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Letter From The Other Side: Media Therapy

...the fellow must have been the woman’s ‘sugar Daddy’ because he looks decades older than she does and ready to drop off his twig. Despite this, the happy, jolly couple who are running about on a sunny beach like a couple of sex starved rabbits are telling you how wonderful their lives have been since they sold up their home and moved into a retirement village and you should do it too...

Liz Thompson finds nothing on daytime TV which brings reasons to be cheerful.

So you have spent time today listening patiently to the old gentleman two doors down while he told you the same stories again. The same stories you have listened to for three years.

You have walked the dog despite a biting wind cutting your face because he likes to have his walk and you know that some exercise is good for both of you.

You have purchased a few necessary groceries and stopped to speak to a few people and then of course you have completed the many small domestic chores that come with every passing day.

Your day hasn’t been wasted and you feel that although you may no longer be employed you have spent the hours well and been of some cheer to a few and have received some pleasure in response.

The political turmoil throughout the world and in our own country is unsettling but there is little you can do about it. Despite this knowledge you did spend time during the week sending a few emails to companies and groups who are benefiting from cheap labour at the expense of the poor foreign workers. You also found time to share your thoughts with one of the political advisors who has sent you a generic and silky smooth email. It tells you how important you are to them in the upcoming election and how they want to listen to the people. Since you belong to that large group you oblige them by sending some of your well considered thoughts and find they really don’t want to listen to you at all and pass off your comments with the verbal equivalent of swatting a fly.

We live in a democracy in Australia. It is such a democracy that you will receive a considerable fine if you don’t vote. Now how is that for choice and an innovative way of raising revenue, particularly at the moment when we have the equivalent of choosing between two quibbling children and some absolute fruitcakes among the ‘Independents’.

Never mind, you tried your democratic best, what can you expect when during the last week’s leadership stoush most of the country was upset that they couldn’t watch or keep up with the scores of the football match that was happening at the same time.

Even the political commentators salted their information with the scores just to keep voters happy.

By mid-afternoon after spending some time reading a book about climate change you feel in need of some light entertainment and turn the television on.

Ah….. You forgot this is the time of day when retired people and those who are possibly in hospital are watching the television and so when the screen lights up you are greeted by a fluffy haired little old lady telling you how wonderful it has been to make sure she has saved the children worrying about her demise by having already paid for her funeral. She has scrimped and saved and pre-paid for it having gone without many luxuries all her life but she has saved the children any worry. Sweet old dear, we all want to be like that don’t we?

We don’t want to ever have the children worry about doing what is part of a right-of-passage in life do we? It would upset the little mites.

That ‘advert’ is followed by a married couple; the fellow must have been the woman’s ‘sugar Daddy’ because he looks decades older than she does and ready to drop off his twig. Despite this, the happy, jolly couple who are running about on a sunny beach like a couple of sex starved rabbits are telling you how wonderful their lives have been since they sold up their home and moved into a retirement village and you should do it too.

You decide if that is the type of person in a retirement village you will fight tooth and nail to stay well away from the places.

You also wonder if they are on the beach because they can’t stand the lack of privacy in the retirement village.

That cheery message is followed by a serious, rather business like looking gentleman who tells you what good sense it makes to re-mortgage your home you spent decades paying for, so that you can give the money to your children to allow them pay off their homes, or pay for the grand kiddies schooling or just spend it.

He has GOT to be kidding!

The following one will probably be some aging sports person telling you how much the arthritic gel they are being paid to tell you about helps their aches and pains and the pills made from the cartilage of some unfortunate fish have helped their joints to be almost new again. In fact they can truly, honestly, guarantee that if you use those products it will take all your lines away, regrow your hair and turn you into a strapping twenty something again. (I made that last bit up.)

Usually included in this seemingly endless pack of exaggerated and over the top claims is an advertisement telling you how to trace your family tree and how satisfying it is to find that some Great Uncle was extremely wealthy and owned half the country at one time, but lost it all on a bet over a hypochondriac horse that didn’t feel up to racing one day.

You decide tracing your family tree won’t brighten your day much but might explain some of the peculiarities that travel through the gene pool of your relatives.

At last the advertisements are finished and the programs begin and you are back right where you started because it is the daily news. Death, crime, political ructions and a short light hearted piece about some impossibly thin, polished American movie star with teeth which appear to have come from a fresh water crocodile and whose name means absolutely nothing to you. She is then followed by yet another nitwit politician trying to sound intelligent while claiming that carbon taxes aren’t necessary and will ‘ruin’ the country. She doesn’t seem to understand that without a carbon tax and global efforts on climate change, there may not BE any country.

You restrain yourself from pitching your slippers at the screen.

“It’s you and your cohorts that are ruining the country” you scream at the television and press the button marked OFF almost hard enough to break the remote.

You feel worse than you have all day and pick up your book again.

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