My Tall Tales lately seem to be focused on addiction.
Last column — my addiction to Hallmark movies. This column — my addiction to binge-watching.
My binge-watching has a twist to it. Hence, this week’s Tall Tale.
You binge-watch “Bridgerton.” Or maybe “The Crown.” Or “The Flight Attendant.”
Those TV shows and more came up Saturday night with friends when we had our first post-pandemic dinner-at-a-restaurant now that we are two weeks past our second COVID shot.
Our friends were ecstatic about their binge choices. I kept quiet, if you can imagine, because the last “shows” I binge-watched were — hold your breath for this one — the Humble ISD school board and Humble city candidates forums.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have been covering the Humble City election and thought I might hear something I hadn’t picked up on in my interviews with the six candidates for the three positions.
And my Tribune colleagues, David Tatchin and Beverly Horner, are covering the crowded Humble ISD school board elections. Since I did not know most of the candidates, and only what David and Bev wrote, I thought the forums would be the perfect way to get to know the candidates.
By the end of my binge-day, you would have thought I had watched all 73 episodes of “Game of Thrones,” all 72 hours and 16 minutes of it.
Every hour on the hour, Partnership Lake Houston presented another set of candidates, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Then, adding icing to my binge-cake, I watched two hours of all 19 candidates running for the four school board positions.
Want to know who to vote for? Ask me. I have got an opinion on every one of them because I watched them. I listened to them, too.
Early on in this crazy election marathon, I realized that visual presentations like Facebook Live and streaming are kind to some candidates while other candidates should, well, stick to radio or print.
Some candidates read from their notes. Some looked at the floor. Some looked off into space. Some forgot to comb their hair. One fidgeted with his wedding ring the whole time. I didn’t hear a word he said. I was too focused on watching that wedding ring twirl.
Remember the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960? I know. You were too young or weren’t born yet. I remember because I wanted to be a television news anchor when I grew up. Anybody who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon won. People who watched it thought Kennedy won it.
That brings me to the famous quote from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, “My god, they’ve embalmed Nixon before he even died.”
Nobody looked embalmed but a couple could have used a Dale Carnegie course before they stepped on stage or in front of the TV camera.
In another career, many, many years ago, I was part of a team that trained our physicians to speak in front of crowds and in front of a camera. It is not a natural thing to do, and it pays to practice. These were brilliant guys and gals but they spoke in technical terms. They forgot to comb their hair. We worked with them to make them look and sound good on TV.
I binge-watched the city and school board candidates all day only to discover later that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have determined a high correlation between binge-watching, depression and loneliness.
Those UT researchers claim binge-watching can affect my mental health. They argue that it disturbs my sleep and makes me less physically active since every hour I binge is an hour I am not moving. At the end of the binge, the researchers claim, I will feel a significant letdown.
Who am I, a Cornhusker, to argue with anyone from UT, a Longhorn?
At the end of my marathon, however, I deem myself a well-informed voter. I am ready to perform my civic duty and select my choices for Humble ISD trustees.