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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: Soap Operas

After winning the 2nd Annual WFME Blog Treasure Hunt, avid-reader Will has ponied up a suggestion for this weeks “Words For Your Enjoyment.” It’s all about giving something back, people. All about giving something back.

He asks, “How about you explain how real life is like a soap opera?”

Interestingly enough, I have pondered this question on many a late-night occasion, having been faced with jealous women, backstabbing enemies and a neverending supply of never-before-met cousins who happen to look just like me and can take over my life and empty out my bank account even after I have “supposedly died in a fiery car crash off the highest peak in the Continental United States.”

The scary thing is that the moments we laugh at in soap operas are, in fact, more real than we can imagine. That the twins taking over your life and the freakishly-strange bowling ball accidents and the murders and fetishes and political scandals are actually more over-the-top than what you see on TV. I mean, the writers of Soap Operas aren’t just making this stuff up.

This. Stuff. Is. Real.

(Cue dramatic music, culled from the recent soundtrack for The Manchurian Candidate.)

If I were to go ahead and write my own soap opera, only using events that I had experienced myself or heard about through friends of mine or saw in a movie — my soap opera would look something like what you’re about to read. Here’s a list of some of the exciting moments you’d find in the first season of my soap opera, which I like to call.. At The Edge of Distress:

Local hunk, J.D. Rivers, the man with the silver tongue who can sweet talk any woman into his bed finds himself an overnight-mute after having stupidly licked the red-hot burning fork he used to roast marshmallows over the open flame of his luxurious penthouse apartment’s $5500 stovetop. Now, with a swollen tongue and no way to communicate (that is, not including his physical talents), J.D. finds himself falling in love with a deaf woman, whom we will find out later he is tricking into the relationship as a result of a bet he made with a friend at work to trick a sad-sad-woman into falling in love and then ripping out her heart just for the sake of ripping out her heart.

Local wannabe Mayoral candidate, Richard E. Cummings, III finds himself in a tough PR nightmare when he is unwilling to save a child whose foot has gotten caught in an escalator’s jaws and is immediately singled-out as a “wimpy guy” who has no business being the leader of the free (local) town where At The Edge of Distress takes place, Babbling Rivers, Florida. As a result of his lack of people-skills and sincerity, Cummings decides to follow his dream of creating an island/vacation getaway in the South Pacific where rich clientele pay to see his life-size DNA-replicated versions of history’s most famous dinosaurs. Yet, when the people arrive, things go awry, and his so-called Dinosaur Park must be stopped.

Busty tart, Jessica Flowers has always wanted to be a professional singer but sadly, she can’t sing. But that never stopped someone who is busty, and a tart! Jessica’s “talents” are soon noticed by local slimy music producer “Fat Z” Rutherford, who immediately takes her to the local Karaoke bar to practice her Jessica Simpson songs (what a coincidence, Jessica thinks, that they both share the same first name)! But when Jessica is noticed at the Karaoke bar by big-city music producer “Sidewayz” Sippy-Cup Simmons, she leaves the small town of Babbling Rivers to go after her dreams. But once reaching the big city, problems plauge the singer and she must strip to make ends meet and support her ten-year old son — who she never knew about, but who sees dead people. Meanwhile, back in Babbling Rivers, Jessica’s twin cousin twice removed struts into town and takes on her identity, her apartment and picks up right where she left off at the Karaoke Bar.

Babbling Rivers only female surgeon, Dee Dee LaCroix has been world-reknowned for her ability to perform surgery on herself but things have recently taken a turn for the worse. During an evening at the lab, while trying to develop a synthetic skin for burn patients, Dee Dee’s nemesis, the business-tycoon and investment banker Mr. X (whose face we never see, suspiciously) burns her lab and her face — causing her to wrap herself up in gauze bandages and attempt to exact revenge on Mr. X and his cronies. Dee Dee abandons her own identity as she no longer looks like her previous self, taking on a superhero-like nickname that we’ll save for that groundbreakingly-dramatic episode.

And finally…

Mountainclimber Jeffrey Von Heimlacher recently relocated to Babbling Rivers from Berlin — having climbed all the tallest peaks in the World he has decided to settle down in the quietest and most-picturesque cities in all of the great United States. Having a foreign accent and not-the-greatest at communicating his thoughts, he does so with his translator (whom he has brought with him) — a woman named Helga, who has also brought along her violent-son, Helmut who happens to love scissors for some weird reason. Jeffrey Von Heimlacher opens his own fitness center in Babbling Rivers containing the biggest artificial climbing wall in all of Babbling Rivers (and the only one there, too) using all of his riches to do so. Before long, however, he is running out of money and the bank is ready to foreclose on his quaint two-story cottage… Helga and Helmut urge Jeffrey to abandon his crazy idea for the largest climbing wall in all of Babbling Rivers and he’s almost in agreement until old-famous-dead mountain climbers suddenly start appearing at his fitness center to “climb the wall one more time.” This causes Jeffrey to be adamant — he will not give up his dream for this climbing wall. Something will make it all good. (This of course, will be the first season cliff hanger, as Jeffrey is about to lose everything, the dead-mountain climbers are everywhere, and we don’t know — will people come from all over just to see dead people climb the biggest climbing wall in Babbling Rivers 17 year history?)

There’s more, but then again, doesn’t life always provide when we really need it to? As for life being like a soap opera — I hope I’ve shown you that, yes — sometimes life is even crazier than what you see on TV. (Or, I am.)

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