MSNBC

I recently attended a bachelorette party , and it was just the kind I like: seated, not too many novelty penises, and food served family-style.  I usually leave these sorts of events early because of strippers (I have a phobia of pubic crabs flying off of strangers and landing in my eye… seriously, I saw it on a reality show), but I was so comfortable, I stayed until there were only eight of us left, including the bride.  Dionne, the bridesmaid in charge of the festivities, tapped a fork against a champagne glass and announced, “You have all stayed to the point that I can reveal the finale of tonight’s events: a helicopter ride over Manhattan!  You all down?!”

As the group whooped it up, I started to quietly gather my belongings and shovel chicken wings into my purse. Dionne rolled her eyes and said, “Sydney, I’m kidding. We’re just going to another bar.”

“Oh, thank God,” I said, “because this is NOT the way I go… I refuse to end up on MSNBC tomorrow morning.”

MSNBC has always set the standard by which I have chosen my life’s adventures. After years of watching sensationalist TV “journalism,” I have been scared into near-paralysis. For example, I have learned that women just like myself are kidnapped by exciting foreigners and/or die from party drugs on backpacking trips… like, all the time.  I’ve also learned to avoid helicopters, bodies of water, and youth culture in general.

Traveling abroad during my college years presented many potential headline-making moments:

“College Student from Ohio falls to her death on a Greek mountain. Sources say she knew they needed to change into the proper shoes, but her friends foolishly decided to be spontaneous, instead.”

“An Ohio girl has been lost at sea.  If only she had gotten a little more sleep and internet access at the hostel!”

“Honor student goes against better judgement and speaks to stranger in France… dies from discomfort.”

None of these events actually ended this way, but my blood pressure still rises at the thought.

My father jokes that I have seen the potential danger in every situation since I was a toddler. If he picked me up to put me in the cart at Kroger, I would warn, “You know, I could fall out of here.” Well, I could. That diagram of the falling baby on the plastic seat was almost as scarring as hours of MSNBC.

Sure, I may sound like a wet blanket! And I could still die from a freak accident someday, no matter how careful I am. But I hope it is never due to my own STUPIDITY and/or IGNORANCE. That is the worst way to go, in my opinion. You set up your own newsworthy death, I will be giving my TV the side eye, and will say something along the lines of “Hmm… Well if that isn’t natural selection at work, I don’t know what is… Survival of the fittest… Are we out of hummus?” I cringe at the thought of other self-righteous people doing that to me.

When I ruin the moment and my friends are staring at me with so much disappointment and boredom in their eyes, I remind myself that “it takes all kinds.” This is a saying that, I believe, means something along the lines of “wild people make things fun, but we also need smart people to keep the earth populated.” Am I implying that “wild” people cannot also be “smart”? If you had watched as MSNBC as I have, you wouldn’t have to ask that. I look forward to eating popcorn and shaking my head at an hourlong special depicting your disturbing and entertaining demise. No offense.

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