We think some of you will relate to this: San Francisco author Marsh Rose is breaking up. But in this Boomer Opinion piece, she’s hoping for a reconciliation too. Next November.
It’s been almost four years since the breakup and I’m still shaky. No surprise. I’m a baby boomer and I started this affair in high school.
Still, I sleep better since I dumped the object of my misplaced affection: the news media. A lover of the news since my teens, I consumed it all from Reuters to the local dailies, so letting go wasn’t easy. I had to invent an entirely new lifestyle, no small feat at my age.
Here’s why. On the morning of November 9, 2016, I popped out of bed high on optimism. The polls and predictions had left no doubt about Hillary Clinton’s win. I didn’t even stay up to watch the returns. Now hopefully the Republicans, running Trump, had learned their lesson and we’d never again have a bloated, narcissistic, functionally illiterate reality show host as a candidate.
Then I got the news and lost my breakfast.
For the next few weeks I surfed the tsunami of outrage. When the haze lifted, I decided. My decades-old love affair with the news must end. Obviously it would terrify me for at least the next four years unless we parted ways, so media, it’s over.
And just so we’re clear, it’s not me; it’s you. I cancelled my subscriptions, turned off the TV, vowed abstinence from the internet… and soon realized the flaw in my theory. Like someone in a bitter divorce who stays connected for the children, I had to allow some awareness of the world. Things happen. How could I stay hooked up without getting back together? So voila, my brilliant plan: news deputies, my cadre of carefully selected media consumers who filter and report to me only the news I want to hear— something like my friend who once told me my ex’s new wife had gained weight but omitted the news that she was pregnant.
My political news deputy is Carol, a former freelance journalist for the Chicago Tribune. She feeds me only Republican pratfalls and impeachment progress.
Deputy of Health is hypochondriac Arlene. She’ll be the first to know and report cancer cures because that would be great for the world, and diets that don’t involve exercise or habit change because that would be great for me.
Jerry, my Environment Deputy, is a climate change expert. He’ll know when the media tells us how to stop global warming. If I’m already doing it, he won’t call me.
Lori, my Entertainment Deputy who reads People Magazine, will alert me to verified Elvis sightings and… that’s about it, really.
Of course I miss the relationship. Reading the op-ed pages over coffee on Sunday morning. Trolling the evening news channels. Following my favorite columnists, even those who outraged me but whom I followed because they outraged me so well.
Maybe I need one more deputy, the one who will report that the change has come, the healing can begin, and I can break up with my deputies. I’ll invite them to the media recommitment ceremony.