posted by therracat
Do you remember the skits that the great Gilda Radner did as character Emily Litella on Saturday Night Live back in the day? Eager, opinionated and hard of hearing, Litella would rant about some offensive thing that (she thought) had been said in news editorials and she would rant until the SNL Weekend Update anchor (first Chevy Chase, then Jane Curtin) would set her straight. She was totally upset when she thought the government of the U.S. was considering “making Puerto Rico a steak” and she railed at the Supreme Court about the “deaf penalty”. She warbled angrily on about these affronts and others until she was interrupted and corrected. Then she would “get it”, sweetly smile at the camera and say, “Never mind!”
I think of Emily Litella often these days because I am mis-reading or mis-hearing things on a regular basis and confusing myself and others mightily. I used to think she was too funny and now I think she’s too real. Perhaps she’s a character… ahhhhhh but perhaps she’s a condition. Everything is a ”condition” now. I think whenever I wander into “I heard that so wrong” territory, I should be able to pass it off on my ”condition” because to say to others, “I have ELS (Emily Litella Syndrome)” sounds soooo much better than “constant distraction”, ”early senility” or “hard of hearing because I was up front at too many rock concerts in the 70s.”
Not long ago I thought the Weather Channel was advertising a show coming on in the next hour to tell people how to avoid incest as the weather gets warmer. I was so upset I dropped what I was doing, walked over and gave the TV my full, if completely disapproving, attention. I soon found out it was “insects”. How to avoid insects as the weather gets warmer. Never mind.
I had big jolt one day hearing a local club/restaurant doing heavy radio advertising for their weekly “crap boil”. I was repulsed until I realized (pretty quickly, thank you) that they were pushing a community crab boil. Never mind dude. My appetite immediately returned and because I was smart enough not to tell anyone (until now) of my mistake, I rolled down the road my dignity intact.
The title of this blog post today is something (I thought) my husband said to me last night when we were talking about my writing.
When the terrible earthquake hit Haiti early this year and the news channels were reporting on it, seemingly, around the clock, I was sitting at my desk writing and I could hear the TV in the other room. That seems to be the prime time for ELS to flare up. I could hear people, with a tinge of desperation in their voices, asking that Barbara Walters be sent to Haiti. I thought, huh, that’s ridiculous, why on earth would anyone want her there? She’s 70 and surely the heat would not be good for her or her coif. Shouldn’t she do more good raising money over here? Sanjay Gupta being there I understood, Barbara Walters…not so much. But the demands continued over the next 15 minutes: ”Send Barbara Walters to Haiti!” ”Haiti needs Barbara Walters!” Finally I lost my temper completely. “That’s insane!” I screamed, feeling highly offended both for the people and situation down there. ”"All she will do is take resources and attention from the people who really need both! ” I got up and went to watch the CNN idiots who were making this impassioned plea . Once in front of the TV it took a moment to realize what they were asking for was “bottled water”…not Barbara Walters. Never mind.
I never did ask my husband what he meant by “touching wombat”. I just couldn’t. If you have any idea, please, interrupt me at any moment and clue me in.