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A Lighter View … 2002 American Style

July 1, 1993

A Lighter View … 2002 American Style

By Karen M. Morris, Humorist

Where did 2002 go? I know it was here because I have cancelled checks to prove it. My bank statement shows I went to the grocery store 112 times, I signed up for (but never went to) a Pilates class and my cat was treated for fleas. But, oh there was so much more.

There were sensational weddings and kiss-and-tell divorces with some people qualifying for both categories. Julia Roberts and Paul McCartney got married but not to each other. J. Lo divorced, married, divorced and is getting married again. She would be one of those double category qualifiers. Billy Bob and Angelina Jolie’s eternal union bit the dust after two years. Their love may have faded, but at least their tattoos of each other’s names will be forever. And, Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley had a mini-marriage—it didn’t last many months.

Corporate scandals were the rage. Enron, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and Tyco all fell victim to creative bookkeeping. The evening news began to look like an episode of Survivor as a different CEO was shown every week being hauled off wearing handcuffs and a $1,000 suit. America learned a hard lesson—always go with the casual wear.

Lawsuits were trendier than ever and many Americans competed for the coveted Stella Award. (The Stellas were named after Stella Liebeck, who spilled coffee on herself, sued McDonald’s and won the jackpot.) And, true to form, McDonald’s got sued again. This time by a man who claimed that their fast food made him morbidly obese. So don’t be surprised the next time you order dessert if the waiter says, “I dont think so, fatty. My nominee for this year’s Stella is a man from Oklahoma who bought a 32-foot Winnebago motor home. While driving on the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 and then went to go make a cup of coffee. Left unattended, the vehicle promptly made a bee-line off the freeway and crashed. The man sued Winnebago for not stating in the owner’s manual that he couldn’t do this. The jury awarded him $1.75 million, plus a new motor home. You just can’t make up stuff like this.

The stock market bounced up and down, worse than my bathroom scale. No one was safe, not even the guru of gracious living, Martha Stewart. If this diva goes to jail, there will be a ripple effect throughout the country. Women will go back to dashboard dining and cupholder cuisine. Who will show us how to properly fold fitted sheets, make our own deer repellent or whip up a honey-squash pie? We’ll turn into a nation of people who feast on TV dinners and sleep on crinkled sheets. And deer attacks will skyrocket. Martha helped me decorate our starter castle and introduced me to garage wines. This could be the end of Western civilization as we know it.

Two new reality TV shows came along. On The Anna Nicole Show, we learned that with enough makeup, big hair and silicone, you could live in a fabulous home and make an ass of yourself every week. She exposed the problems of living large, such as: Getting stuck under a table. Getting stuck in a bathtub. And getting stuck on the couch. For Anna, the whole world was a stage to get stuck on.

The Osbournes remained America’s darlings. There’s Ozzie, the patriarchal head and heavy metal rock star; Sharon, the manager/wife; and their two adorable fuchsia-haired children—Kelly and Jack. We watched this zany family as: Sharon accidentally dropped her mink stole in a toilet; Ozzie snored on the couch; Jack tossed a ham at the neighbors; the dog got counseling; and Kelly broke her foot (which was immediately followed by Ozzie breaking his). And, in one touching episode, their security guard got arrested. This family single handedly gave hope to all the dysfunctional families in America.

We had our low moments. A U.S Forest Services worker burned down a large chunk of Colorado with a letter from her estranged husband. And, the All-Star game ended in a tie because they didn’t want to wear out the stars. But we had great moments, too. Oklahoma Governor, Frank Keating got his briefcase back from United Airlines—13 years after he lost it. And nine Pennsylvania miners trapped in a flooded chamber beat all odds and were rescued after three days, which goes to show that miracles still happen in the 21st century.

Some old friends left us, but will be in our hearts forever. Dave Thomas, Milton Berle, Ann Landers, Robert Urich, Sam Sneed, Johnny Unitas, Lionell Hampton, Richard Harris, James Coburn, and “Spud” Melin, co-creator of the Hula Hoop. They entertained us, counseled us, tickled our taste buds and were the athletes we always wanted to be.

I wonder what will 2003 bring?

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