I have found recently through work or play that when I am in my car between the hours of 12 and 3 on weekdays I tune in to Dr. Laura Schletsruinlives radio show. I don’t know why. I guess you could call it an unhealthy habit.
I can’t recall how many times I have happened upon her self promoted, self help verbal scathing radio show, but once I am there, I can’t stop listening. I liken this phenomenon to watching a street fight or a mother scolding her kid in the grocery store. Turning the channel might be the wise thing to do, but I can’t. My morbid curiosity takes hold and strangles my cogent decision making ability.
As I listen to Dr. Laura’s caustic advice, I feel empathy for the caller – why would anyone dial that number, albeit a toll free call. Being humiliated in front of millions of travelers isn’t worth the advice au gratis.
Like today, this woman could have easily been my husband calling:
“I’m Dr. Laura Schletshangthecaller, hello Lori, welcome to the program.”
“Hi Dr. Laura, thank you for taking my call.”
“So, I have been married for six years and my husband and I have a two year old. We both work and I have a problem with his lack of help in the morning in getting our child ready for the nanny and..”
“I have to interrupt you right there. I used to be a feminista back in the day,” (She really said this.) “and when my husband and I decided to have a child, I made the selfless decision to quit my job and change dirty diapers and support my family by staying at home. I relished in this time to bond with my child. If you can afford a nanny, you can afford not to work. You are being selfish by leaving a two year old with a total stranger, and for you to expect your husband to chip in 50-50 is ridiculous. Pay your stranger nanny to come to the house at 6:00 a.m. if you want to continue to abandon your child, but don’t expect anything more from your husband.”
“It is irresponsible to leave someone else to bond with your toddler. Good luck. Next caller.”
As I turned the rearview mirror to survey my sleeping son in the backseat, I was forced to ask myself if he is truly happy and if my working is going to implant permanent scars on his impressionable wits. And during the five minute commercial break, I filled myself with enough self doubt to call in sick for the next 16 years of his life. Instead, I decided to change the station… but then…
“I’m Dr. Laura Schletshearitforalltheidiotsintheworld. Hello Daisy, welcome to the program.”
“Hi Dr. Laura. Thank you for taking my call. I am wondering why I like older men.”
“How would I know that? I know nothing about you.” (The sensitive touch, so moving.)
“Well, I am a young woman and I have gone out with men my own age. I just find them completely immature. I like men who are 10 and sometimes 20 years older than me. I find I have more in common with them.”
“Honey, let me tell you what they have in common with you. A tight body and nice skin. There is nothing you can do that will give you more maturity or experience than someone their own age. Bottom line, you have serious daddy issues that you need to deal with..”
Another commercial break. Another self actualizing breakdown in the car headed towards Sacramento.
I am that woman. I married a man 13 years older than me. I am his third wife and although I would like to think that my husband can bounce a quarter off of my sweet turd cutter, the real reason we are hitched is because he acts like he’s 25, and I can still “party” like I am 18. A perfect match. A perfect marriage. It’s true, just ask our friends (preferably during our uninhibited pool party barbeques).
Never the less, that grade A wench has again made me feel as if I have some serious daddy issues. I wonder what Dr. Laura would say to the fact that my best friend is a 71 year old male.
In fact, there’s a lot that Dr. Laura makes me self conscious about besides my penchant for old men and the fact that I have abandoned my child in lieu of a career. She also has me thinking twice about public school, my religious convictions (or lack thereof), and my definition of spousal quality time. Here’s another topper:
“I’m Dr. Schletsruinyourpatheticlife. Hello Dale, welcome to the program.”
“Hi Dr. Laura. Let me start off by saying that your son and husband should be grateful for you.” (This guy thinks he’s going to get a softer version if he butters up the ice queen first. Good luck with that, Dale.)
“Thank you Dale. How can I help you today?”
“My wife is upset that I have been looking at porn on the Internet. She wants me to go to counseling.”
“Why do you feel compelled to look at porn, Dale?”
“I like looking at naked ladies.”
“Why aren’t you satisfied with looking at your wife, Dale?”
“Um, I have been married for 20 years. I just…”
“Dale, if looking at porn bothers your wife, why would you continue to do it?”
“She’s usually asleep when I….”
“Get yourself some counseling, Dale.. Next caller.”
Here’s where I begin to go nuclear. I am so close to pushing that radio scan button on the AM dial, but I just yell instead (and wake up my son in the backseat). First off, why would it bother Dale’s wife if he looked at a few sets of tatas? Does it not matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat dinner at home? Help me understand how this is a bad thing.
But as I drive down Hwy Lonely, Dr. Laura’s judgmental declarations swirl in my head, I become angrier.I have almost had the 1-800 half dialed with one hand as I drive with the other, ready to give her a piece of my feminista mind. But I can’t. That’s what she wants. She can’t wait to hear from me, an irate caller, unsure of herself, calling to defend her choices in men, mothering, career, exotic material.
I hang up the phone. Angry at my cowardice. Angry at Dr. Laura’s influence over people’s lives. Angry that I am even allowing her in.. that I am questioning myself, my moral construct, my LIFE. I truly can’t stand this woman.
But as I pull in to my driveway, I notice that it’s 2:50. I have 10 more minutes of this raging lune. And while the car idles, and Yack is squirming in the backseat, I continue to listen. And the fact is, I will do so diligently when I am in my car between the hours of 12 to 3 pm on weekdays.