Maybe We’ll Get a Rooster, Instead

Whose idea was it to wake up to the news on NPR every morning?  Probably my husband’s, since we both know I couldn’t program a simple clock radio to save my life.

Anyway, it used to be a good idea.  We’d lie in bed and get semi-informed and doze off again to dream about bad news like melting icecaps and good news like — hallelujah! — we’re finally getting healthcare like every other enlightened, civilized nation in the world.  Listen some, fall asleep, wake yourself snoring, listen some more, then finally ease yourself out of bed feeling smart and ready to take on the day.  Just enough good news to keep you hopeful, just enough bad news to get you revved up about injustice and inequity and wholesale tragedy.

A good idea.  For a while.  But I have to face it: Its time has passed.

What’s happened?  The news has gone from a precarious balance of good and bad to almost — correct me if I’m wrong — almost nothing but bad.

Economic measures down.  Heart-rending stories of people out of work, houses foreclosed, families struggling — followed by the really great news that Wall Street is passing out bonuses as freely and indiscriminately as some people convey herpes.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq linger on, killing goes on, Mexico slides more deeply into violence, and —

Well, you get the point.  Aside from momentary rays of light — like Tom DeLay’s recent conviction only two miles from our house, so I should probably get some credit — it’s grim these days.  When I heard a commentator compare Obama to Jimmy Carter this morning, it was just too much.  I rolled into fetal position and contemplated going into a coma.

This start to the day is just not working for me.  So what are the options?

Ultimatums are always good.  Refuse to get up till you’ve heard some good news. Fine, if you don’t mind staying in bed for weeks at a time.

Instead of stupid old public radio, listen to self-affirmations about how good you are, how wonderful, how fine. Never could take that shit seriously; would probably put me in a worse mood than the news, since it reminds me that, invariably, the worst people have the highest self-esteem.  See Palin, Sarah, for details.

Learn to snore more loudly to drown out the news. Actually, both my husband and I are working on this quite successfully.  It doesn’t seem to help that much.

Becoming more hard of hearing. This is also a work in progress.

Argue with the newscasters.   Scream things like, “What’s your fucking proof for that?” Remember, this is NPR.  By the time you scream, they’re already offering you proof.  Too much proof.  Will they never stop?

Listen to another radio station. We’re liberals.  There is no other radio station.

Realize it isn’t the news that’s the problem.  It’s your attitude toward the news.   No, it’s the news.

Boycott the news.  Become ill-informed and ignorant and far happier. You’re suggesting we become Republicans?

So, why don’t you stop whining and do something about it? What do you know?  Finally, a decent point.  Come to think of it, that’s probably how and why we manage to get up every day.  After all, I’m just discouraged; I’m not dead yet.

(Copyright 2010 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Here’s one of my favorite posts about running with a tough early-voting crowd

22 comments… add one
  • It’s the news, Honey. Not you. I hate alarms of any kind. I hate to be woken up. Period. So, I cannot imagine hearing news first thing. I too would opt to stay in bed.

  • OMG, now I can tell my friends why I’m far happier….as an ill-informed, ignorant ol Republican who boycotts NPR news.

  • You could BE the good news. Take to dressing up in a fairy costume and adding time to peoples parking meters in downtown Austin. Don’t forget your sparkly wand.

  • Cindy A

    I’m with you. Wonder if we could suggest to NPR that the bad news always be counter-balanced with either good news or interviews of interesting people or book and movie reviews? They do have some of that, just not enough to keep us from spiraling into a pit of despair. Some days, when it’s just about terrorists and mad Republicans and nothing else, I push the OFF button. There’s only so much a person can take!

  • Oh, I wake up (and fall asleep) to this. Impossibly boring people weave themselves into my dreams, and I awake to find that it was only the Sports Minister.

    But sometimes there are highlights. Yesterday in the flagship morning BBC radio news program just before 8 am the Minister for Culture, Jeremy Hunt, accidentally got rechristened. There followed a lengthy coughing sequence, and, later, many apologies. In the next live program the presenter said he wouldn’t repeat it, and then did. More apologies and many more knickers in a twist. (Just google Jeremy Hunt, who has become most unexpectedly famous, for details.)

    Until recently I lived next door to a lot of roosters. They regularly woke me and my guests with all the monotony of bad news, but never once compensated me with an embarrassing Spoonerism.

    On balance, I’ll take the radio over the roosters.

