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There are few things as vile as a thrift-shop lady. They're drawn to the mothball air like a mummy to its crypt, and they exist only to offer people a glimpse of what an evil future awaits us all. There is an age a woman reaches when she cuts her hair into a no-nonsense sassy-boy cut that requires little maintenance and then she loses all politeness. With a number of winters of child-rearing behind her, she has lost any social grace with adults and therefore barks orders to anyone under her own age of 300 as though, if we're good, she'll give us a cookie and an apple juice.

"You there, boy," one such crone squawked from behind a heap of derelict second-hand items. "Lift this television," she commanded. "Go around behind it first. Stand behind it and lift."

"Yes, ma'am." I wrapped my hands under the thick black plastic encasement of the monitor and hoisted it a couple inches up. The television was built 25 years ago and weighed, roughly, 417 pounds. I thought there was a lace doily or a penny or a receipt she needed to retrieve.

"Higher," she directed.

"Yes, ma'am." I pulled it up a bit.


"Yes, ma'am." I bumped it up with a knee and got my forearms under its bottom and held it at my chest.

The old woman eyed the TV keenly, "I'm not sure," she muttered under her green, noxious breath, her wispy white mustache billowing. "You're tilting it to the right; hold it straight. You're a very dull boy, aren't you?"

"Must be, ma'am."

The woman sat in a duct-taped, green shag recliner and kicked its footrest out in front. She leaned her head back against the oil-stained cushion.

My arm muscles glowed like spark plugs and battery acid. The cable tendons in my neck strained against the skin.

I'm not kidding, she sat there wondering if that TV would look okay atop her bedroom dresser. "My dresser is higher; put it above your head, boy. And stop wobbling."

My god.

In payment for my services, she got out of the recliner, dropped a long, boisterous, thrift-shop lady gas bubble, and left me there with my arms supporting a television overhead to deal with her cloud of green swamp air that encircled my head like a diver's helmet.

"You're welcome, ma'am."

Thursday, November 1 Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital Sci Fi 8:00 a.m. What I really want is a set of prosthetic fingernails. As a man, the only thing I do with my nails is cut them every two weeks and open the occasional beverage can. I want plastic replacements that need no trimming. I'd have my original nails surgically removed without anything left in their place, but that'd look really weird, and how would I scratch my exceedingly itchy armpits? God, my armpits itch eternally.

The Planet's Funniest Animals Animal Planet 3:00 p.m. Hypnotizing chimpanzees is fun and profitable. If you do it right, you can use them like Home Depot parking lot immigrants and make them paint your bathroom. When they're done you can release them from their hypnotic spell and send them off into the wild. "Farewell, noble chimpanzees who painted my bathroom. Farewell!" It's the obvious answer to the immigration problem.

Friday, November 2 Dr. Phil CBS 3:00 p.m. My favorite activity is talking to myself at the kitchen sink. Crumbs from my sandwich littering the counter and mayonnaise smudging my cheek, I'll ramble on about any damn thing to my attentive audience of zero. "Now, why the hell does garlic work to fight vampires, that's what I'd like to know." When I'm done, I always turn around to find my girlfriend, who's been standing behind me for the past three and a half minutes. Walking away and shaking her head, she mutters, "moron." That's a pretty good summation of our relationship.

Saturday, November 3 Gold Blowout ShopNBC 4:00 a.m. Leprechauns are gay and that's just how it is. You can try to tell me that they're not and you can insist that leprechauns are totally straight -- like Tom Cruise -- and they have wives and all that, but look at the little things. Nobody can put together such a coordinated outfit and be so bold as to step outside in head-to-toe green. I'll bet there are little dance clubs for them where they can get drunk. I mean, they've got all that money and they are Irish, after all.

American Perspectives CSPAN 8:00 p.m. Schoolhouse Rock should be brought up to date. "I'm Just a Bill" could be redrawn and called "I'm Just Public Funds that Have Been Awarded to Private Contractors and Then Kicked Back to the Awarding Senator in the Form of Bribery that Has Been Laundered." And "Conjunction Junction" could be remade into "Stop Using Chat Acronyms in Real Life, LOL Is Not a Damned Word, You Dumb Little Bastards."

Sunday, November 4 Life is Wild CW 8:00 p.m. It's been a long time. I've developed a nervous tic in my trigger finger; I need to shoot something in the rear end with a BB gun. Many species have taken a brass ball bearing in the haunches from my hand. Raccoons? Right in the can. Cats? One per cheek if I can manage it. Humans? Ask my sixth-grade friend Pablo Romero. They're all justified, of course. (Especially that fink Pablo. He stuck me in the neck with a lawn dart. Fink.) I shoot things in the butt with a BB only for justice. Never doubt that. Never.

Monday, November 5 Star Trek: Enterprise Sci Fi 7:00 p.m. What I really want is one of those x-ray machines that look like a screen. I'm not sure if they exist outside of Bugs Bunny cartoons, but I want to walk around with one in front of me, my ribcage and internal organs outlined in bright green so I can then eat things to show my friends. "Look! Look! That was a biscuit ten seconds ago."

Tuesday, November 6 The Biggest Loser NBC 8:30 p.m. A skunk has taken up residence under my apartment. Since it's a slum, the landlord has refused to trap it and I had to go under there myself. I cut eyeholes in a blue tarp and crinkled and crunched it over my body as protection to scare the stinking rodent out. I got in about a foot and a half before screaming out, covered from the waist down in skunk juice, cobwebs, and ants. Oh, it's not funny. Stop smirking because that's really not funny. I hope you get a skunk under your apartment so I can laugh at you.

Wednesday, November 7 Bionic Woman NBC 9:00 p.m. You want to know the stupidest superhero? Plastic Man. His special power is the ability to stretch his limbs and torso. (A) His name should be Rubber Man, and (B) Who gives a damn that he can stretch out and look like a long wad of silly putty? Oh, that strikes fear. You look like a wet sock that I've worn around all day and lengthened to a yard beyond my toes. Bank robbers must tremble. Stupid Plastic Man.

Thursday, November 8 Best Damn Hooters Pageant Period 2007 FSW 9:00 p.m. "Period" shouldn't be used when referring to anything involving swimsuits. I just gagged. I gagged.

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