05 June 2008

Juxtaposition

I am a big believer in the notion that you are what you eat. More generally, I believe you become what you take in via all of your senses, not just in the form of food. I think you will become more like the people you associate with. I believe that if you listen to garbage on the radio or TV, that your mind will be consumed with thoughts of the inane. I think if you read books about how to better yourself, that eventually you'll absorb some of the ideas and internalize them.

So what does this have to do with juxtaposition, you ask? Well, irony takes many different forms. I'm all about pointing out the ironic, and this story is no different.

At the gym today I was focused on cardio. I had done a little lower-body weights stuff, but Thursday is typically my heaviest cardio day. So after 10 minutes on the stationary bike, I procured a treadmill that has its own TV attached to it. There was another identical machine directly to my right which was unoccupied at the time. I stated my workout, and after about 15 minutes a woman approached the treadmill next to me. As many people do, she brought a book with her to read while she walked, and as she placed it on the stand I glanced over to see what she was reading. I didn't get the title of the book, but the chapter she was reading was titled "Let The Lord Bring Justice Into Your Life", or something very similar. Good for her, I thought to myself. I just like the thought of people reading things that could improve their lives, whether it be spiritually, financially, or otherwise. The irony, of course, followed forthwith.

After getting her book situated and starting the belt on the treadmill, she reached up to turn the TV portion of the machine on. At first I didn't register an objection to this media overload. I was nearing the end of my workout, had increased my speed considerably, and was sweating pretty good. Then, as I glanced over again, I noticed her changing channels on the TV. She scrolled through the broadcast networks and stopped on none other than Maury Povich. Now as far as I'm concerned, to each his own regarding what you like to watch on TV. The particular irony was not in the show itself, but in what the caption at the bottom of the screen indicated was the theme of that particular segment. As usual, the guests of the show were a man and a woman seated next to each other, both visibly upset and randomly screaming untold things back and forth at one another. At the bottom, plain as day, the caption said, "I know you slept with the pizza delivery man, and I can prove it!".

So I guess what I'm really left wondering is, which of these two things this particular woman was consuming was her fluff, and which was the substance? Was the book what she was focused on, and the TV was just background noise? If so, why come back to that particular show after flipping past it the first time through the channels. Or was the TV her focal point, and the book merely an attempt to pass for a decent, Godly woman? Whichever is the case, the irony created by this particular juxtaposition was just too much for me to ignore. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

2 comments:

Carolyn said...

Hey! I am reading that same book!!!


Not.

Anonymous said...

Two things: First....trash in, trash out...I guess you paid attention when you were young. I'm just not as eloquent as you. Second...these are the people we pray for in hopes they choose the book. Keep your sister in mind! :)