Saturday, March 20, 2010

If It's Plastic, Take It!

I've decided to refrain from writing about health care reform until after the votes are counted. It has been a lovely day so far and I can see no good cause to ruin it by contemplating the potential failure of the reform bill. I had an early meeting today which got me out of the house to experience the 75 degree weather first hand. However, since I've returned home I've been ensconced in my overstuffed armchair, catching up on the hours of mindless television that I've accumulated on my DVR. My excuse is that I'm still recovering from my cold.

I have a new passion, a show called The Marriage Ref. Married couples voluntarily come on the show and discuss issues upon which they disagree; a three panel celebrity team offers opinions as to who is right and who is wrong; and the Marriage Ref makes a final call, pronouncing one party the winner. The network has not said whether it has any plans to air Divorce Court immediately following.

The episode that I watched featured four couples with guest refs Martha Stewart, Cedric the Entertainer (wonder if his parents go by Mr. & Mrs. the Entertainer), Jason Alexander, and host Tom Papa, aka the Marriage Ref.

First up was Pat and Mimi, married 35 years. "It was love at first sight," gushed Mimi. Pat seemed a bit less enthused, "Uh, yeah."

Pat and Mimi were debating where to spend their retirement. Mimi had her heart set on Los Angeles where she could have sunshine and movie star sightings. Pat longed for the serenity of Howe, Indiana, in the heart of Amish Country. He imagined riding with his beloved Mimi in a buggy; however, Mimi preferred a sports car.

"I need lots of excitement!"

"We could go to all those barn sales, drive a buggy, and I've heard that the people in Howe are kind and friendly."

"And boring."

Mimi was also concerned about the cold in Howe and her lack of stylish boots, which of course she wouldn't need in LA.  Mimi won, sort of. The panel recommended voting for the move to LA because they feared that Mimi would make life a "living hell" for Pat if they moved to Howe, Indiana.

Two of the other stories were interesting, but the one that I most identified with was the tale of Sam the kleptomaniac and his suffering wife Pam. (The Sam/Pam name thing was never explained. Did they look for a mate with a rhyming name?)

Pam's distress arose from Sam's need to remove every bottle of shampoo, bar of soap, shower cap, hair conditioner and whatever other toiletries he found in a hotel room. Sam traveled a lot for work and had accumulated quite a stash of tiny toiletry items. He also stockpiled toilet paper scarfed from the hotels. Pam pointed out that his need for stuff generally made their luggage over the weight limit which necessitated a security check of their luggage causing Pam unnecessary embarrassment when the contents of the luggage were revealed.

I had flashbacks watching Pam and Sam. In 1998, I was hospitalized for the first time in my life. After five days, the hospital released me. My parents showed up to take me home to my apartment. They came with plastic bags. Everything except the hospital bed was fair game.

Me: Mama, are you sure that you should take that water pitcher?
Mama: They can't use it any more. It's plastic. You can't sterilize plastic.

Meanwhile, my dad obviously had plans for surgery at some point as he was gathering all the latex gloves from the glove dispensary box in my room. The hospital provides every patient with a plastic wash pan; mine was a lovely shade of teal which made it stand out a bit when my mother stuck it on the shelf underneath the wheel chair that was the mandatory transportation for patients beign released.

"Mama, are you sure that you're supposed to take all those straws and cups?"

"Yes dear, you've never been in the hospital before. They want you to take all of this stuff. They can't sterilize plastic."

As we left the hospital, I was convinced that we were going to be arrested at any minute. I was relieved when the orderly rolled me through the door; I got into my parents' car; my father pulled away from the curb and I didn't hear sirens.

As for Pam and Sam, the decision was in Sam's favor. Martha said that hotels expect guests to take the toiletry items. Oprah has said the same thing, and Mama was a firm believer that all hotel toiletries were meant to be taken, so I guess it must be true. However, the reasoning is that all the toiletries have the hotel logo on them and it reminds the consumer how pleasant a stay he or she had and makes them want to come back. I just don't think that this applies to the hospital. My stay was okay but I had no desire to ever return; however that teal color wash pan has proven useful over the years.


Nance said...

You almost took my mind off healthcare reform, Funny Lady! We're bound to find more uses for Mama's mantra, "You can't sterilize plastic."

I'd never heard of The Marriage Ref, but I can tell you for sure what couples really want when they go to a marital therapist: every single new couple would present their respective cases like they thought I was Judge Judy. I even went so far as to buy a ref's whistle. They didn't want to learn to be married; they wanted to know who was right. My mantra: You can be right or you can be married. Choose.

Love you when you're funny; love you when you're serious. Been waiting to see if you could hold out until the vote! Glad you couldn't wait. Nice segue from the last post, too.

Sybil said...

Hi Sheria, I am glad to see that you are back withus. I was woried that you were not feeling well.
I have had a good laugh at reaidng about your Mum and Dad at the hospital...Glad that you were not all arrested !!!
I must say that I usually take away the sopas and shampoos from hotels especialy if I liked them !!
Fingers crossed and prayers being said for a good result tomorrow
Much Love Sybil x

Mark said...

I saw a few episodes - I can't believe they got Madonna on! She and Larry David were fun, but I tend to disagree with the conclusions. I thought it was completely reasonable to withhold sex when the husband won't clean; of course, the bigger question is: why did you marry a slob?

Anonymous said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

Alan said...

What a fuzzy gray world it is...

I've studied marketing, and I know that getting your name out there (almost) any way you can is KEY. But, if you are to tote it home USE it. Discovering drawers full of mini stuff from hotels (or else where) is just disturbing.

So, on one hand we have pressure to use the stuff (or take it home and share our nice memories with family and friends), and on the other the base economics of each thing costs, and if we burn through a thousand paperclips a week that ends up being a lot of money. Taking paperclips is theft. (I wouldn't want to prosecute it, but it is theft.)

Would eliminating such things fix healthcare (as has been proposed by some....)? NO. I'll not rant here about the inefficiencies of the system, but all you have to do is talk to a real person in the system (either a provider or a 'recipient' of "care") to discover how inefficient the system is, and how it isn't related to the cost of plastic.

Rant over.

Sandra Moreano said...

I have the exact same argument with my husband, I hate to take small stuff from hotel rooms. He collects for the 'just in case" scenario. And the hospital waste is atrocious. Alex brings home these towels from the OR that are just otherwise thrown away. And NO they are not full of blood! We have quite a collections. I hope health care reform cracks down on the throw away night mare.