Posted by Joe Cianciotto
“If I’m being completely honest” Week Eleven:
If I’m being completely honest, when I’m at the grocery store I’ll sometimes choose the longer checkout line so I can read the Soap Opera Digest without paying…
How did this start you wonder?
Well for that I’m gonna’ have to take you way back to my freshmen year of high school. It was then that I was in ninth grade caught pneumonia and had to spend three weeks home to recover. At the age of 14 that’s pretty much an eternity. During that time there wasn’t a hell of a lot to do other than watch TV. The morning had a good amount of reruns like “I love Lucy” and “Love American Style,” but the afternoon was a freaking desert of respectable programming.
That was when I first came across a little show called Santa Barbara at noon each day. At first this show seemed like the stupidest thing in the world. A bunch of unnaturally good-looking people staring into space and each episode nothing seemed to happen. In like seven days I was genuinely concerned that Cruz and Eden would never make it with Eden’s disapproving father CeCe. From there the noon hour drifted to Days of Our Lives with Bo and Hope and Another World with a very young not crazy-yet Anne Heche in the dual role of Vicki and Marley. By the time I made it back to school I was sneaking into the in-school detention room to watch my shows with my favorite substitute teacher Mrs. Heath.
I’m not sure what happened but somehow Santa Barbara moved to 3 PM each day, so I was able to get home around 20 minutes into each episode and then go back out and get into my usual trouble behind Gallery Pizza playing Arkanoid, eating garlic rolls and smoking whatever cigarettes we could find. I mostly kept tabs on the other shows, but the storylines were so slow that I was able to keep up watching the odd weekly episode.
As far as college goes I don’t think I ever went to class other than to take my midterms and finals so my addiction to all three shows only deepened with my proclivity for nursing a hangover in front of the TV in my dorm room. The one major upside that I discovered around the age of twenty is that having an encyclopedic knowledge of all NBC soaps gave me a lot to talk about with girls that I would meet out at the college bars. I also smoked Marlboro Lights, which were the least masculine cigarettes you could find next to Capri’s so we had that in common too.
Not sure where this fits into this story but for my summer job in college I worked at a take-out delivery place called Chicken Holiday in Franklin Square (New York) where as it turned out my boss Alex was a “Days of Our Lives” fiend, so we watched it every day. Hell we were so into it that we would tape Friday’s shows and watch them on Monday to avoid the weekend cliffhanger. It is unfortunate and still painful to talk about but somewhere around my sophomore year of college they did get around to canceling Santa Barbara.
After college I spent two years hiding from adulthood working as a bartender/waiter in the Hamptons where I managed to carve out a life that accommodated my two remaining soaps in the afternoon. I did eventually get a real job working in advertising but somehow I kept up on Days and Another World. It also didn’t hurt that the Bo and Hope getting back together storyline was padded into a two-year endeavor so I never felt like I missed anything. Well and then out of nowhere, they aged their son Shawn D. like twenty years…but I digress.
Somewhere around the late nineties they canceled Another World. Actually allow me to stop there, I just tried to play off the fact that I vaguely knew the cancellation date when in reality June 25th 1999 is seared into my memory as the very dark and last day of that show, which I even have video-taped God knows where.
This left me with just “Days Of Our Lives” for the last twenty years. And while I have gone years at a time without watching the show, again the plotlines move so slow that it takes very little to keep up with the broad strokes of Salem (hometown setting). Anyway, while I can’t really remember the last time I have ever tuned in to watch the exploits of Bo, Hope, Marlena and John Black I still do my best to keep up with them on the checkout line of Stop N Shop each week.
Therefore if I’m being completely honest, when I’m at the grocery store I’ll sometimes choose the longer checkout line so I can read the Soap Opera Digest without paying.
And just for old times sake below is my beloved theme…
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