, for that matter) are not connecting with the TV, and during daylight hours this falls to the bottom of my list of things to turn attention to — although it becomes a huge deal at 4 a.m. when I can find absolutely nothing to fall asleep to and end up waiting until 5 when Big City Greens comes along to work its sleepy magic.
This wee morning, in total desperation, I gave I Love Lucy a try. I understand this may be heresy, but I never have loved Lucy, although I did watch it as a youngster. This morning I was about out of options, so I went there. The episode I tuned into turned out to be the vaunted “candy” episode — which I’ve also never found as funny as I’m supposed to — but I don’t know that I’d ever seen any of it beyond the clip where Lucy and Ethel can’t keep up with the conveyor belt and start eating candy and stuffing it in their clothing.
I missed the beginning of the episode, but it turned out to be a “role reversal” show, where the “girls” went out into the wide world of work while the menfolk stayed to keep the home. In the course of a mere half-hour, the Lucy cast learns the folly of going against nature like that, and they all agree they are better off in their pre-ordained roles.
It made me harken back to The Brady Bunch, which 10 years after the Lucy episode first aired repeated the same lesson: men belong out in the world, women can only function functionally in the home, where the kitchen is nearly lethal to men.
Both episodes are played for laughs, and of course underneath the point are female actors — working women — showing that of course women, even back then, could find success outside the limited world of their own kitchens.
Well, to quote some cigarette, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Today, a woman more at home in the Senate than the House stands a reasonable chance of becoming the next vice president of the United States and is quite possibly the presumptive heir apparent of the Democratic Party.
She got a show of — I think it was support, but perhaps it was an attempt at relevance (let’s opt for the charitable view, though) — from Sarah Palin, the second of three women to make an appearance on a major party ticket (Geraldine Ferraro being the first). The support came with advice, suggesting Senator Kamala Harris be prepared for meanness.
Which of course has already happened, in extremely presidential fashion. His lardship was already on record as saying men “might be insulted” by the selection of a woman to Joe Biden’s ticket, and because he has an extremely limited vocabulary, he yesterday, post-announcement, called her “nasty.” It’s about the only insult he knows to level at women, and I’m sure Sen. Harris was deeply offended.
I’m equally sure that Gov. Palin is right, and that Sen. Harris is likely to undergo far more scrutiny than, say, Sen. Tim Kaine did four years ago. Already this morning I’ve heard pundits refer to her as “safe,” “boring,” “exciting,” “invigorating,” “leftist” and “centrist.”
Was it a perfume commercial that told us women could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man? Well, Sen. Harris — the most helpful thing I’ve learned today is a pronunciation tip, since her two stepchildren call her “Mom-u-leh” — is about to have to live that expectation, every single day. I think she’s up to the task.
The late Ann Richards, a trail blazer herself as Texas governor back in the day, once noted, “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards in high heels.” Fred still got most of the press; this was back in the day before Lucy.
The current occupant of the White House is still operating on the assumption that it’s a white man’s world; Joe Biden has just acknowledged the sea change that’s on its way.
Whether this duo is elected or not (one pundit this morning, the man who served as Marco Rubio’s campaign manager in 2016, used this analogy: Biden/Harris are holding a 40-point lead at halftime of a football game, and all they have to do is sit on the ball and not turn it over), I think I Dream of Jeannie has been freed of her bottle and there’s no stuffing her back in.
I like to think this would cheer Lucy and Carol Brady. It certainly makes me feel better about the world, and maybe tonight I’ll get some sleep. Or find something else to watch.
Here I am, using a white man to add to my point. It will get better some day, I promise.