Friday, February 23, 2007

The Wreck on the Highway

I hate to be a rubber-necker. You know, you're driving past a car accident, and, like a fly attracted to a bug zapper, you're drawn into the scene. You drive slowly past, looking at the flashing lights of the ambulance and the police and the fire engine, eyeing the smashed-in cars, looking at the still-standing victims, trying to see if a coroner is going to be called in.

It's shameful, really. And so I try to never look at the wreck, to keep going straight through, to make vexing comments about the drivers in front of me who are slowing down, who are taking in the tragic scene. Someone else's tragic scene, really.

So how the heck do I know so much about the disposition of Anna Nicole Smith's body? How do I know that there are three men vying to be her baby-daddy? How do I know that her mother is getting her just desserts?

Or what about poor, pitiful Britney? How come I know that she's checked into three rehab centers in the past week? And that she's checked out of two? Why do I know that she drove by Kevin Federline's house the other night to try to see her babies? Why do I know how to spell his name without checking it?

Why aren't I more well versed on legitimate news stories? (And by "legitimate," I sure as heck don't mean the field of presidential contenders one full year before the caucuses and primaries begin. Talk about paying attention to a wreck!) I'm supposed to be a citizen of the world. What's the latest world news I'm up on? That Prince Harry is going to Iraq. Now that's news.

I don't do TV news. (Sorry to my wonderful colleagues at CBS 5-TV. If I were a news watcher, it would be your newscasts.) Too much time spent on stories with good pictures (fire! crashes! floods!) rather than good stories. (I know. I'm a condescending bitch.)

And, yet, I read the equivalent page of The Chronicle. A-2 is the place for the odd news, the celebrity watching, etc. Or I check out the Daily Dish on SFGate.

I'm rubber-necking from afar. What I should be doing is what I try to remember to do whenever I pass a car accident. Don't look. And say a prayer that they are all right and, if they're not, that God helps their survivors.

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