Assessing my longtime soap opera addiction

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If I were to have an addiction, it wouldn’t be to chocolate, shopping, or quilting. Not that I don’t love chocolate, shopping, or quilting.

I have been known to hide a Snickers bar or two in the bottom of my purse to eat while I visit Joann’s Fabrics to add to my quilting “stash,” AKA – pieces of fabric in various lengths and colors that I just might need “someday.”

It’s not like I don’t have an accomplice in my possible shopping/quilting addiction. Pastor Pete has mastered the stance of looking impatient while waiting for his “number” to be called Joann’s fabric cutting table while I continue to fill the cart with precious bolts of fabric.

He knows how to request a quarter yard of “this” and a half yard of “that.” He knows the difference between batting and interfacing. He has no fear of snaps, zippers, or buttons but Velcro does make him cringe at times.

I don’t look at quilting as an addiction. It’s more of a shopping bonding experience for the two of us. I experience the joy of shopping and Pastor Pete experiences the thrill of making me happy and paying for all of it!

But I do have one addiction from time to time: Watching soap operas!

I watched my first soap opera when I was 12 years old and spent a few weeks on a relative’s farm. My cousins and aunt gathered around the TV every afternoon to watch “As the World Turns.” Thus, began my addiction.

I watched every summer until college, took a four-year break in college, returned to my habit for another 15 years until I finally woke up and added everything up.

I had wasted 21 years watching and being “concerned” (I don’t worry – I’m concerned) about people that didn’t even exist. That all adds up to 5,481 hours for one soap opera!

I didn’t watch just one, I watched five! That totals to 27,405 hours in 21 years. During that time, I could have birthed 4.2 children!

At times, I would get the families mixed up especially when the actors would switch to another soap opera and another character. I would become upset at an actress on one show and then be expected to forget all the villainous acts she committed on the prior show.

Would I?  Not me! If I had a soap opera grudge, it lasted forever. Even if she would have portrayed Florence Nightingale, I would have had a hard time accepting her.

Then there were all the marriages. Do you realize that Lisa from “As the World Turns” was married eight times! She divorced three men, was widowed four times and annulled once. Her legal name on the show (if the show were still on TV) was Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Coleman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi Chedwyn.

The queen of all that is good and bad about soap operas is the character of Erica Kane from “All My Children.” She was married 11 times. I could never figure out why so many men could be so stupid.

Okay, I can understand three or four, maybe, but 11! I don’t think numbers eight through 11 should be allowed to drive, vote, or participate in anything other than a watermelon eating contest. She did marry one of them twice. I think he overdosed on “Dumb Pills.”

The main thing that really forced me to consider why I was even taking five minutes to watch soap operas, were the characters who died and then came back months later.

The storyline was that either they faked their death, had amnesia, were lost in a jungle in an unknown country, or kidnapped.

When the plot revealed that the “dead character” didn’t realize that people thought that he was dead, it was almost believable. After all, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn pulled that off once, but only once.

However, “Days of Our Lives” Stefano DiMera pulled that one over and over again. Get a clue, people! If he did it once, it’s believable. Twice, I may question. But after three times, I would stop attending his funerals unless they gave me a ticket to punch and after every fourth funeral, I would get a pass to Disneyland.

Stefano died by a brain tumor, heart attack, stroke, drowning, plane crash, fire, gunshot, car crash, car submerging in icy waters and erupting into a fireball. Some of these were the cause of his death more than once. My advice would be to avoid ever being in the same room, car, boat, or plane with him; and I would never borrow his horse!

I did find a solution to this entire situation on the Hallmark station. Six months ago, I discovered “When Calls the Heart.” It was perfect for me: a story about a pioneer town with a teacher, Canadian Mountie, bank, lumber yard and all else that makes Hope Valley “home.”

I mindlessly binge-watched the first three seasons and blindly jumped into the fourth before I noticed that it was a “soap opera in disguise.”

It only airs 13 weeks a year, one episode a week. That means I would only have to waste 13 hours a year on being “concerned” about their lives.

This I might be able to do; but after thinking it over, I don’t think the characters really need me poking into their lives. I’ll let them get on with life without any comments from me.

After all, how much trouble could a person like Abigail Stanton get into and it’s not like they would “kill off” a major character such as Mountie Jack Thornton. I’m sure they both realize they have job security for years to come. There will be no surprises here, that’s for sure!

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Pat Van Dyke