Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inquiring minds

It's completely my fault. I never should have let her pick it up.
It sat harmlessly, face down on my friend's coffee table. It caught her eye—possibly the glimmery sheen of the paper stock, or maybe the colors which had been carefully calculated to grab the consumer's attention.
But she picked it up...her first tabloid magazine.
I didn't think much about it at first, but after about seven minutes, the questions began emanating from her nine-year-old mouth:
-"Dad, did you know that Jennifer Anniston is going to get back together with Brad Pitt, who only has a month to live, so she can have the baby she's desperately wanted for years?"
-"Dad, did you know that Tom Cruise is eighteen years older than Katie Holmes, but that doesn't matter, because he's reached a level of immortality through his religion that can only be found through communicating with volcanoes and contributing seven-figure sums to his 'church'?" (Okay, I made that one up.)
-"Dad, Reese Witherspoon is finally happy, and thinner than ever. Do you think she has anything to do with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?"
-"Dad, did you know that Bill Clinton has been secretly divorced from Hillary for twelve years, and he's been living sinfully with a former Arena Football League cheerleader, who used to be an Arena Football player?" (Okay, I also fabricated this one).
My point is—she can't get enough of this stuff now, and if it's in print, it's gospel. We used to grab a pack of gum at the "impulse buy" area by the grocery checkout, but now she begs for The Star, or Us or the National Enquirer with a ferocity that betrays any embarrassment accompanying such a request.
Beach photos of Oprah? Got to see 'em. Images showing Osama bin Laden working in the men's hosiery department of the Yakima, Washington, JC Penny? What a scoop!
I've tried telling her that this stuff is all created to sell magazines, that the more unbelievable the subject matter is, the more the people love it. She merely shrugs it off with something like, "Dad, if it weren't true, why would Safeway sell it to us?"
Touché. But then again, how true is that pudding that doesn't need to be refrigerated?

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