'Just Do It' on TV Penny Post

ANDREI CODRESCU

July 17, 1991|By ANDREI CODRESCU

New Orleans. -- I looked at the television to see what's new in happiness according to the boob tube. In the Seventies they had this slogan, ''It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature,'' and now they have this other one that says ''Just Do It.'' That's a big difference. Seems like the TV people of the Seventies were harboring somewhere in their atrophied liberal hearts a notion that involved something bigger than their immediate selves.

Mother Earth back then must have been a marketing force to be reckoned with. But now we ''Just Do It.'' Do it to Mother Earth, mostly.

But that's TV for you. If you are married, TV makes you wish you were single. If you are single, TV makes you want to be part of that merry gang of your lite-beer drinking peer group. If you are part of that merry gang, it makes you wish you were the leader of it. If you have a good enough car, you'll need a good enough woman (man). If you've got one of those, you'll need a better deodorant. If you smell good enough to be a couple you'll need better medicine for your headaches. If you entertain, you'll need better class than your neighbors and have the coffee that'll prove it.

And when at long last you lie on your happy marital bed, having survived the insufficiencies of youth, same-sex bonding and the pitfalls of body image and body odor, you lie awake because you are sexually dysfunctional and need a therapist, an insurance agent, an accident lawyer, Rogaine for your hair, a good, caring hospital and a mental institution to put your children in.

And if you succeed at all this, don't be too cocky, you're still fat. So ''Just Do It.'' Mother Earth's out cold, zonked on cold medicine.

She won't give you any trouble.

Andrei Codrescu teaches at Louisiana State University.

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