Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Oh, the humanity.

Can anyone beat this for a moment of astounding self-obsessed loss of perspective?

Last Friday, I wanted to watch Have I Got News For You. My TV, for reasons to dull to mention, has two remotes: one to turn it on to whatever channel it was on last; and the other to change the channel. I could only find the first. I turned the TV on, and it was set to BBC4 (Oh yes, BBC4. I'm quite the intellectual, donchaknow) which was showing a documentary about the San Francisco Earthquake. All very well, but no good if you want a wry sideways look at the week's news. So, I hunted for my second remote. I lose this a lot, and it normally takes between 30 seconds and two minutes to find. But this time... nothing doing. Nowhere to be found. Five minutes went past, eight minutes... still nothing. By this time I was becoming that ridiculous 'But...this cannot be!' type of angry you get when a thing can only possibly be in six places, and you've checked them all ten times. I'd missed nearly a third of my show; the thing was clearly properly lost; it was looking like I might not find it for a while. And that's when - and here comes the point of this long-winded and astonishingly dull story - the narrator of the earthquake documentary said this: 'It was now that the true scale of the disaster began to dawn on them.' And I thought to myself- without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness: 'Yes... same here!'

That's right. 1906: San Francisco is devastated by a colossal earthquake, leaving 3,000 dead and 300,000 homeless. One hundred years later: John Finnemore doesn't get to tune in to Have I Got News For You until half way through the odd one out round. Across the decades, united in suffering.

Although obviously if it wasn't for the Monday repeat, I'd win hands down.

4 comments:

marianne said...

"I lose this a lot." Possibly one of the greatest understatements EVER, John.

John has a grand total of four remotes, all of which seem to be required in a series of baffling combinations every time he watches a DVD or tapes something. In theory he keeps them all in the same place, on a little shelf behind his bed. In practice they are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, and before watching the TV we have to perform a kind of three-d Where's Wally.

One will be down the side of his bed, one inside the duvet, one in a shoe and one, oh God, I don't know, on Mars.

DaN McKee said...

Have you ever seen Daily Show spin off, The Colbert Report? Stephen Colbert tells us that if comedy is tragedy plus time, then he has a joke for you...

Knock knock

Who's There?

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 who?

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906...killed 3000 people.

This joke made me laugh like a whirligig, but thus far has failed to impress anyone else.
Anna showed my girlfriend ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" Lucy) and me your webpage last night and it is a wonderful distraction from my Ph.D. research :-)

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