Renaissance Column

MARCH 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 3



TV news nothing but A Load of Bull


James L. Iannone
Anthony Marciano


CRIS COHEN, is staff humor columnist for Renaissance Magazine. His work is also published weekly in three California newspapers and four online humor magazines.




Full Blown


I have the mother of all colds. In fact I can't even believe this is only considered a cold. Were there any flooding involved the government would have declared a state of emergency. Actually the way I've been blowing my nose all day, the National Guard might be called in any moment now. I'm surprised my neighbors haven't started sandbagging. As it is, the noise every time I blow my nose is deafening. I could drown out most quadraphonic stereo systems.

It reminds me of a piece that use to run in movie theaters right before the previews. There was a woman who turned toward the camera and went, "Shhhhhhhh." Do you have any idea what that sounded like in Dolby? Let me just say that nothing sets an intimate mood better than hearing some woman spit in surround sound. You immediately felt like you needed to go wash your hands. I couldn't believe that some people were able to continue eating after that. Having someone virtually spray over people's popcorn couldn't have helped snack stand sales. I guess it's just fortunate that they never ran that in THX sound. The theater would have had to supply air sickness bags.

"Hey, look. There's one of those airline baggies taped to the seat in front of me. I wonder what..."


"Oh! Give me the bag! The bag!"

But that's the thing with this cold. There's some serious volume associated with it. Every time I blow my nose it's like someone put on the movie "Twister." There's a tremendous roar and pedestrians immediately start running for cover. I'm even half expecting to see a full-grown cow fly by. And in these times of discomfort it's nice to know that there are people to support me, like Wayne, one of my editors. Yesterday he asked how my cold was coming along and I told him that my nose felt like it was the size of Louisiana. To which Wayne replied, "The state or the Purchase?"

Once again, the problem is that what I have is only considered a cold and a cold only gets you a limited amount of sympathy. What's really working against it is that it's referred to as the common cold. The word "common" does nothing to attract attention, which is why you rarely see it attached to any sporting events.

SPORTSCASTER: Welcome back, sports fans, to the Common Bowl. Once again this is for teams that have proven to be exceedingly average, to the point of boring several spectators right into comas.

Yet this really isn't a common cold. I don't mean to brag, but today alone I went through two boxes of tissues and a roll of toilet paper. If my wife hadn't shown up with reinforcements, I probably would have moved on to the curtains. Granted they wouldn't have been the gentlest surface in the world, but after blowing your nose for twelve straight hours the term "Ultra Soft Tissues" really doesn't have a lot of meaning. I could be letting it rip right onto cashmere and it would still feel like plywood.

It really makes you look at commercials for cold medicines in a whole new light though. I'm talking about the ones where the person complains about being hit with what seems like the plague, his friend gives him a new cold medicine to try, and the next day he's off competing in the Iron Man competition. No cold medicine works that well. The best ones out there take just enough of the edge off so that you no longer consider the option of beheading yourself. I guess the people in the commercials get stronger dosages, with the primary side effect being that they are no longer able to talk like normal human beings. "New Nicatrin got rid of my cold and most of my personality."

As a matter of fact, some are so far gone that the only work they can get is spitting into a camera for a movie theater campaign.

* * * *