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My wireless Internet connection fades out and goes black. Plodding into the next room, I duck my head under the bed and push my ass high in the air, and I root around for the remote control. Pitching out sock after sock, my rummaging proves fruitful."_ _ _ _" is all I get on the cable box when I push "Power."

"Son of a bitch!" I exclaim, turning my focus toward finding the phone and releasing the remote back into the wild.

"Cox, how may I help you?"

"Hello, my cable's out again," I sigh in exasperation.

"Let me try to reset it from here," an office technician answers my plea, and the phone line drops off.

"Hello? Hello? Why, that dirty bastard hung up on me!"

The Byzantine labyrinth of choices and voices, options and menus gives way, and I'm finally on the phone with another technician.

"Yeah, you accidentally hung up on...hello? Hello?"

Five more dropped calls. Three more ineffectual instances of "Let me check your account" and one more hour after starting, I am on the phone with Lucy, and when it's her turn to speak I'm forcing my eye tooth into the index knuckle on my right hand so that the skin is bright and forced open and surrounded by blushing flesh, but it's not so deep that I'm bleeding.

I start my conversation with Lucy by saying, "Listen, I'm sure this is not your fault at all, Lucy. I'm sure you're a lovely person who is doing her job in a competent manner," but that's only how it starts. The platitudes and niceties peel away slowly until the naked roiling aggression makes my eyes puffy and red and then I'm belittling her education. Soon after, I'm questioning the relationship of her father to her mother. (Were they siblings? Was he a serial murderer and she a lonely fry cook at a fast-food restaurant?)

"Why?" the word her wailing mouth finally forms.

Her supervisor interrupts Lucy's sobs and coughing to say, "Mr. Olivieri, your cable has been turned back on," and the line goes dead.

Blood, hot in my neck, and my spine crackling with rage, I search to find another outlet. I need to vent on someone, someone who has been damning me slowly, grinding my knees in the gravel. Wiping tears and coughing, I dial a number.

Over the fuzzy waves a voice comes on with, "Cingular, how may I help you?"

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, January 19

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

FX 7:00 a.m. Unless she's cast as "third drooling idiot from the left" in the upcoming thriller Retards on Tricycles , I don't predict Sarah Michelle Gellar will have much work in the coming years. I look forward to her eventual turn to pornography.

My Name Is Earl

NBC 9:00 p.m. Here's a study in "keeping it indie." Vince Vaughn wrapped up the number-one comedy film of last year, drove his Porsche home to use Jennifer Aniston like a sock puppet, and then left her in a ditch. The "other guy" from Swingers maintained his artistic integrity, never sold out, gained 50 pounds, and he now makes cameo appearances on My Name is Earl . Good job, fellah. You're burning Hollywood to the ground with your ideals.

Friday, January 20

Will & Grace

WB 7:30 p.m. I'd like to dress the old busty one up in lederhosen and make her pull me around in a shiny red wagon.

Saturday, January 21

Fashion Police: The 2006 Golden Globes

E! 11:00 a.m. I'm swearing myself in as The Pretentious Ass Clown in Pancake Makeup Police and everyone in the Fashion Police is hereby under arrest.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Telemundo 9:00 p.m. ¡Ay, caramba! Ice Cube battles zombies on a train traveling across Mars. EN ESPAÑOL!

Sunday, January 22

Mysterious Ways

ISAT 9:00 p.m. Are there any shows on these backwater channels that anyone watches? Or are these like those black oval pocket combs in that cardboard display behind the register of the liquor store? They're inexpensive at only 99 cents. They might work well as a comb and fit in your pocket when you're finished. They're useful, innovative, and cheap, but you ever met anyone that ever bought one?

Monday, January 23

The Bachelor: Paris

ABC 10:00 p.m. I'd rather go back to square-dancing lessons in fifth-grade than be forced to sit through this tripe.

Tuesday, January 24

American Idol

FOX 8:00 p.m. Hasn't this cavalcade of dog lipstick been cancelled yet?

Wednesday, January 25

The Christopher Lowell Show

DCHOME 3:00 p.m. Christopher Lowell has a fantastic head, shaped like a perfect egg. My fingers long to touch the bald spot in the center. I also want to duct tape his mouth shut and force him to chop wood until he loses his prissy affectation.

Thursday, January 26

Ultimate Super Bowl 40-Man Roster

ESPN 6:00 p.m. According to statistics, if you collect 40 Super Bowl all stars, 4 of them will land that "good game" pat on the rump a little deeper and let it linger a little longer than the other 36, if you know what I mean. WINK !

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