Robert Kirby: It could be worse. We could be stuck watching nonstop Election ’20 coverage.

Robert Kirby

I stopped watching TV months ago. Got fed up with one more story on COVID-19, yanked the cord out of the wall, and haven’t plugged it back in.

The news is/was always a depressing gab about the world’s descent into mass death, cannibalism and the proper application of hand sanitizer in nostrils.

The media aren’t to blame. They report what sells. I understand that other people want to know about the twin plagues sweeping America right now.

I am referring, of course, to COVID-19 and Election ’20.

As tired as I am of virus news, one of the merciful things about the pandemic is that it has taken away a lot of airtime normally devoted to the presidential campaign and hemorrhoid remedies.

Thanks to COVID-19, candidates for public office now have competition for the public’s sketchy attention span. Are we going to die vs. which candidate is best suited to help us die?

Out of disgust, I refuse to mention the names of the two leading presidential candidates. And since my editor won’t let me use the more accurate identifiers of @*&#%! and +#*(@!, you’ll just have to guess.

Note: Yes, I know that I should participate in democracy. But since I believe the most qualified person would be blues guitarist B.B. King — who is, in fact, dead — I struggle.

@*&#%! insists he is the best candidate for our votes because he’s the greatest president America has ever had and a total genius at everything. Totally.

Meanwhile, +#*(@! says his past experience in world politics is invaluable to the country and could hardly screw things up worse than his opponent.

Various versions of these claims would consume so much airtime that hearing nonstop reports about disease is almost a relief.


It should be a law that news sources are required to provide a certain percentage of happy material to the public — say, oh, 25%.

Three-quarters of the daily news hole could be devoted to war, famine, death, crime, politics, etc. More than that would be a felony.

A quarter of the news would be happy news, comedy, or light and uplifting reporting.

Caution is required. One person’s sense of humor is another person’s gripe.

As entertaining as it might be to some, others would find “My 600-Pound Life: The Skydiving Episodes” depressing.

Conversely, not everyone would lap up a 30-minute show featuring the proper petting of puppies, bunnies and kitties.

Know what I would find an absolute joy to watch? “Good Jobs for Dirty People.” Let’s put people who think they keep America running to work doing the jobs of people who actually do — truck drivers, soldiers, grocery clerks, first responders, nurses, etc.

How about “Blue-Collar Congress”? We could watch Nancy Pelosi deliver a load of freight across America, or see Bernie Sanders handle a domestic violence call, or check out Rand Paul doing sewer maintenance.

It would lift my spirits to see @*&#%! and +#*(@! changing bedpans at an inner-city hospital, mopping floors in a detox center, stun-gunning cattle at a slaughterhouse, or midnight-clerking at a convenience store.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.