I am prepared to share with you not only how I solved all my problems by watching a TV soap opera, but how you can too.
Please suspend your doubts for a few nanoseconds. This could be a worthwhile reading investment. After all, you're web surfing (I can tell), looking for gems of useful and/or entertaining info. This post may contain both.
You may have thought TV soaps were for bored or cow-like, dull brained housewives and similarly configured househusbands. Yes, they are for them, but, like a pencil, one can simply chew on it, poke holes in the Naugahyde sofa, or one can write a best selling novel with it.
TV soaps are useful for all of us, I can prove it.
Do you have trouble getting your work done? Are you lonely, starved for intellectual stimulation or the opportunity for philosophical reasoning? Or, maybe you simply long for some good old juicy gossip but are too proud or righteous to stoop to the real thing.
Would you like a nice sit-down break during the day, but never seem to have or take the time? Would you like a safe subject to talk about with your friends, or even the casual stranger? Well, solutions and satisfaction are only a click of the remote away.
Select Your Soap
I will use the soap All My Children to illustrate the problem solving opportunities in watching a soap. I chose to watch All My Children because a famous actress watches it, and I overheard the cleaning ladies on the commuter train to Chicago talking about Erica as though they knew her, and because my daughter got me hooked on it.
It's the only one I watched, since I only needed an hour's worth of problem solving a day. I doubt that watching three hours of soaps per day would solve three times as many problems--something about the law of diminishing returns.
First Problem I Solved: Being A Family Nuisance
All My Children is a writer's dream. (In addition to being a blogger, I am also, by trade, a writer, and a domestic engineer.) I can look for what we in the writing game call "plants" while I watch the program. Previous to my soap problem solving work, I frequently alienated my family by detecting "plants" during family viewing.
I'd say, "Aha! Did you notice that? They are setting you up for the murder by the use of the hanging vine." My family would wearily explain to me, again, that they did not want to be presented with such information in the midst of the program. They'd say, "Mom, we do not want to know. We want to be ignorant, don't tell us." They want to be true believers. They don't want to know these things are made up by writers.
By regularly watching All My Children I was able to satisfy my writerly need for detecting the bones of the writing skeleton, and thereby find it possible to keep quiet while watching TV with family members, most of the time.
Eliminating Frustrations, Adding Satisfactions, Avoiding Trouble
For the student of social mores the interwoven relationships and ethical quandrys, fatherhood mixups, motherhood traumas, and social posturing are a delicious romp. The wannabe phychologist viewer can analyze without fear of insulting and alienating the analyzed. Is this a repression from the character's past? Will she be able to gain self-confidence after all? How well can you predict her future behavior?
Frustrated would-be medical experts can diagnose with the fake doctors on the soap. Can you do it better, discover the solution sooner? I bet you can. There is a wish fulfilled and identification opportunity for everyone on the soaps.
More Problem Solving
I am the mother of many, maybe not so many as you, but it seems like many to me, particularly on some days. Like all mothers of many, I have sometimes felt overwhelmed by the work involved, lack of appreciation, and low pay.
I, also, like so many of my fellow workers, have sometimes felt that I looked the part of inept houseperson. Wandering through a dimly lit house and chancing on a mirror can be a shocking experience. At such times, I know just what to do. I turn on the TV, tune it to a soap, and there before my eyes are all those homemakers dressed to the teeth, hair tres chic, apartments tastefully decorated, clean and neat, with not a single piece of laundry on the floor or wet boot in the corner. If they can do it, I say to me, I can do it too. I comb my hair and get dressed, during the commercials, of course.
GTD (Getting Things Done)
Besides being good for my appearance and morale, watching my soap helps me with my work. There used to be a lot of little things that never got done around here because:
1. They seemed too small to bother with.
2. I didn't want to do them.
3. I have a poor sense of time and might trim grocery cupons all afternoon if no one stopped me.
4. I'm a really good procrastinator.
But, I discovered the perfect way to get all those little nagging and despised jobs done, almost painlessly. That's right, soaps. Here it is, step by step:
1. I made a list (while watching the soap, of course) of everything that could be done while watching an hour's worth of TV.
2. Each day I selected from that list what I wanted to do while watching that day's soap.
3. I gathered any necessary materials before the show started or during the first commercial break.
My list included ironing things I'd piled up and hidden away, sorting paper and filing or flinging it, opening mail, going through old magazines so I could bear to toss them, or clip out what I couldn't bear to toss, doing facial exercises so that when I tell people I'm twenty years older than I am they'll know I'm joking, making menus and shopping lists, checking my email, and checking out blogs online hoping to find something great like you're reading right now.
Since a soap lasts only an hour, you know you won't get bogged down or hung up on any of those tasks or online pleasures.
And, because soaps are so s l o w, and, admittedly a bit lightweight viewing, one can easily multi task while watching one. It's not even multi tasking, it's more like semi-micro-mini multi tasking. Even on the most breathless episodes, there are always commercial breaks, with which the soaps are very generously endowed.
Solutions For Everyone
So, if you are lonely, need intellectual stimulation (even though it may have to be intellectual self-stimulation), want to get all those irritating and delayed jobs done, surf without guilt or remorse, need a break, like a little completely harmless gossip, want to improve your appearance, have hope (there is always hope on a soap), or are just plain vicious and want to hang out with your own kind, watch a soap.
The Penultimate Solution
In fact, my soap watching problem solving was so successful that I don't need to watch them anymore. I solved my one remaining problem: being so disgusted when they killed off my favorite characters in a most viewer unfriendly way, that I decided to never watch them again. So I don't. Now I solve all my problems online.
For more delicious, nutritious How To's visit Darren Rowse's Problogger.net How To Group Writing Project entries.