Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ponder, Write, Repeat

I'm a big fan of the TV show M*A*S*H. I came late to the party, only discovering the show in syndication but I quickly became a devoted fan of the show. I think the first episode I saw was "It Happened One Night"; it's the one right after the characters of Capt. BJ Hunnicutt and Col. Sherman Potter arrived at the 4077th.

There's a lot of moving parts in this one half hour: Hawkeye and Margaret are on night duty attending to patients including one who is going through blood like Dracula on a bender. A newbie soldier, frightened in the freezing cold night, shoots Klinger...barely. (Hawkeye asks a dramatically wailing Klinger, "Could you at least bleed a little?") Klinger, realizing he hasn't been shot badly enough, tries to give himself pneumonia. Frank Burns is tearing Margaret's tent apart looking for hidden love letters from Frank. And Col Potter can't get a good night's sleep because Radar keeps waking him up to tell him the camp's being shelled...again...by their side; Potter keeps getting the shelling stopped but then it starts up again.  

Since I started watching M*A*S*H with the 4th season, the more slap stick tone of the first season was a bit jarring for me when the re-runs circled around again to the beginning. And the last couple of seasons swung the pendulum too far the other direction; the show was essentially a half-hour drama with a laugh tossed in once in a while. Still, good and not so good, I remained a fan of the show.

I was there the fateful night of the series finale. I was in college at the time and every dorm room with a TV and every commons area with a television were all watching the same thing. Yeah, it was sappy and maudlin and overstuffed and overlong and...I still enjoyed it. When you're ending something that is beloved and been around for 11 years, that's NOT the time to worry about overindulging in sentimentality. As BJ rode off down the hill on his motorcycle, Hawkeye lifted off in the helicopter from the 4077th for the last time and saw BJ's parting message: "Goodbye" written in stones in the middle of the now-empty compound. If you didn't feel even a twinge of sadness, then I don't won't to know you because you are obviously a heartless bastard with no soul.

I also loved watching retrospectives of the show. My favorite was the one with the cast reunited just sitting around chillin' and reminiscing. I could've used fewer clips...after all, I've seen the damn show a hundred times...and more of just hearing Alan, Loretta, Harry and the rest sharing their stories.

However, there was a special where I did take exception to something that someone said. (I want to say it was Harry Morgan but it could've been William Christopher. Hell, it may have been producer Gene Reynolds.) But someone said that over all those years and episodes, M*A*S*H never repeated a single joke.

Yeah, they did.

OK, it's just ONE example but the thing is, it was a joke they did more than once. Over the course of the series, at least twice one of the regular characters had dysentery. In one sequence, it's Father Mulcahy who tells the unfortunate soul, "This, too, shall pass."  In another, it's the good Father who is afflicted and it's Col. Potter who delivers the "This, too, shall pass" line. 

I can't be too critical. I recently realized I've repeated a joke. Frequently, I start my blog by saying something like this: "Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog with (fill in the blank)" and insert some bizarre non-sequitor or another. Here for your perusal are a whole bunch of those weird after-thoughts.

1.       the blog with more calcium for healthier teeth and bones
2.       now with lemon fresh Borax!
3.       the blog you need when you have that not quite fresh feeling.
4.       the blog that cares about...whoever you are.
5.       the leading blog for treating pattern baldness.
6.       the blogosphere's leading supplier of sorghum.
7.       the blog that makes dozens of julienne fries.
8.       the blog that makes you question your reason for living.
9.    the blog with 63% more fiber than the average blog.
10.   the blog with now 37% more waves of amber grain.
11.   the blogosphere's leading producer of maize, what you call 'corn'.
12.   the blog that goes back in time to visit the future.
13.  the blog that solves problems with a kettle and a piece of string!
14.   the blog that doesn't know the meaning of the word "Honorificabilitudinitatibus".
15.   a blog targeted by clandestine spy organizations AND the AARP.
16.   the blog for those with refined, sophisticated tastes...looking for something NOT refined and sophisticated.
17.   a blog that is now virtually free of rickets.
18.   now fortified with extra calcium for strong bones and teeth.
19.   the blog that asks the question, "Seriously, where have I been?"
20.   the blog that makes other blogs cry. And by cry, I mean the tears that come from laughing hysterically.
21.   the blog approved by 4 out of 5 dentists who read blogs.
22.   now with EXTRA baking soda!
23.   a bold and daring blog that isn't afraid to "stick it to the man".
24.   the only blog that contains the FDA recommended daily allowance of whole grains and oats.
25.   the blog that asks important questions like "What do you get when you fall in love?" and "Scooby Doo, where are you?"
Now, what prompted me to engage in this most useless exercise was a strange sense that I had repeated a joke after starting one of these posts. So I went through all my posts (yes, I know but save your sympathy for someone will real troubles) and made a list of these "the blog that _____" bits.  And while it wasn't the one I thought it was, I did find a repeated joke.
Items #1 and #18. What can I say, I like milk.
OK, that's all I have for today. (And if can find a point or moral or any kind of theme to today's post, well, I feel sad for you.) 
Thanks for dropping by.
See ya tomorrow and don't forget to be good to one another.
MILK: An excellent source of calcium for strong bones and teeth...or so we heard...somewhere.

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