Today I shed IQ points fast as a black lab getting rid of a winter coat – not that I had many to spare. There they were, lying on the floor of the doctor’s office waiting room, begging for mercy, melting away like the Wicked Witch of the West after Dorothy doused her in water.

It started, like all modern evils, with good intentions. I had come to the hospital for moral support while a family member received tests. Fate would have it that, while in the waiting room, a TV was tuned to a soap opera.

You see, I don’t have a television at home. Not because I think they’re evil. Not because I think they’ll melt your brain. Not because of any objection in particular. But, because, well… I’ve got a life.

I mention my lack of TVness because a television virgin should under no circumstances be introduced straight to daytime TV. It’s like giving a toddler three shots of espresso, a puppy, and telling them to behave. Like giving Rush Limbaugh a microphone and telling him not to embarrass himself. Instead, one should be introduced to daytime TV in baby steps. Maybe start with something less offensive, like rated R movies. After nausea subsides, the baby-step program could commence, upgrading till reaching the apex of human achievement with shows like Jersey Shore, or even Wheel of Fortune. Only then, should one be allowed to watch The Young and the Restless.

The hospital should know this because surely they’ve seen the horrors of premature TV initiation. I recently spoke with a US Army surgeon who had returned from Afghanistan. He exclaimed, “You think repairing colonic trauma from an improvised explosive device is hell?” He shook his head. “That’s nothing. I come home and have to clean up the mess in the emergency room, what’s left of a five-year old who accidentally watched an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. Now that will turn your stomach.”

And what has the government done to protect us from this holocaust of daytime TV? Yawn. Sure, we have a Department of Defense to protect us from evils outside our borders. We have Oprah Winfrey to protect us from evils inside our borders. But what have they done to protect us from ourselves? They’re distracted by less important matters such as healthcare, national debt, and how to tax oxygen.

As a result of their blatant dereliction of duty, there I was, sitting comfortably in a chair that was made in China, watching who-knows-what daytime show, completely unprepared. I’ve been in the military, been through a tear gas chamber, felt what it’s like to have juices flow from every body orifice, heaving breakfast chunks onto dry earth, scared that I wasn’t going to die soon enough. But this was worse. Much worse. Like broken-femur verses stubbed-toe kind of worse. The sheer idiocy of it, excruciatingly painful.

The worst part wasn’t even the soaps, but the commercials the sponsors slid between them. Pastors, need a way to fill those empty pews? Show ‘em a few of those commercials and you’ll have a revival that’ll raise Billy Sunday from the dead, spitting angry. You’ll have folks piling up at the altar, thanking God they don’t have whatever immodest affliction the commercial is expounding upon. “Does your (insert body part) feel like you dropped it into a food processor whenever you (insert embarrassing action)? Ask your doctor about (insert insanely expensive drug). Side effects may include hair loss, nausea, death, and in some cases, eternal damnation. Be sure to consult your pastor before taking this drug.”

Some of you will certainly say, “Oh, daytime television isn’t that bad. Soap operas won’t rot your soul.” To you, I present this challenge: One day, at your lunch break – because anyone that works has no idea how bad daytime TV can be – drink a keg of Pepto-Bismol and turn on the tube. If you don’t feel dumber after the whole experience, you’re likely a government employee. Or, worse yet, a politician.

Those of us who still have our souls will be found trying to wrangle up what few IQ points remain off the floor, after the television is mercifully turned off, by a resurrected Billy Sunday. So, next time you ever have good intentions, keep them to yourself. You’ll thank me, and be smarter in the end.

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