  • Maybe they could be convinced to just hold off on the bad stuff untile we’ve had a chance to get a cup of coffee under our belts. Just one cup is all I’m asking-I could handle the bad stuff a little better then.
    It is getting very tempting to just turn it all off. Make it all go away. It will still be there when I come back to it later.
    I think we all need a break.

  • Steve

    I awake in silence–I need no alarm; I’d love to sleep later, but don’t–and I make the coffee and feed the dog in silence and I walk for 30 minutes and pray or meditate in silence and only then do I turn on NPR. My favorite part of the otherwise silent beginning of the day is listening for the distant horn of the train that rolls through Buda about 5:15, reminding me of summer nights sleeping on a pallet on the floor of my grandparents’ house in Childress, about 150 feet from the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad tracks, where we would lie awake hoping for a breeze through the screen door and awaiting the long train with the clack, clack, clack that would be our lullaby.

  • Oh, I could never wake up listening to the news, NPR or otherwise….I need some time and space to emerge from dreamland. And yes, the news is not great these days. I am disgusted by so much of it, and by the way that Obama caves in to the Republicans on issues those of us who voted for him (like me) believed it would stand strong for. Bi-partisanship? Civility? Cooperation? What happened to us, that we have such a dismal Congress? With such toxically divided leadership and such big pressing social/economic/environmental issues, it is a sad situation.

  • I have to admit that I still not only wake up to NPR but listen to it throughout the day. But, I agree with you that the news seems to go from bad to worse with each passing week.

  • Every morning when I wake up, I turn on the Today show. And then I flip to Good Morning America. And sometimes CNN. This morning I was disgusted and shouted at the TV because all 3 channels were going on and on about the Hollywood publicist who was murdered. I swear, this has been the top headline for 2 weeks. And I can’t get anyone to talk about the Dream ACt which I finally read something quick about and was simply appalled at the details of. I still can’t believe I read it right. Anyway, I agree that sometimes the news is just not the thing to start the day off with.

  • I so loved this line:

    “Boycott the news. Become ill-informed and ignorant and far happier. You’re suggesting we become Republicans?”

    Perfectly delivered.

  • Hey, you must have missed it this morning, I didn’t catch the first part but Steve Insky (is that how you spell his name?) mentioned that a man had his home run into nine years ago–truck full of chocolate syrup. This year, the man’s house was hit by some sort of ice cream truck if I can remember it right. Hey, then there was the story about ugly zoo animals not getting enough attention (and nope, they weren’t even talking about politics).

    Here’s the link: ugly animals need our help too
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/09/131946788/-ugly-animals-need-our-help-too?ft=1&f=
    Maybe you’re dozing during the good stuff:) But seriously, I know what you mean. This afternoon it was all about corruption in Afghanistan–yeah, there’s a surprise. Tell use more about the ugly animals!

  • I fall asleep to – and wake up to – NPR. Problem is, usually when I wake to it it lulls me back to sleep, so I forget all the bad news by the time I’m ready to get out of bed!

  • I woke up to NPR this morning and it was so full of BAD NEWS that I just wanted to go back to bed. A rooster is the better choice.

  • Every time I think the news is getting worse and worse, I just pop an old Capitol Steps comedy album into the CD player and realize news, by its very nature is bad–or at least ridiculous.

    Signed, a well-informed Republican who listens to NPR AND other news sources, because you can’t trust anybody all the time.

  • I have severely curtailed the amount of news I digest. I’m not interested in hearing the latest hype and find that if I can wait a week, I’ll generally get a more balanced look at the issue without giving myself a heart attack. When I’m ready for a bit of world news, NPR is my hands down choice for a fair and honest assessment.

  • I don’t like to wake up to alarms of any sort — and the news qualifies as an alarm in my book. I suggest you try going commando (without) and see what sounds stir you out of bed.

  • Merr

    I wake up to NPR, too. I like to know what’s going on…I find it harder to go to sleep at night after hearing the news than to get up with the news.

  • I have a rule not to read, listen to, or watch any news until I’m fully ready to begin my workday. The cone of silence in the morning is much appreciated by my groggy mind.

  • I fall asleep to – and wake up to – NPR. Problem is, usually when I wake to it it lulls me back to sleep, so I forget all the bad news by the time I’m ready to get out of bed!

  • Every time I think the news is getting worse and worse, I just pop an old Capitol Steps comedy album into the CD player and realize news, by its very nature is bad–or at least ridiculous. Signed, a well-informed Republican who listens to NPR AND other news sources, because you can’t trust anybody all the time.

  • Bill

    I moved so far out in the sticks that I can’t get NPR on my clock radio! I am not going back either. But you are right, there is no other radio station

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