On TV

Sometimes, I will say, “That is a good title for something,” and I write it down. I have a list of phrases, fragments and sentences that are waiting for stories to go with them.

A few years ago, I was watching the news late at night when one such batch of words formed in my head.

Tragedies Before Bed.

Snappy, right? This one is at the top of my list. But in all this time, I haven’t come up with a tale that suits its image, whether real or imagined. I certainly can’t waste such a title on something tame or humorous or mildly terrible, even. The words need weight. They need comfort thrust up against horror, safety against fear.

Each night after dinner, my daughters and I convene in front of the TV to watch a program, or seven, that will distract us from the day’s information. During the past 14 nights, we have cheered on American Idol contestants, rooted for Dr. Pol’s lame goats and played our favorite “This is Us” game, Predict-the-Next-Scene-Before-it-Happens. When we are tired, they go to bed, lulled by the drama of Hollywood Week. I stay up and switch the channel, unable to sleep before knowing where we all stand. Making sure I’ve got our house in order.

It is one after the other, the tragedies. Rapid fire. I pull up the covers and watch.

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