Monday, December 14, 2015

The Dr. Phil Drinking Game

But first, my Obamacare update: I didn’t qualify for Medicaid. My IRA, the one I started back in the ‘80s when I had disposable income, tripped me up again. The good news on that front is that I’m finally old enough to make withdrawals. That account’s cost me any chance of state aid over the years, and there were times when any kind of aid would have come in handy. About time it started paying out.

So I readjusted my income projections and updated my Health Care Marketplace account once again. Wonder of wonders, I still qualify for assistance. I found one program for under $100 a month, and that’s the one I’m going for. It may be a piece of ka-ka. I don’t care. I’m hoping I don’t have to use it.

In the ACA’s first year I didn’t sign up at all. I paid for stuff out of pocket. I had cheap insurance last year and only used it once, to fill a prescription for an eye infection. I’ve been lucky in that I rarely get sick. Even when I do have problems, I tend to wait a while and see if they go away. My body could be riddled with cancer. I have no idea. Maybe if I write a bestselling trilogy I’ll buy some real insurance and find out. The ACA made it so you can’t be turned down because of pre-existing conditions. That’s about the only good it did.

# # #

Confession time. Maybe if I say it fast it won’t be so embarrassing. Here it is: I watch Dr. Phil. It’s like Jerry Springer, but without the flying chairs. As long as there’s reality TV, people will happily step in front of a camera and display bad behavior while defending same. Only God knows why.

After awhile these shows develop a formula. Guest A comes out and trashes Guest B, the host dispenses words of wisdom, cut to commercial. Lather, rinse, repeat. The Dr. Phil Show is no different. As a regular viewer—there, I said it—I’ve been noticing the set pieces for some time. Here’s some advice for you, Phil: you need to get new writers. The guests, sadly, are doomed to remain monotonously the same. Nature of the reality TV beast and all.

Winter’s coming on. If you find yourself snowed in and the power hasn’t gone out, here’s a little something you can do to while away the time. I call it “The Dr. Phil Drinking Game.” You may not find the answers to your psychological problems, but by the end of the hour you won’t care.

Take a shot every time Phil says:

“I’m going to put some verbs in my sentences.”

“How’s that working for you?”

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”

“You do it until.”

“That dog won’t hunt.”

 “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

“We’re going to (talk to this guy/hear my opinion/solve all the world’s problems) right after the break.”

Take a shot every time a guest:

Says, “I don’t know what to do.”

Says, “That’s what I’m here to find out.”

Uses any of the following words: Liar, manipulator, narcissistic, bipolar.

Interrupts another guest. (Trust me, you’ll be drunk in minutes.)

Gets interrupted or talked over by Phil himself. (Ditto)

Take two shots if:

The camera cuts to Robin in the audience.

A guest throws a tantrum and/or storms off the stage.

Drink an entire beer if:

Phil plugs one of his books.

Phil gives everybody in the audience a copy of one of his books.

There you have it: a blueprint for writing your own Dr. Phil episode. Try it with your family or friends. By the end of an hour you won’t be speaking to most of them, but you’ll all be so wasted none of you will remember what was said. It’s a win-win, sort of.

Even easier to play is the Bar Rescue Drinking Game. Take a drink every time Jon Taffer reams out a bar owner, the bar owner or an employee acts like a total jerk, the bar and/or kitchen is filthy, or Taffer yells, “Shut it down!” Or you could turn off the TV and drink water, which is better all around, for both your physical and mental health. I tend to wind up reading books instead of writing them, so I still have issues to work through. Maybe I’ll pick up a bottle of Scotch and try to get on the Dr. Phil show.

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